Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 23 reviews )

42 Mahidol Rd T Haiya, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 50200

Large cafeteria-style vegetarian restaurant. elp yourself to the vast buffet that may include brown rice, Thai curries, soup, fruit and grain juices, salads with fresh herbs. Organic fruits and veggies also sold as are religious items, herbs, and other products. This is part of an institution in Thailand with organic farms in the countryside (where one can volunteer and stay). Located near the airport between the corner of the moat and Toyota dealer. Open Mon-Fri 6:00am-2:00pm.

Categories: Vegan, Chinese, Organic, Thai, Buffet, Salad bar, Take-out

23 Reviews

First Review by rheb

authentic - Edit

Not very cozy but run with idealism and cheap. Some interesting food never ate before. Some foods have “unusual“ taste, some others are very tasty. Worth to try and the shop next is worth to visit as well. Lovely staff

Cons: often closed for days or weeks

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Wonderful place - Edit

The food is amazingly good and there's a lot of it to choose from! Noodle soup, buffet style, juices, smoothies and all very, very affordable. But please, don't be one of the people I see here on the regular who just take food, and sometimes a lot of food, and don't pay anything. Yes, the first plate with one topping is free but don't take advantage of this kindness, and if you go for more plates then pay your way. Sometimes I see the staff having to confront foreigners for payment, embarrassing for both parties involved, especially as it's only 10baht a dish! Do go, it's amazing!

Pros: Everything

Cons: none

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Just wow. - Edit

This really is a one of kind place. This is the cheapest vegan restaurant you will ever go to. Some days you eat as much as you want for free other days it is 10 baht a plate. The food is good but very traditional spicy thai. If you are not used to that then go easy on the toppings and rather take more rice otherwise your stomach will make you pay for it later. If you can spare it give a tip to the wonderful volunteers at veg society and help keep their doors open.

Pros: VERY cheap, Good traditional thai food (spicy) Friendly volunt

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Incredible place - Edit

This place is run by volunteers, it s a huge open space place where you can have thsi organic food for really cheap price . There is also a shop . An amazing experience to try

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Simple Food; Very Cheap - Edit

The food is wholesome and healthy and EXTREMELY cheap but don't expect elaborate dishes. There are some interesting yummy things to be eaten but it's all pretty simple and just cheap, cheap, cheap. You won't believe how cheap it is. You can also stock up on organic products in their little shop too.
Be sure to check before coming here as sometimes they can be unexpectedly closed.
Come early to get the best food.
Be prepared to wash your own dishes after you eat.

Pros: Cheap, Healthy Food, Some interesting food

Cons: Basic, canteen style place, Limited opening hours, Can be closed for days or weeks at a time

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Disappointed! - Edit

I've been here three times total. The first two times were very pleasant, and we were only charged 10 baht (we paid an additional 140 as a donation) and 6 baht (we paid an additional 40 as a donation). The third time we were charged 68 baht even though we took less food this time than the previous two times! I'm not upset by the price, because it's still very inexpensive, I'm upset about the principle. I feel the only reason we were charged ten times the amount was because we are Farangs (foreigners). I am disappointed that we were basically ripped off on our last visit because of our white skin color, even though we had given generous donations on our previous visits. The food and atmosphere of this restaurant are lovely, but the racism is unreasonable. :( My husband I calculated every possible combination from the food that we took, but there is no way the lady that rang us up could have come up with 68. She didn't add anything up on the calculator, just looked at us and then typed 68. I think it's very unprofessional of them to surprise us with an outrageous bill that is drastically different from our first two visits - for taking literally the exact same food but slightly less than before. :(

Pros: Food is yummy, Nice outdoorsy atmosphere

Cons: Racism, Price varies for no apparent reason!

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lordnose 06 Jul 2017 - I am a farang and have eaten at this wonderful restaurant at least 20 times. If anything, they have gone out of their way to give me too much food for almost no cost. Never a hint of OVERCHARGING. All of the workers, I think, are members of the Santi Asoke Buddhist group and are committed to serving people with kindness and respect. Maybe a simple mistake was made by these sweet and caring people  

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Isabelrose 18 Aug 2017 - Dang, must be hard in this world that is so racist towards white people.  

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it's ok - Edit

If you don't eat green veg or leafs it's not for you ,most dishes are spicy and not in English so it's pot luck lol , it's a little intimidating if it's your 1st time as no one tells you what to do , smoothies are nice and a lot to pick from
I loved it but I was one of 6 lol
You must clean your own dishes

Pros: good selection, smoothies, clean your own dishes I like that

Cons: unlabelled food and spicy , intimidating no help , mostly greens

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good atmosphere - Edit

We had a short visit to Vegetarian society. You can chose from a few dishes with rice, different healthy drinks and there are some sweets also. Very cheap, you might even get food for free. You have to do the dishes afterwards, fun experience. Very friendly and loving environment. Payment is not self explanatory, drinks and food needs to be paid separately. Health store is also very good. Food might not be the best in Chiang Mai (mine was a bit cold) but the place is worth a visit for sure.

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3.5 stars - Edit

The food wasn't amazing but I loved the atmosphere there and it was super cheap! Had rice with 2 toppings for 10 baht - crazy! One of the dishes was too spicy for me. The juice for 10 baht was very good, huge variety.
You have to clean your own dishes but that was fine, part of the experience :)
There's a natural shop inside where I bought some coconut lip balm and seeds.

Pros: cheap!, many locals

Cons: coldish food not many options when coming too late

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a must visit for every vegan - Edit

There's a self-service all vegan buffet where you can choose from about 8-10 dishes, some are very spicy and/or salty. You can take as much rice and as much of 2 dishes as you want and still pay 10B! I heard the following quite often now but had to go there myself to believe it: if you take only one dish with your rice it is literally free!! how amazing is that? though i'd feel guilty to pay nothing because the people there are so nice and seem full of passion for this project. they make you feel very welcome (: and you do have to wash your dishes yourself, which is not a big deal at all.
there's freshly mixed shakes and dessert as well (today was brownies and coconut/tapioka pudding).
they also have a small all vegan health shop (i think) where you can get plant-milk, soaps, soy protein, cereal flakes etc. check it out yourself (:

Pros: all vegan, so so cheap!!!, nice people

Cons: pretty salty

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closed until the 16 Nov 2015 - Edit

Hi, hope this saves someone a wasted journey: I went there on the 1st November 2015 and there is a large sign on the gates that the Society will be closed until the 16th November for Buddhist courses.

I've given it four cows for support :) but am a little disappointed I won't be able to check it out...

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One of a kind restaurant - Edit

There is a lot that sets this restaurant apart from others: One can eat for as little as 5 to 15 baht, or even for free if one is satisfied by as many plates as desired of rice with one dish.

The dishes are oftentimes loaded with greens and sour-flavoured. I personally don't like that as much as the curry-type and sometimes have a hard time finding a dish that fits my tastebuds at 12 or even 11 AM. They appear here and there though.

Most often a very delicious cake is to be found that makes for an enjoyable dessert.

The big pros for me as a big rice eater are the buffet-style and tiny prices.
The big cons for me are the general style and flavor of the dishes and the early closing time.

I am very grateful for that this place exists. It can make living and eating out in Thailand so much more sustainable for people on a small budget, and by that I don't only mean farangs.

Pros: Cheap as it can get, Friendly atmosphere, Diversity of sold goodies

Cons: Only few dishes really delicious, Closing time

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Wow! - Edit

This is one of the most unique places I have ever visited.

First, it's very cheap. Ridiculously cheap.

Second, it's fresh and healthy.

Be sure you arrive before lunch time as most of the food will be gone by 1pm.

Their shop sells a lot of traditional Thai vegan items and the prices are very good. We got some black sesame seeds, some tom yam paste in a jar, some really nice spices and snacks.

Pros: Very tasty and healthy, and all vegan, They have cake!, Very cheap

Cons: A bit far from central Chiang Mai

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Amazing - Edit

I wish all cities in the world had such a restaurant as Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society. Although its food is not very impressive taste-wise, it seems very fresh, healthy and made out of local ingredients. What is more, restaurant's prices can't be beaten - 10 baht for a plate of rice and two side dishes is amazingly cheap. They also sell very delicious fresh juices (10 baht for a glass) and several kinds of desserts (including one kind of cake, 5 baht per piece). What's even better - everything is vegan.

I only wish they have longer working hours. At the time of our visit they were open from Monday to Friday 6am-2pm.

Pros: cheap, variety of dishes, nice environment

Cons: open till 2pm, runs out of some dishes after 12pm

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It's open and busy. - Edit

I have been twice in the last week. They are open from 6am until 2pm (days of the week I don't know). I arrived the first time at 12:30 and most of the "good" dishes were gone. What was left was plain cooked vegetables without spices or in a curry/coconut sauce. I was disappointed.

The second time, I decided to go at 11:30 and was able to find a curry dish and an interesting dish with lots of mixed veggies. It was MUCH better and very happy with the taste. Very similar to the taste found in other veg. restaurants in town. The noodle soup (with some tofu and lightly cooked organic greens) and a nice tasting broth which you finish off to your own style was free as someone sponsored it for the day. I paid anyway. :-)

2/3 vegetable dishes and rice is 10/15 B.
Noodle soup is 10 B.
Different drinks are 5 B and smoothies are 10 B (some sugar free) (served in small glasses.

In the front they have some very nice flowers including beautiful orchids. Inexpensive organic produce is for sale as well as staples, spices, unusual herbal teas, kitchen items and health care items (including an inexpensive spray for mosquitoes - located to the left of the front entrance all the way on the back wall - I think on the middle shelf).

Overall a very nice experience if you get there early enough to get more interesting/flavorful dishes. Some of the staff spoke some English. Worth at least twice the price charged.

Pros: Inexpensive., Basic but big facility., Lots of smiles from staff.

Cons: Better dishes run out first.

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DC guy 26 Aug 2014 - Their hours of operation is 8 am - 2 pm Mon-Fri. Closed Sat and Sun.


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Chaing Mai Vegetarian Society - Edit

Yes, the Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society is currently closed (has been since October 31 of last year) and nobody here seems to know exactly when/if it will reopen. As with everything in this talk/tweet till you drop world of ours, there are all variety of stories going around. Fact is, sadly for so many of us it is closed.

I agree with all of the positive comments that have been previously posted about their restaurant, shop and, most of all, about the wonderfully calm and, dare I say, sensible attitude towards making money over all else.

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This is what makes Chiang mai amazing - Edit

This place is a not for profit place run by volunteers and seems to have its basis on Buddhist roots.

The food is decent and ultra cheap - can eat for 15 thb or even free.

The best part about this place is the freshly made green and red smoothies.

They also have a store on site selling natural products, used books, and vitamins.

I love how you have to wash your own dishes - brings a sense of community.

Pros: Cheap, Yummy smoothies

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A Moment of Peace - Edit

I think the description of the CMVS and the associated reviews of this particular organization are quite accurate and sufficiently informative so as not to warrant further explanation of the CMVS mission statement. As other have stated, the food is remarkably inexpensive! A real treat that. :) The menu changes daily and all items are tasty enough to please. Further, I would offer that the menu is a bit broader than as been suggested. All good things.

What impressed me most, however, was the powerful sense of peace I experienced from the moment I pulled up outside. The interior space is unexpectedly interesting in terms of design...sort of a low budget tropic chic. *laugh* The atmosphere is quiet, open air, somewhat communal, with a very interesting use of space. Its a great way to start the day or briefly break from the world any time of day. Honest smiles, comfortable setting, and good simple food. I love this place.

Pros: Comfortable Setting, Great Price, Great Cause

Cons: Open Air Means Open To Insects (Clean), Clean Your Own Dishes :) (Negative?)

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Good Natural Products and Groceries - Edit

Run by the same foundation in BKK. The stores surrounding the rest. have a good supply of many organic and all natural seaweeds, oils, baked goods, supplements, health and beauty products, teas, etc. Also, lots of book info. in mainly Thai about organic gardening and health.

They offer free and very low cost food at the rest. as they are a not for profit organization. The people who volunteer there are lovely.

The food is very basic and bland. It is very macrobiotic in appearance and taste.
Updated from previous review on Thursday December 01, 2011

Pros: cheap, vegan, Good selection

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proletariat heart of compassion - Edit

This place is humble, noble, and embodies cooperation and compassion. It is a really fun place to be, watching all the volunteer workers prepare this good energy food, and seeing the people who enjoy eating there. Many people offer prayers before having their lunch. One topping with rice is actually free! That said, no western person should leave without making a contribution. Even if you have an enormous appetite or get overwhelmed by the numerous choices, the price is so, SO inexpensive that it is jaw dropping. Plus, you wash your own dishes! It makes me feel good about my whole day. I definitily recommend this place to friends!

Pros: the pinnacle of noble vegetarianism, a good energy place to be, incredibly humble

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Labor of Love - Edit

The Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society is a Thai organization that operates this wonderful restaurant and shop not far from the airport and airport mall.

They are not trying to make money on its operation but seek to provide wholesome vegetarian food and supplies to the community. The food is very basic and extremely inexpensive in their attempt to make it totally affordable to everyone in the community. Do not expect fancy service or elaborate dishes but instead appreciate what they are trying to accomplish.

The store they run has everything a vegetarian needs to cook and this is a godsend here in this area. The prices are great and the staff radiates appreciation for your patronage. Make sure you bring your carry bag as store adheres to a no plastic policy.

Note though that operations are only from 7-14:00 and they are definitely closed on all holidays. Patronizing this establishment is helping to preserve a valuable community asset.

Pros: Staff, Food & Products, Community involvement

Cons: Not open for dinner

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Ok - Edit

Ok place for cheap thai food. Not the best kind - they use garlic. There is also a shop selling pills, healthy products.

Pros: Big selection

Cons: Garlic

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Simple food, but very inexpensive! - Edit

Was completely shocked at how low the prices were here; noodle soup is 5B (though it's a small bowl), rice with one item is free, with two items 10B, and with three 15B. The food is very healthy, meaning no coconut milk and very little oil. But I found both the noodle soup and my rice dish to be bland, and most of the buffet was either watery curries or plan green vegetables. Didn't have the variety that most Thai veggie places in Chiang Mai have.

Pros: very cheap, healthy food

Cons: plain food, lack of variety

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