Jase Quelch is the creator of Roaming Vegans, an ethical travel blog. Here, he reveals the top vegan-friendly destinations he’s discovered on his travels.
Planning a trip as a vegan typically involves deep-diving into a country’s vegan scene before even leaving the couch.
When scoping out vegan travel destinations, it’s important to know if the local cuisine is vegan or can easily be veganised. What are the locals’ attitudes towards vegan food? And of course, will it break the bank?
As the creators of Roaming Vegans, my partner and I have spent five years eating our way across the globe in search of the tastiest and most affordable vegan destinations on the planet. Here are our top vegan-friendly destinations to travel to in 2022, based on our plant-friendly world travels.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka might just be the ultimate vegan travel destination. As a primarily vegetarian culture, most local dishes are made naturally vegan from ingredients like lentils, jackfruit, coconut and aubergine. Not only is Sri Lankan food delicious and nutritious, it’s some of the most affordable food in the world. Most local meals in Sri Lanka won’t set you back more than £1. Yes, you heard that right!
Make sure to try string hoppers for an authentic breakfast experience, which is basically rice flour and dough pressed into lacy circles that are commonly enjoyed at breakfast, with sambol or daal. Do as the locals do and eat with your hands to truly immerse yourself in the experience. For lunch, simply order Sri Lankan rice and curry. This meal is almost always naturally vegan and typically comes with five-eight separate plates that’ll leave you unbuckling your belt.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is quickly solidifying itself on the vegan world stage. Whether it’s for the smoky plant-based taco stands sizzling out onto the sidewalks or the classy vegan restaurants in the gentrified Roma and Condesa suburbs, CDMX gives Mexican cuisine a vegan spin that’ll change your perception on traditional Mexican food forever.
No visit to CDMX is complete without enjoying vegan street tacos at Por Siempre, a local street food stand that serves up affordable plant-based tacos that might well be the best in the world. Prefer somewhere with seating? Head over to La Pitahaya Vegana and try its iconic pink tacos, which are made using dragon fruit as a base, giving them a unique look.
Ubud, Indonesia attracts visitors from all over the world, who are drawn in by its iconic rice terraces and photogenic swimming pools perched on the side of luscious mountain tops. Ubud’s thriving vegan scene is less well known but equally captivating, including vegan buffets, niche restaurants and daily plant-based cooking classes. Local Indonesian food is vegan-friendly too, with tofu and tempeh used as common meat replacements.
After a long day exploring rice paddies and monkey temples, relax at the hip Kafe in the centre of town for vegan comfort food or enjoy a 100% vegan buffet at Sawobali where you can really fill your plate for less than £3.
Koh Phangan, Thailand
In the Gulf of Thailand, the island of Koh Phangan is most often associated with the iconic full moon parties that rock its shores once a month. However, there’s much more to the small island than a booze-fuelled night on Haad Rin beach. The north of the island might best be described as a vegan paradise, inhabited by a small conscious community of yogis, hippies and artists. Explore the island by scooter and find small vegan gems around each corner on an island that truly combines conscious living with ethical eating.
Don’t miss the incredible vegan food at Chana Masala, which is a vegetarian and vegan Indian restaurant that replaces Indian cottage cheese (paneer) with tofu, and serves up some of the best Indian food in Thailand. If you’re looking to enjoy a beachside sunset with dinner, head over to Pure Vegan Heaven and choose from a 100 per cent vegan menu while the sun sets over Hin Kong beach.
Tel Aviv, Israel
No vegan destination list would be complete without Tel Aviv. Israel’s economic heart is frequently named the vegan capital of the world – and it’s not hard to see why. It’s estimated one in 10 people in Tel Aviv are vegan, which would make it the city with the highest number of vegans per capita on the planet. Naturally, this has led to a flourishing vegan destination packed with over 400 vegan restaurants and eateries, so there’s always somewhere to grab a plant-based bite.