A Guide to Vegan Travel in Bali

Published on October 8, 2020

Beautiful Bali is one of the most magical destinations on the planet. Gorgeous waterfalls, fascinating temples, colourful ceremonies, lush rice paddies and an abundance of vegan food makes Bali a great place to visit as a vegan! Did you know that tempeh was invented in Indonesia!? There is almost too much vegan food to choose from! Nevertheless, you will still have to watch out for sneaky fish sauce, hidden shrimp paste and egg in Balinese dishes. Here is a handy vegan guide to Bali to help you find the best vegan restaurants, accidentally vegan Balinese dishes and an invite to join us on one of our super special vegan getaways in Bali!

Accidentally Vegan Food in Bali

For vegans looking to try traditional Balinese and local Indonesian dishes there is plenty of accidentally vegan food in Bali. South-East Asian food tends to feature plenty of fresh veggies, tasty tofu, creamy peanut sauce and yummy tempeh. Tempeh is a fantastic accidentally vegan Indonesian delicacy. This delicious plant-based fermented soybean cake is a wonderful meat alternative which can be found all over Bali and throughout the rest of Indonesia. 

Local restaurants in Bali are known as warungs. Many warungs make everything from scratch meaning many dishes are easy to veganize. At a warung, you will be able to find Balinese accidentally vegan food such as Gado Gado, Nasi Campur, Jukut Arab, Capcay, Mie Goreng and of course delicious plant-based vegetable curries. Just make sure to tell them not to add meat or egg. 

Gado Gado is an Indonesian dish which consists of vegetables, rice and a huge amount of creamy peanut butter.  If you fancy a fresh salad you will love Urap-urap and Jukut Arab. Urap-urap is an accidentally vegan Indonesian salad dish. Urap-Urap tends to be served with vegetables and coconut on a bed of rice. Jukut Arab is similar as it is made of vegetables and has grated coconut too.

Another accidentally vegan dish in Indonesia is capcay. Capcay consists of carrot, cabbage and leek drizzled in light or dark soy sauce. Nasi Campur is a staple of the Balinese diet which also happens to be vegan! This is similar to thali and consists of tasty tempeh or tempting tofu, crunchy vegetables, a generous portion of rice with a large helping of spicy sambal. Sambal is a Malay word, which means chili paste or sauce.Sometimes sambal can contain shrimp paste so be sure to check before ordering. Here’s an easy sambal recipe for you to try! 

During your trip to Bali you will probably also spot Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng on menus too. These are simple dishes of rice with vegetables and fried noodles with vegetables which are also often vegan or can easily be vegaized without losing any of the delicious flavour! 

As mentioned before, tempeh was invented in Indonesia! This means you will find tempeh satay in places such as Ubud which are tempeh skewers coated in creamy peanut sauce.

Luckily vegans will not struggle to find plant-based milk as soy milk is everywhere. It can however be hard to find unsweetened soy milk in Bali though.

While most of these delicious Bali vegan dishes are safe for vegans, it is still good to check whether they’ve been made with shrimp paste, fish sauce or contain egg. Lots of people in Bali speak great English but it is still useful to learn some Indonesian phrases. These can come in handy when you are in more rural places too. Tanpa is the word for without. Therefore, when you want a particular dish without something, you simply say “tanpa” followed by the ingredient you do not want such as “tanpa terasi” which means without shrimp paste. Fish sauce is saus ikan and egg is telur. Make sure you come to Bali with an empty stomach so you can make the most of these amazing plant-based dishes!

The Best Vegan Restaurants in Bali

HappyCow currently lists 563 vegan-friendly eateries in Bali! With so much choice it can be hard to narrow down where the best vegan restaurants in Bali are! Having been to Bali countless times, we’ve done the leg work for you so here are our top vegan restaurants in Ubud, Canggu and Seminyak.

Ubud

There is an endless barrage of fantastic vegan food in Ubud! Ubud is the spiritual centre of Bali and a visit there means being surrounded by lush rice paddies, beautiful temples and let’s not forget cheeky wild monkeys! 

For a tasty vegan meal at a 100% vegan restaurant in Ubud check out Zest . Zest pride themselves on supporting organic farmers, local artisans and only serves locally produced food. Not to mention the wonderful ambiance, delicious desserts and stunning view! 

Also make sure you visit Kismet. The friendly service and delicious vegan food are not to be missed! They serve tasty bowls, burgers, and an array of delicious appies to nibble on.  Afterwards cool off at Kokolato for some tasty vegan ice creams with epic flavours like moringa mint.

Many influencers and travellers flock to Bali for the beautiful rice paddies so why not go for a vegan meal overlooking the magnificent rice terraces? Moksa is a vegan restaurant situated amid the rice fields. The food is delicious and it is the perfect place to spend a peaceful evening enjoying the view.

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Canggu

Canggu is a great place in Bali if you are looking for relaxing beach, surfing and café vibes.

A fabulous veggie place in Canggu is the Shady Shack . This is a very popular place with vegan digital nomads. You can choose from scrummy breakfasts, tasty smoothies and gigantic vegan burritos. Similarly, Café Organic serves vegan mezze platters and even vegan pancakes! Both of these vegan options in Canggu are great for breakfast! 

For tasty coconut-based vegan ice creams, visit Mad Pops in Canggu. They serve a huge range of funky, delicious, natural, artisan ice cream! What’s a vegan holiday without vegan ice cream?!

If you are in the mood for delicious vegan smoothie bowls, burritos, tacos, awesome breakfast options or an innovative sandwich, add I Am Vegan Babe to your vegan restaurants in Bali bucket list! Everything on the menu is incredible!

There are so many great vegan restaurants in Canggu it’s hard to list them all! A few more we recommend are: 

For Vegan junk food: Plant Cartel.

For more instagram-worthy vegan food in Canggu check out Peleton Supershop.

For vegan food with an awesome cause: Give Cafe – all of their profits go to charity.

You may want to stay for a few days in Canggu just to cafe hop and try all the amazing plant-based food!

Seminyak

Seminyak is a great place to visit in Bali for golden sandy beaches and great nightlife!

After an evening of dancing the night away, head to Earth Café on Oberoi Road, commonly known as the popular Eat Street in Seminyak. Earth Café has a huge range of plant-based options from cashew-cheese tacos and tofu omelettes to colourful smoothie bowls. Earth Café is 100% vegan too!

Animal Tourism in Bali

Many vegans choose to go vegan out of compassion for animals. Animal lovers will want to see some of the incredible Balinese wildlife during their vegan getaway in Bali. Bali is home to the beautiful Balinese macaque and the sweet kuskus which is a marsupial with a long tail to swing from branch to branch! However, it is important to do your research before you choose a wildlife experience to ensure that it is not putting the desires of tourists above the needs of the animals. 

It can be hard to participate in any form of animal related tourism across the globe without being certain that animal cruelty is not involved. In South East Asia one of the most common forms of animal tourism involves elephants. The British Travel association (Abta) lists the practice of riding elephants as unacceptable here.  While many elephant sanctuaries have now stopped offering riding experiences, there are other ways that may be fun for the tourist but are harmful for the elephant. For example, photos of you washing an elephant might look great on your Instagram feed but in order for the wild animal to be standing next to you, some form of “breaking in” will have been done. Similarly, these elephant centers can force elephants to be washed very frequently to keep up with tourist demand which can harm the elephant’s skin.

You should also take care around monkeys in Bali too. There are vendors in Ubud’s monkey forest selling bananas and peanuts. This is making them more reliant on tourists and also unhealthier as their natural diet consists of berries and leaves. More information about animal experiences in Bali can be found here

Another thing to watch out for during your vegan trip to Bali is Luwak coffee. While coffee is plant-based as it is just a bean, Kopi Luwak which is a popular coffee in Bali involves a degree of animal cruelty to be produced.   

Luwak Kopi luwak is a coffee made from partially digested coffee cherries which have been eaten then defecated by civets. Civets are small creatures which look similar to large cats or racoons. Luwak coffee is also sometimes referred to as civet coffee and is one of the most expensive coffees in the world costing up to $700 USD per kilogram. 

This lucrative coffee has meant that civets are now involved in commercial farming practices forcing them to live in cages and on an unbalanced diet of coffee beans causing several health problems. Also luwaks are noctornial solitary creatures so keeping them awake in the day and among many other luwaks causes them great distress. Please do not support this unethical coffee process during your vegan trip to Bali. 

The best way to see and appreciate wildlife in Bali is to watch animals from a safe distance. Watch them in their natural habitat and don’t disturb them.

Join Us on One of Our Awesome Vegan Getaways in Bali!

Bali is a magical place full of delicious plant-based food which makes it a fantastic destination for vegans. Unlike destinations such as Italy and Portugal there is almost too much choice for vegans in Bali! If you don’t want the hassle of working out where the best food in Bali is by yourself or worrying about fish sauce and controversial coffee, why not join us on our vegan getaway in Bali?

To discover the best plant-based food Bali has to offer, join us on our vegan Getaway “Live with Purpose” in Bali. You don’t have to worry about anything as we curate everything to the highest standard. The only thing you have to do is show up!

Furthermore, you will meet and travel with other compassionate souls which may turn into lifelong friends.  Click here to find out more and view the full itinerary of our life-changing vegan trips to Bali.

Vegan travel in Bali can be a little overwhelming but by joining one of our vegan Getaways, you will have an amazing vegan trip in Bali! Hopefully this vegan guide to Bali has shown that there are some incredibly accidentally vegan dishes. You can find wonderful vegan food in Ubud, Canggu and Seminyak. While you need to be careful of shrimp paste and fish it’s fairly easy to travel as a vegan in Bali. Every year, it’s getting easier and easier to travel on a plant-based diet!

Bali is a place full of adventure and culture as well as incredible plant-based food.  With a little bit of planning or by joining us on our Bali vegan Getaway, you will have an incredible vegan Bali holiday!

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