Southeast Asia is one of the best regions to travel as a health conscious vegan; there are so many delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to try.
Here’s our favourite vegan locations in Southeast Asia for you to explore:
Thailand is a great destination for vegan travel, there’s an abundance of vegan food in major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai and an annual religious ‘Vegetarian Festival’ where people eat vegan food for the 10 days of this spiritual festival. It’s easy to find vegan versions of local food in most places. Elsewhere in Thailand our top healthy dish to try is Som Tam, a green papaya salad made with toasted peanuts, lime and fresh chillies, just be sure to ask for no fish sauce.
If you're into raw vegan food then you’ll love staying at Evason Hua Hin and taking a raw food course from the Mathew Kenney Culinary Institute that’s based there. You can stay in a peaceful luxury resort just 4 hours drive from Bangkok and get the chance to hone your skills in the kitchen learning to make fine-dining raw vegan food that wouldn’t be out of place in a top quality restaurant.
Malaysia is a vegan-friendly location because of the wonderful mix of cultures and cuisines you’ll find there, plus a new and growing scene for health conscious vegans in some of the bigger cities in Peninsular Malaysia. We love that you can start your healthy vegan eating as soon as you land with a visit to a vegetarian, organic restaurant in KLIA2. Be Lohas serves healthy, vegetarian and vegan versions of classic Malay dishes like laksa, a truly wonderful noodle soup that combines creamy coconut soup, fresh herbs and aromatic spices. In Kuala Lumpur, there are multiple choices for vegans, including raw vegan food and cool little cafes serving vegan treats. Elsewhere in Malaysia it’s easy to ask people to adjust other local dishes so you don’t miss out; a vegan ‘char kway teow’, flash fried noodle dish can be just as delicious as the original meat and egg based version, and healthier too.
The Vietnamese cuisine makes good use of fresh herbs and salads and with the commitment to eat a vegan diet for 2 to 4 days each month for many of the local Buddhist population, it means that fresh, vibrant vegan cuisine is never far away. Fresh spring rolls packed with herbs, crunchy vegetables and salad leaves are a great, go-to healthy treat and easy-to-make vegan snack. Delicious, warm bowls of the popular Vietnamese noodle soup, ‘pho’ make a filling yet light meal that’s full of flavour. Visit any of the local vegan restaurants to find an animal-free version of this staple Vietnamese dish. In Hoi An we found Annen, a tiny restaurant and yoga studio selling freshly made vegan versions of regional favourites and other traditional Vietnamese food, as well as homemade soy milk with no sugar. With places like this, it’s easy to stay healthy on the road.
Indonesia is worth visiting for the abundance of tempeh, a delicious food made from soya beans that is perfect for vegans because it’s a complete protein. There’s a huge healthy vegan scene in Ubud, Bali, one of the most popular Indonesian islands, where you can find raw food, juices and yoga mixed alongside the wonderful culture of the Balinese people. There’s everything from vegan designer gelato to vegan versions of local food and plenty of raw food in between. Plus you can get to try jamu, a selection of traditional Indonesian herbal medicine health tonics full of natural plant-based power.
Our favourite place to eat delicious fresh healthy food is Warung Sopa in Ubud where you can pick from a range of tasty vegan treats to make up your own traditional nasi campur (mixed rice) and even pair it with a powerful iced turmeric and lime juice that really packs a punch.
Best known for the ancient temple ruins at Angkor Wat, Cambodia is one of our favourite vegan travel destinations. Although much of the local cuisine isn’t naturally vegan, tourist hubs like Siem Reap have excellent options for those wanting to live a healthier, cruelty- free lifestyle.
You can eat vegan food from around the globe at one of the many restaurants that serve vegan options, head to the local markets for some hustle and bustle (and a few accidentally vegan local street foods) and even stay in our very own Vegan Villa where we’ll make you fresh almond milk, tofu scramble and a mountain of fresh fruit to start your day. Also, we’ll show you all of our favourite vegan food in ‘Temple Town’. Expect vegan versions Khmer food (like our favourite Khmer Kreung Khtis made with a traditional curry paste), fresh spring rolls and coconut-based curries as well as international cuisine like falafels, raw vegan cake, zoodles and more.