You love to travel. You love seeing new places and trying new things. But living as a vegan can make it difficult to go places far from home because it seems like very few places offer food you can eat. If there were more places that sold food you could eat, you would be able to enjoy traveling again.
While it seems like there are still limited vegan dining options available, the good news is that the number is increasing. There’s a growing number of people becoming aware of the many benefits of being a vegan. And that means it’s becoming easier to travel while maintaining your vegan lifestyle.
I’m a vegan who loves to travel, especially around Asia. I love the people, food, and diverse cultures. In my experience, it can be difficult to always remain vegan while traveling to different places. Because of that, I want to help other people like you be able to pursue their love for travel while staying true to their vegan way of life.
Check out our recommendations of the seven most vegan-friendly cities throughout Southeast Asia.
What is a Vegan and Why Become a Vegan?
First and foremost, a vegan is a person who does not consume any food derived from any animal. This includes any meat, dairy, honey, and eggs.
But, most people would say a true vegan also does not use any products derived from animals. Including leather, wool, and anything else using an parts from an animal.
There are several reasons why a person may become a vegan, but it typically includes one of the following:
- Animal rights – Vegans believe it’s cruel to kill animals to use them for our benefit. They want to protect them from harm and treat them humanely.
- Protecting the environment – It’s been discovered that it costs more money and resources to produce animal products. Therefore, vegans are conserving important, limited resources.
- Religious – Many Buddhists and some Hindus avoid meat because it goes against their beliefs. To kill an animal is considered wrong and is frowned upon.
- Health – There are many diseases and illnesses that can be reduced or even reversed by eating a vegan diet. Eating more fruit and vegetables while eliminating meat and dairy has helped numerous people fight off some of the worst diseases.
Before we dive into the most vegan-friendly cities in Southeast Asia, it’s important to give a little background. First, this list is primarily referring to food and beverage choices. For many people, living a vegan lifestyle goes way beyond only food choices, but this article focuses primarily on dining options.
The number of restaurant choices available is based on data from HappyCow, a great way to locate vegan options. Get the app before you travel!
Second, as mentioned above, I have been eating vegan diet for over five years. It has radically changed my health in a good way! In those last five years, I have traveled to Indonesia and experienced how difficult it can be to eat vegan in certain places. That’s why I make sure to always carry some vegan protein snacks just in case!
Third, not every place defines vegan the same way. Most of the West defines vegan as food containing no ingredients that come from any animals. However, some places count vegan simply as not using meat from animals, but they may use beef or chicken broth or honey. That’s why it’s always important to ask.
Finally, you will find a city in Taiwan in this list. Some people would consider Taiwan to be East Asia. But it’s a very vegan-friendly city, and many Americans travel there, so I wanted to include it in the list.
These cities are in no particular order because all of them are great. Let’s get to the list!
Most Vegan-Friendly Cities in Southeast Asia
1. Taipei, Taiwan
As you walk down the street and smell the various dishes filled with meat, you may not think Taipei is a city very accommodating for vegans. However, the most vegan-friendly city in Eastern Asia is Taipei, Taiwan. This could be due partially to its long Buddhist history.
According to HappyCow, there are 122 vegan restaurants here. They are spread throughout the city, but several our found in the Eastern District of Taipei. You can eat just about any kind of food you desire. They also have many vegetarian options.
Some of the most popular and highest rated restaurants are Vege Creek, Plants Eatery, Brother Su Vegan Kitchen, Mianto, Vegan Taipei, Fruitful Food, and The Green Room. Another place you may be familiar with is the Loving Hut.
Several of these places, like Plants Eatery, Mianto, and The Green Room offer international food choice. There are a few vegan bakeries including Vege Hip, Green Bakery, and Vegan Heaven. There is also a vegetarian night market that offers some vegan choices.
Taipei is also vegan-friendly in other ways. They have several luxury hotels that will accommodate vegan requests such as the Grand Hyatt and Mandarin Oriental. You should have no problem maintaining your lifestyle when you visit here!
2. Bangkok, Thailand
Overall, Thailand is a vegan-friendly country. One reason is because over 90% of the population is Buddhist, and certain groups of Buddhists do not eat meat. One thing to note is that vegetarian options are everywhere, but you must be careful because fish sauce is used in many dishes.
Being an international city, vegan restaurants in Bangkok offer both local and international food options. Overall, there are currently about 112 vegan restaurants throughout the large city. They are fairly spread out, but many are found in an area of the city called Sathon.
Some of the most delicious restaurants in the city are Vistro, Veganerie, May Veggie Home, The Vegan Table, Barefood Bangkok, Baiplu House, Broccoli Revolution, and May Kaidee. There are also several cafés like the Bonita Café and Social Club, Nature’s Charm Café, and Plantiful.
A few of the places mentioned above are also considered some of the best vegan restaurants in all of Asia. For instance, the Veganerie is very highly rated and has over 150 vegan recipes! May Veggie Home has a bakery and even serves vegan ice cream. Vistro was recently named the best vegan restaurant in all of Thailand, and it offers a variety of vegan desserts, many of which are also gluten-free.
Bangkok also is home to several vegan-friendly hotels and tours in the area. If you’re a vegan, make sure to add Bangkok to your list of places to travel! The beaches are lovely here!
Singapore is an international city with many amazing food options. People from all over the world visit and live here. If you’ve never been to Singapore, it’s definitely worth a visit. There are several popular tourist destinations, but there is also amazing food from all over the world.
There are over 100 vegan restaurants spread throughout the little country. Some of the best restaurants are Afterglow, Whole Earth, VeganBurg, nomVnom Bistro, Original Sin, Cultivate Café, Warung Ijo, Green Common, and Genesis Vegan Restaurant.
Since Singapore is home to many different types of Asian cuisine, it’s not difficult to find vegan options in other restaurants as well. Overall, it’s not too difficult to eat vegan here.
Singapore is also home to several vegan-friendly hotels. This includes Grand Hyatt, Four Seasons, Regent, Westin, Sheraton Towers. The challenging thing is that these hotels tend to be quite pricey. Singapore is accommodating to vegans but is difficult for your average person to afford. Make sure to plan accordingly.
4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam even though it’s not the capital. This means there are plenty of options for types of cuisine from around the world.
There are at least 125 vegan restaurants here, which makes it one of the most vegan-friendly cities in all of Asia. This is partly due to the majority of the country being Buddhist.
Some of the best vegan restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City are Hum Vegetarian, Kashew Cheese, Filthy Vegan, The Organik Kitchen Saigon, The Organik House, Phuc Quang Chay, Habiba Kitchen, Prem Bistro, and Nha Hang Chay Sen. But, there are many more begging for you to give them a try.
Vietnam is home to many fresh fruits and vegetables, which makes it fairly easy to be vegan here. There are also options for vegan-friendly hotels and tours if you do your research. Ho Chi Minh City is very accommodating for people wanting to maintain a vegan style of living.
5. Bali, Indonesia
I have visited Indonesia several times, and it is not difficult to eat vegan in the country overall. Fresh fruits, vegetables, rice, and soy products are found readily throughout the country.
Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Asia. It’s a small island near the center of Indonesia and is home to many beautiful beaches. It attracts people from all around the world, including magnificent chefs.
Bali is home to a number of amazing local and international restaurants. There are at least 50 vegan restaurants on the island of Bali. Some of the best are Kynd Café, Tasty Vegan Bali, Earth Café, Tanaman Restaurant, Akar Restaurant and Bar, I am Vegan Babe, Zest, Pizza Cult, Sage, Café Organic, The Seeds of Life Café, Moksa, and Give Café.
There are hundreds of hotels and resorts in Bali, and many of them are vegan-friendly. Bali is a great option for people wanting to enjoy the beach and delicious food while maintaining a vegan lifestyle.
6. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is the fourth largest metro area in Thailand and is located in the northwest part of the country. It’s growing in popularity with western tourists and expats. This growth is bringing an increasing number of modern restaurants.
As mentioned above, Thailand is primarily Buddhist, so finding vegetarian food in your average restaurant is not difficult. But finding vegan food can be more challenging because many dishes use fish sauce.
There are about 40 vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai, which isn’t bad considering the size of the city. But again, you can often find vegetarian and vegan options in other places.
Some of the best vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai are Free Bird Café, Vegan Heaven, Rad Rabbit, Mr Green, Amrita Garden, Bee Vegan, Goodsouls Kitchen, and V-Secret. There is also a vegan grocery store named Loving Earth.
There are also some vegan-friendly places to stay in this growing city so be sure to check out Chiang Mai next time you’re in the area!
7. Makati, Philippines
Makati is a city just outside of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. It’s not a large city, having a population of less than one million. However, it’s a very modern, urbanized place.
Eating a vegan diet can be difficult in the Philippines because people here love their meat. If you leave one of the major cities, you may struggle to find enough plant-based cuisine, so be sure to pack enough vegan snacks.
You will find over 30 great vegan restaurant options here. Several great options are Green Bar, Cosmic Poblacion, Corner Tree Café, Greenery Kitchen, Hippie Happy Bowls, iVegan, The Vegetarian Kitchen and Wabi-Sabi Noodle House and Vegetarian Grocery.
There are a couple of vegan hotels and tours in the country, but the Philippines are a little behind when it comes to accommodating a vegan lifestyle. But, this is an amazing place to visit!
Don’t Forget to Travel Safely!
Now you know that you can travel while maintaining a vegan lifestyle, start making plans! You can begin planning which cities to visit and where to eat when you get there.
One very important step that people forget when making international travel plans is purchasing travel insurance. We never plan for accidents to happen, but sadly, they happen more than we realize. We’ve been serving travelers for over 25 years and have heard more tragic stories than we would have liked.
Before you travel, make sure you have a travel health insurance plan that will protect you and your loved ones. You will be able to travel with peace of mind knowing your covered if anything unfortunate happens.
We sincerely hope you enjoy your travels!