Must try drinks from Thai street vendors

Thailand is so much more than its amazing street food – its refreshing drinks are something you’ve got to try as well! Full of unique local flavours and some healthy benefits, these drinks are just for cooling off and getting into the Thai spirit. So, when wandering through those vibrant markets, pick up one of these fantastic beverages.

Classic drinks

Cha Yen (Thai Iced Tea)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Cha Yen, or Thai Iced Tea, is a vibrant orange drink from Thailand made from Ceylon black tea and flavoured with star anise, tamarind, and cardamom. It is also mixed with condensed milk or evaporated milk. It’s a sweet and creamy refreshment with a burst of Thai flavours, perfect for hot weather in Thailand.

Nam Manao (Lime Juice)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Squeeze lime juice onto a cup and mix in sugar and water and boom, you have yourself Nam Manao! It’s a cool and simple drink that can keep you hydrated during the hot days. It also strengthens your immune system as it is filled with vitamin C and antioxidants. Nam Manao is ideal to freshen you up as you travel around Thailand.

Nam Matoom (Bael Fruit Juice)

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Nam Matoom, or Bael Fruit Juice, is a sweet, medicinal juice from the dry parts of Bael fruit, originating from India and spreading to Southeast Asia. Apple cider vinegar, a digestive aid, is also popular for its ability to alleviate constipation and soothe stomach issues.

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Exciting local fruit juices

Mango Juice

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Mango juice is made from the juiciest, ripest mangoes! When the heat hits hard, there’s nothing like this delicious, flavour-packed drink to save the day. Bursting with essential Vitamins A and C, its creamy texture and irresistibly bold, sweet flavour capture the hearts of both locals and tourists!

Pineapple Juice

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Pineapple juice, a sweet and tangy drink with bromelain enzyme, is a delicious and healthy option for reducing inflammation, aiding digestion, strengthening the immune system, and preventing bone loss. It’s a popular choice in Thailand’s bustling streets.

Traditional herbal and healthy beverages

Anchan Tea (Butterfly Pea Drink)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Anchan Tea is a refreshing blue herbal drink with a butterfly pea flower colour, available hot or cold, and can be enhanced with honey or lime. It contains antioxidants for brain health and helps reduce stress.

Nam Krajeab (Roselle Juice)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Roselle Juice, also known as Nam Krajeab, is whipped up from the calyces of the Roselle plant, giving it that vivid red colour and a nicely tart taste. Highly favoured in Thailand, this beverage is a preferred choice for cooling off in the warm climate. Rich in vitamin C and essential minerals, it effectively helps regulate blood pressure and supports kidney health. Commonly available from street vendors who serve it chilled with a hint of sugar, it offers a delightful balance of tartness and sweetness.

Nam Gek Huay (Chrysanthemum Drink)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Chrysanthemum Drink, locally known as Nam Gek Huay, is a soothing herbal tea crafted from dried Chrysanthemum flowers. It features a pleasing pale yellow appearance and is favoured for its refreshing qualities, particularly on hot days. Sweetened with rock sugar, this beverage not only offers a delightful taste but also contributes to reducing inflammation and soothing nerves. It’s essentially a rejuvenating mini-spa session in each cup.

Popular milk-based drinks

Nom Yen (Iced Pink Milk)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Nom Yen is a classic Thai favourite, famous for its bright pink colour from sala syrup. This syrup, made from a local fruit with a tangy and floral kick, is mixed with fresh milk to whip up a super tasty and pretty-looking drink. To make it even yummier, some sellers throw in some condensed milk or serve it over crushed ice, which is just the thing you need to cool down in Bangkok’s intense heat.

Oliang (Thai Iced Coffee)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Oliang, or ‘black iced coffee’, is a total standout when you’re talking about Thai drinks. This cool brew has its roots with the Chinese immigrants in Thailand and it’s gotten its local spin over the years. You’ll find street vendors whipping it up by mixing coffee with brown sugar and tossing in some spices like cardamom or sesame seeds. What you get is this super rich and fragrant drink that not only wakes you up with a caffeine boost but also gives you a little taste of the cultural mix you’d find wandering the streets of Bangkok.

Other refreshing drinks

Fresh Coconut Water

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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In Thailand, street vendors serve coconut water as a refreshing and electrolyte-rich alternative to traditional drinks. This beverage is a wholesome choice for maintaining hydration levels and is often accompanied by soft coconut meat as a snack. It is a refreshing option for rehydration after a day in the sun.

Nam Oy (Sugarcane Juice)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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Sugarcane juice, widely recognized in Thailand as ‘Nam Oy’, stands out as a classic street beverage worth experiencing. The process involves extracting juice from sugarcane stalks using large mechanical presses. Served chilled over ice, this drink offers an ideal refreshment and a swift boost of natural sweetness. It is distinctly sweet, derived naturally from the cane, and offers a deep, molasses-like flavour that is both intense and satisfying. Take your time with it and enjoy those deep flavours—it’s one of those drinks meant to be savoured slowly!

Nam Daeng (Red Soda)

Must try drinks from Thai street vendors | News by Thaiger
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This red fizzy drink is made up of soda and sala syrup. It has the same ingredients as nom yen (pink milk) but minus the milk part. This drink is also offered to shrines as it represents blood and luck, a symbol of life force to gods.

Thai smoothies

Tropical Fruit Smoothie

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Thai tropical fruit smoothies are a real treat for all your senses! You’ll find street vendors whipping up killer combos like mango and passion fruit, pineapple and coconut, or watermelon and lychee. These treats are as visually appealing as they are delicious, making them ideal for a refreshing pause during your bustling street market adventures. Loaded with fresh ingredients, they not only offer a superb flavour but are also rich in vitamins, providing a healthy boost whenever required.

How to find and choose drinks

Exploring the vibrant streets of Thailand offers a delightful opportunity to taste authentic and refreshing drinks from local vendors.

Locations known for authentic drinks

If you’re craving the real-deal Thai street drink experience, some places are must-visits. Head over to Bangkok’s lively Khao San Road where you’ll find a cool mix of local and tropical drinks — it’s a total treat for anyone up for a tasting adventure. Over in Chiang Mai, the night markets are perfect for sipping fresh fruit juices and classic Thai teas, letting those authentic flavours pop. And if you find yourself in Phuket, don’t miss the local markets near Patong Beach. They’ve got everything from super refreshing coconut water to bright, zesty smoothies, all packed with the tropical vibes of the island.

Tips for choosing fresh and safe drinks

When picking out street drinks in Thailand, you want to go for freshness and safety. Stick to those busy vendors because it means their drinks are super fresh. Take a quick peek at how clean their setup is; it’ll give you a good idea of how tidy they keep things. Always go for sealed bottled water when they’re mixing drinks, and make sure the ice is from purified water. If you find a vendor who speaks some English, even better! It makes it way easier to make sure the drink fits your tastes and dietary needs.

Thailand’s streets offer not only delicious street food but also refreshing drinks. These beverages are not only local-flavored but also provide health benefits, keeping you hydrated and cool during your exploration. So, grab one of these drinks while exploring the lively Thai culture.

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Krystelle Shaye Pesarillo

Shaye, from Mahidol University International College (MUIC), loves storytelling and is an aspiring director and content creator. Beyond that, she enjoys music, sports, fashion, and mental health advocacy. With her passion for narrative and meaningful expression, Shaye aims to make a big impact in media and beyond.

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