Indonesia is a great place to explore and has long been considered a haven for backpackers from all over the world. With its endless wildlife, beautiful landscape, and tasty traditional meals, this string of tropical islands in Southeast Asia is not to be missed. Here are 7 tips to ensure you get the best out of the country when traveling as a vegan!
7 Tips for Travelling as a Vegan in Indonesia
1. Do Your Research Before You Go
If you’re normally the type of backpacker who likes to wing it, perhaps consider doing a little bit of prep before your trip to Indonesia. Whilst it’s great to do things on a whim, it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit of planning to make sure you don’t end up in the least vegan-friendly destination in the country, or if you do, at least you’ll be prepared. Bali, one of the most popular islands in Indonesia, is extremely vegan-friendly, with over 200 vegan and veggie restaurants listed on Happy Cow. However, not all places in the country are the same, some travelers have found Jakarta to be more of a challenge – so it’s good to do some research before booking a flight.
2. Learn Some Basic Key Phrases
If you’re going off the beaten path, or even if you’re sticking to more well-traveled areas, it’s sensible to learn some of the local lingo – particularly if you’re a vegan. It’s much easier to get your message across to a restaurant or cafe if you know some basic phrases. For example, “I will not eat” in Bahasa, the national language of Indonesia, is “saya tidak makan.” Chicken is “ayam” and cheese is “keju.”
3. Don’t Be Street Food Shy
Don’t be afraid to try the street food, it may be the most vegan source of food you’ll find (it’s cheap too)! In places, such as Gili Trawangan, off the coast of Bali and Lombok, there are large night markets with many vegan options available. Noodles, rice, vegetables, tempeh, tofu, and many varieties of fruit are just some examples of the types of vegan-friendly foods on offer.
4. Pack Your Own Snacks and Home Comforts
Whilst it’s great to try the local cuisine as much as possible – if you find yourself in a place where vegan-friendly options are scarce, it’s always good to be prepared in advance, so you don’t go hungry. Pack yourself a Vego bar, or five, as well as nuts, crackers or whatever else takes your fancy.
5. Consider Booking Through a Vegan Travel Agent
For less confident, or solo, vegan travelers, booking a trip with a vegan travel agent could save a lot of hassle and worry. Vegan travel agents, such as VegVoyages, specialize in taking away groups of like-minded people on ethical, green, cruelty-free, vegan trips. The organization run trips to both Bali and Sumatra in Indonesia, as well as other destinations in Asia. In this case, VegVoyages do all the research for you! So all you have to do is focus on filling up on all the delicious food your guide recommends, taking in the sights of Indonesia and making new friends along the way.
6. Make Sure the Animal Attractions You Visit are Ethical – Beforehand
Sadly, like many places around the world, in Indonesia animals are often exploited in the tourism industry. There’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling you get when you realize you’ve handed over some of your precious travel cash to a place that exploits animals – so do your research first. If you’re heading to Bali, the Bali Animal Welfare Association website is worth a scan. The association is helping to promote responsible tourism on the island and help travelers steer clear of cruel attractions such as Luwak coffee farms.
Find out more here.
7. Download an App to Help You on Your Way
When traveling across Indonesia, there can be many flights and/or bus journeys involved, this can be tiring and leave you eager to find somewhere quickly, to eat and relax, at the end of the journey. This is where an app can come in handy. Vegman and Happy Cow are examples of two apps that operate in Indonesia and will help you locate those vegan eats quickly. Simply type in the area, i.e., “Kuta” or “Seminyak”, and assess your vegan and veggie options.
If you’re planning on visiting Indonesia as part of a bigger trip around Southeast Asia, see our guide for vegan activities to try across the region, here.
Image Credit: Unsplash | VegVoyages