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8 Delicious Local Drinks To Try in Thailand

A  woman selling coffee, tea, and smoothies in Bangkok, Thailand  | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson
A woman selling coffee, tea, and smoothies in Bangkok, Thailand | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson
Staying hydrated is key to surviving Thailand’s brutal, unforgiving heat. If you find yourself dying for a drink, quench your thirst with one of Thailand’s unique beverage options. Here, discover the most delicious Thai drinks that you should try.

Pomegranate Juice

These freshly squeezed juices are hands down the best way to mentally escape Thailand’s seemingly inescapable heat. You can watch as the inside of the fruit of your choosing is smashed right before your eyes and put into a slender plastic bottle. While there are many different fruit juices you can enjoy, pomegranate is one of our favorites. Pomegranates are also beneficial to your health, as they are a good source of vitamin C and are filled with both fiber and antioxidants. Many of Thailand’s drinks are full of sugar, so it is nice to enjoy a drink that actually does your body good instead of the opposite.

Freshly squeezed lime and pomegranate juice © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Orange Juice

There has certainly been quite the controversy surrounding Thailand’s mouthwatering orange juice lately. A post on social media of a couple making “fake” orange juice went viral in May 2016; the photos show a couple making the juice in a tub on their property, combining orange juice concentrate, water, food coloring and artificial sweeteners to make a look-alike drink. Since then, officials in Thailand have started to crack down on those selling this popular drink. Authentic orange juice, however, can be found all over Thailand and is one of the most popular drinks in the country, both by foreign and local standards. Orange juice in Thailand, like the food here, combines the two distinct flavors of both salty and sweet, making for an interesting combination.

Fresh orange juice at a market in Phuket © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Sugarcane Juice

If you have a sweet tooth then you cannot leave Thailand without having a bottle of sugarcane juice. Usually, the actual sugarcane lies lifeless next to a vendor, having just gone through the powerful machines that make this drink. This drink is incredibly sweet, and it is difficult to ingest quickly because of its powerful flavor.

Grass Jelly Drinks

All of Thailand loves grass jelly. There are grass jelly desserts where chao kuai (black jelly) is mixed with both ice and water before being sprinkled with brown sugar. You can also add grass jelly to things like coconut ice cream, but our favorite way to ingest this strange ingredient is in our beverages. Jelly cubes are sliced and put into plastic cups before adding your choice of drink, which sometimes includes different teas, juices and more. You will oftentimes see cups partly filled with jelly grass, giving you the option of filling it up with whatever it is you desire.

Coconut Water

You will find coconut water already made, put into a large cylinder or container and then scooped out into a cup for you to enjoy. Thick, juicy slices of coconut are shaved out of it’s hard covering and mixed in with water. You can get coconut water fresh or vendors can put in a large helping of sugar water to give it a punch of flavor.

Smoothies

Thailand’s smoothies are elaborate. From watermelon smoothies scooped into its own watermelon bowl to a freshly blended combination of carrots, dragon fruit and more, you cannot go wrong by ordering one of these drinks. Many of these smoothies are made with specific health benefits in mind — for example, you can order a pineapple, orange and apple smoothie to help with digestion. The sheer variety of fruits in Thailand, in addition to the added freshness of different, delicious fruits being grown year-round, will make you not want to part with these incredible beverages when you leave the Kingdom.

Watermelon smoothies at Talad Rod Fai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Coffee

Thailand has a variety of specialty coffee. For one, this drink makes the list because of its abundance and availability. If you are a coffee connoisseur, then the street-side stalls selling coffee from their carts might not be your brew of choice. That being said, though, many of these coffee stalls sell a large iced coffee for ฿25 (less than $1) so maybe it’s worth the downgrade. These stalls sell a variety of coffee, including lattes and mochas. If you don’t like sweet, be sure to ask your barista to omit condensed milk from your drink … it seems to be their favorite ingredient! There are also plenty of specialty coffee shops, especially in populated and more urban areas of Thailand.

Latte in Phuket, Thailand © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Thai Iced Milk Tea

Chai yen is one of the most popular drinks in Thailand. Every morning, Thais across the country, whether they are commuting by train, motorcycle, or boat, will have one hand swinging back and forth with the weight of their bagged tea around their wrist. It’s bright orange color oftentimes scares off foreigners, but do not let its strange appearance deter you from enjoying this delicious beverage. This tea is a combination of way too much condensed milk and evaporated milk. Though we are still a bit unclear as to why it has this orange color, it does not seem to do any harm (do not quote us on this), and it is certainly one of the tastiest beverages in Thailand.