I’ve traveled to Lombok from Bali, using the old slow ferry, and took a taxi to Kuta from the pier (Rp. 200.000 ~$13). While Bali’s dominant religion is Hindu, Lombok is almost entirely Muslim. And that makes a massive difference between the islands. That is why you can see and especially hear mosques everywhere. When booking accommodation always check how close you are to a mosque, because it can become very noisy.
Because of the earthquakes I didn’t have time to visit the all Island of Lombok just the south.
I stayed and used Kuta as a base, because has plenty of accommodation and food options. Although Kuta itself is a soulless place, quite dirty and unkept, where you are constantly harassed.
I arrived in Kuta, Lombok with low expectations after being in Bali, despite expecting better beaches I didn’t expect an unspoiled paradise and true to be said I didn’t got surprised.
Even though I still stuck around for a few days to explore the surrounding areas with a scooter. The roads west and east of Kuta have great views of the sea, but be prepared to pay a fee to go to all of them (fee Rp. 10.000 ~$0.70 ). One of my favourite parts about Lombok was actually just driving around.
On the mainland, there is a deserted feeling when you drive between towns the landscape is quite arid.
The Pantai Mawon beach was quite disappointing, very dirty and packed with children selling stuff, and groups of men staring. At one point a man got fire to a beautiful health palm tree on the beach just for fun. It wasn’t pleasant so we left.
Tampah beach has a slogan at the entrance saying ‘no Harassment beach’. When I saw the sign I tough, ok I can try and see if its true.
This beach is a peaceful, quiet and clean place with no vendors, we were not harassed there for once unlike on any other beach.
The fishing village east of Kuta is nothing special, but there is a nice beach called Tanjung Aan just before the village. For me the most beautiful stretch of beach in south Lombok.
What to do around Lombok
Despite the beach, Lombok also has many waterfalls, the Rinjani volcano, rice fields, markets and the option of going on a trip to one of the Gilis.
Rinjani volcano is for me probably the highlight of the island, the trek is picturesque, with impressive views of Bali, the Gilis, and beyond on a clear day.
Its still true that the island Lombok receives far fewer visitors than Bali but its far for being an untouched unspoiled place.
Before I went to Lombok I head to Padang Bai from Ubud, what took about 1.30h.
The sea had been rough during the previous weeks and there were no speed boats running. Plus Lombok was hit by a massive earthquake the week before.
When things seemed to start getting better and because I had the time, I decided to go and to Padang Bai and wait there.
Padang Bai is a small beach town and the port for public ferries and speedboats. I found the town itself quite ugly, dirty and a bit pushy towards tourists. Even with no boats running there were still people trying to sell tickets trying to convince you that there were boats running 🙂
Everything in town is within walking distance but to explore the surrounding area, you will need a motorbike. And there are many nice places around to visit.
How to get to Lombok
If you do some quick research you will see that not many people have good things to say about the transports between Bali to Lombok or the Gili by sea.
if you keep researching you will be slightly horrified at your options… at least I did…
First off, you should know that there are only three options, and none are great. Public ferry, speedboats and aeroplane.
They go from not being reliable, have poor safety records, do not follow International safety and operational standards, to be cancelled frequently. Plus the stretch of ocean between the islands is between 2,600 and 3,200 feet deep, so you definitely don’t want to sink here.
If you are thinking on getting a boat, stories and tales of sinking or nearly sinking, water pouring in through the windows, thoughts of jumping into rough seas, crying, screaming, mass panic, no lifejackets, no rescue boats, boats catching fire, and exploding … is all you have.
If you are planning to go by air
some Indonesian airlines are in the top 5 most dangerous airline in the world.. so choose wisely.
If you are going by boat I strongly advise you to consider weather conditions as a major factor of your journey. Install the APP WINDY – wind & waves forecast to check how the sea is before you go.
If you travel on a budget and you are a slow traveller, public ferries are the best option. I’ve paid RP.46,000 ($3) for a one-way ticket.
Just keep in mind that Padang Bai is full of touts, trying to sell you fake or super expensive tickets. Ignore all the attempts and make your way to the official ticket booth.
They say that the trip normally takes four hours, but it can be, and most of the time is considerably longer. Count with at least 5 to 6 hours, and if the sea is rough can take up to 10.
Ferries leave every hour or so although (24 hours a day) they are typically running on their own schedule and almost always delayed.
Safety is a big issue and the ferries have poor safety records.
Fast boats are the most popular option, but boat safety in Indonesia is a joke. You can find an endless supply of horrifying TripAdvisor reviews that are far away from encouraging.
There are multiple fast boat companies to choose from nowadays, the trick is trying to find the one that is safe and that in essence guarantees you a seat, as some companies overload their boats.
To avoid the choppy waters you can flight to Lombok but not to the Gilis, the flights are a quick 25 minutes.
Flying is the easiest and fastest way to get from Bali to Lombok and tickets are around $10-40.
Semarapuracommonly called by its old name, Klungkungis a regional capital, that impresses for the organization, cleanness and reasonably calm streets. The city was once the center of Bali‘s most important kingdom, and today is full of history.
Semarapura was a pleasant surprise, it’s a great place to stroll and get a feel for modern Balinese life. The markets are truly amazing and the food delicious.
Klungkung Palace is located in the center of the town and is a historic complex and relic of Bali from the time before the Dutch, sometimes called Taman Gili (island garden).
The palace dates from the 17th century but was largely destroyed during the Dutch colonial conquest in 1908. Today, some parts have been restored.
It’s possible to visit the Kertha Gosa Pavilion, the main gate and the Court of Justice. Within the palace, there is the Bale Kembang and a floating pavilion.
The floating pavilion and the ceilings of the Hall of Justice are decorated with incredible paintings done in the Kamasan style.
Expect to see monstrous statues, lily-covered pools of water, mythic creatures, pavilions filled with artwork and panels portraying the various forms of hellish punishment awaiting those who are found guilty in the afterlife.
How to get there: the best way is the rent a scooter (~Rp.60,000 $4 day) Semarapura is about 25 km south-east from Ubud.
Entrance Fee:Rp12,000/ adult ($0.79)
Dress Code: Sarong is required to enter the temple as parts of the site are considered holy.
Albi is small and relatively off-the-touristy radar town on the Tarn River in southern France, conveniently located about an hour northeast from Toulouse.
Despite its size, Albi is incredibly rich in history and charm. For me is without a doubt one of my favorite small town in France.
Albi is covered in red bricks, what gives this town a charming and distinctive aspect. The best way to visit Albi is by wandering around the historic center. Through the small cobblestone streets and alleyways near the river.
The Cathedral is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place will take your breath-way, it’s imposingly tall and has a distinctive look for the use of brick to construct its exterior. I personally, never came across a construction of this size made of bricks.
This incredibly beautiful Gothic Cathedral is located in the middle of the lovely charming plaza filled with cafes, boulangeries, and other stores.
I found the interior as impressive as the exterior.
Maison du Vieil Alby
The Maison du Vieil Alby is a brick-half-timbered house covered in red-bricks. This house is one of the oldest-surviving buildings in Albi.
A Catholic church with a small cozy cloister, perfect stop, to have a snack or to relax.
Palais de la Berbie
The Palais de la Berbie was a former Bishop’s Palace that serves today as an art museum dedicated to the artwork of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
The gardens behind it, are truly fantastic and the view of the Tarn River spectacular.
Old medieval bridge.
The special thing about the Albi bridge is that it’s also constructed with the same red brick from which all the buildings in the old town were made.
From the bridge, you get a great view over the rest of Albi and the city of Madeleine which is located on the other side of the bridge. The river itself is also quite pretty.
From the other side of town, you have excellent views of the cathedral and the the Pont Vieux along the Tarn River
It’s a small indoor marketplace, unfortunately with no vegan options.
where to stay and how to get there
Albi is a great place to visit but is really small. So its better to base yourself in the nearby big city of Toulouse and do Albi as a day trip. Toulouse as plenty of accommodation choices and Albi doesn’t.
Toulouse has plenty of hostels, hotels as well as a range of AirB&Bs to choose from.
Blabla car works really well in France and is a great way to meet local people.
More than answering the same questions over and over again from family and friends about my protein and iron deficiency, that plants also have feelings, and if I ‘don’t feel sorry for the lettuce’, I want to share here with you, the challenges and privileges of being a vegan traveler.
It is undeniable that it is much easier to be vegan in the comfort of my home and in my city where I already know all the markets, supermarkets, and shops, than on the road. Especially when I land in a place where I’ve never been before. Although this can bring excitement and an opportunity to discover new flavors! The “unknown” is part of the experience of traveling.
On top of the lack of knowledge of a new destination, few countries are known for having abundant vegan options. Probably only India will come to mind…
That said, I must add that I travel a lot and I never starved. Being a vegan traveler is not only possible but also very interesting!
Knowledge is power
Some countries are more vegetarian/vegan-friendly than others. So it is wise to do some research on the local cuisine before you leave.
Knowing what are the typical dishes and the common ingredients of the country, is quite important as well as culturally enriching. Everywhere in the world, there are foods that are naturally vegan, or almost vegan. With this knowledge in hand, you will know what dishes to order and what ingredients you can add, remove or replace.
The truth is that the Internet and travel guides make this task easy and fast.
When traveling by car, bus or train, it’s always better to take a packed lunch for the trip. If the trip is by plane, it’s important to order the meal when you buy the ticket. To date, all the airlines I have flown with offered vegan meals on long-haul flights at no additional cost (plus special meals are always served first 😉 )! Even so, since I’m a person that gets hungry easily and very often, I always carry lots of snacks like nuts, chocolate, bars, sandwiches, fresh fruit and protein balls.
When traveling to developed countries, it can’t be easier. The application HappyCowis awesome! You just need to write where you are and how many miles/ kilometers you can walk and the application gives a list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants close by. Then just follow Google Maps.
Unfortunately, this is not the reality everywhere. Many places are quite complicated, as is the case of Cuba, a safari in Kenya, Argentina or in the deserts of Mongolia. But even if it seems at first that it is going to be an impossible mission, you’re wrong, it is always possible.
Benefits of traveling as a vegan
For backpackers, and travelers that don’t go to the major resorts, where hygiene is probably somewhat similar to what we are accustomed to, there are always situations where the options are sparse and unappetizing.
When traveling to developing countries and getting off the touristic path in search of more remote and authentic places, the options scarce. True to be told that is a huge risk to eat meat or shellfish that is left to the flies on the roadside under the sun or from a shack without electricity. It seems to me that is always more encouraging to choose cooked vegetables and fruits that can be peeled.
On the other hand, I end up going to places that otherwise would never go, because that tourist restaurant located in the central square is not an option for me. I end up meeting lots of local people because I need to ask for informations and to explore well the cuisine of each country.
Meeting new people enriches any trip. Many have been the times that local people gave me a ride to what they considered to be the best restaurant in their city/village/town serving vegan food or walked with me to the place.
If I wasn’t a vegan I would never have discovered so many typical places off the beaten path. I would have lost lots of opportunities that allowed me to live and experience each place more authentically.
In the vast majority of big cities, it is usually easy to find vegan food, ( Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco, London, Toronto, Tel Aviv, Bengaluru, Chennai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Berlin, and Taipei), are some examples where it is extremely easy to stumble into an excellent vegan dish.
What I do not dispense
Regardless of the country I visit, I always travel with a small cabin luggage. So I can never carry a small switchblade or a knife with me, but it is one of the first purchases I make.
It is essential to have something sharp to peel and cut fruits and vegetables, and a spoon to eat some fruits such as papaya, dragon fruit, kiwi, passion fruit …
I have aTo-Go Ware Utensil Set, which contains a knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks all made from bamboo, and don’t worry the bamboo is very nice to eat from. The set is absolutely spectacular, really compact, light and easy to clean even on the road, I don’t go anywhere without it, I even take it to work. They’re very slim so it is easy to slip into my backpack. I can’t really recommend it enough.
Having a small backpack with you is also essential. Because you can carry snacks and water. What is not only a way to save money and time but also to keep you fed and healthy throughout the trip, of course, I do not dispense to have a good reusable water bottle. The plastic problem is real and we all need to do better choices as consumers.
My favorite ones are the ones from Vapur, they are absolutely fantastic. They roll up really well and can easily fit into the pocket on my backpack, or even into my pocket. They come with a carabiner attached which aids in keeping them compressed when rolled up, plus they don’t have any taste taint.
So for traveling, they are perfect, they come in deferent size and they are really light, great quality, BPA free and when empty the Anti-Bottle can be easily tucked away, conveniently fitting anywhere. For me is simply the most portable, reusable water bottle I know 🙂
Bar shampoo is another essential item for me. It is light, takes up little space, does not count as a liquid at the airports and lasts for a very long time.
To brush my teeth, I carry a toothbrush and toothpaste but also a miswak stick. Although I am not a fan of the taste, I make the ‘sacrifice’ when I am traveling. because the true is the miswakstick is veryconvenient, no toothpaste, no water, no rinse or spit, which means you can use it anywhere, anytime.
I’ve said goodbye to the sanitary pads and tampons many years ago, and when I’m traveling there are no exceptions. The menstrual cup is what I use all year round. Becauseis practical, and lightweight, and you can have the cup placed up to a maximum of 12 hours, so the issue of cleaning is not a big problem, as it can always be done at the end of the day when we are back to your accommodation.
Go to markets
Going to markets is not just a way of cultural immersion, but it is also a great place to buy and stock up on fresh fruit, sandwiches, vegetables, nut-butter, sweets, nuts and other vegan yummy goods.
Learn to speak the basics
From my experience, there are always vegan options everywhere, some better than others. In some countries to know how to speak English it’s enough, but in other countries, it’s imperative to know some keywords in the native language.
It is important to memorize them or to have them written on a piece of paper so you can explain what you are looking for.
Most of the time restaurants can fulfill our requests. It is important, however, to be patient and courteous, as not everyone knows what vegan or vegetarian means. I’ve lost count of the dishes that came with shrimps and chicken … So again being specific, patient and kind is the key.
Once in Borneo, I explained what I wanted. The waitress very attentive and friendly said: “yes, yes I know exactly what you want, don’t worry …“. When the dish arrived, I said: “But this has meat …”. To which she answered, confused: “that is not meat .., it’s chicken!” Well, another lesson learned!! Always be very specific. No meat, no chicken, no pork, no cow, no fish or shellfish, no prawns.. 😅
A great option is to buy a Vegan Passport. The booklet contains words and phrases that include the languages of over 96% of the world’s population and can be purchased on The Vegan Society page or you can download their app to your phone. The Vegan Passport works really well and has all situations covered. This will ensure that you have no problem explaining what you eat and what you don’t eat, no matter where you are in the world.
Where to sleep
Hostels and Airbnb are great options because they allow the use of the kitchen. As it is Couchsurfing where you can look for Vegan hosts. Some countries are starting to have 100% vegan accommodation, they are normally amazing but a bit pricey.
Follow vegan travel blogs
Following blogs from Vegan Travellers is one of the best ways to find good information. Because it is given by people with the same values than you and that have been before where you want to go and had explored how to have a plant-based diet in that country.
I hope this article will leave you a little bit more relaxed if you are going to embark on your first vegan adventure. The reality is that nothing is impossible, far from it.
All you need is a little bit of preparation and to follow my tips as of the other travelers who have been to the countries you want to go.
In practice, vegetables, fruits, cereals, grains, seeds, and legumes are everywhere with more or less abundance, diversity or accessibility.
Happy travels and a good appetite 🌿🚌 let me know if you have any questions, comments or tips.
Being a vegetarian/vegan in Portugal is not easy, especially if you are traveling relying mostly on restaurants and cafes.
The restaurants have usually 4 main options in their menu (not very vegan-friendly): appetizers, fish, meat, and desserts. however in most places you w,ill find a friendly Portuguese that will try to help you, and will create something with the things they have in the kitchen, you just need to explain correctly what you eat and don’t eat, otherwise you will almost for sure be served an omelet or a lettuce salad 🙂
Veganism and vegetarianism has been growing in the country since the last decade, and lots of new restaurants and cafes are popping in from north to south. To make your life easier I will leave a list of great places that you should try if visiting Portugal:
Along the Rhine, there are plenty of charming towns that will make you step back in time. Bacharach is undoubtedly for me, one of the prettiest of the Rhine villages.
The last time I visited Bacharach was in February, and I was lucky enough to have a snow day. This small German medieval town is definitely a must during any season, but you can’t deny that the snow adds a little something else.
Wondering through Bacharach by itself is already an amazing experience. Bacharach is a charming small town behind a 14th-century wall, with narrow cobblestone streets, and historic buildings with half-timbered mansions involved by imposing vineyards.
The Stahleck Castle marks it’s presence up from the hill, with a breathtaking view of the Rhine river.
There are several paths leading up to the castle and down to town. It can be a bit steep and slippery in places with the snow and the ice, but the views are worthy. The courtyard of the castle overlooks the Rhine and the valley of Lorelei.
The tiny Bacharach is easily reachable by train. The train journey stretches along the Rhine river, and the journey is simply amazing dotted with castles, vines and, small historical towns.
The Rhine Gorge is like something out of a fairytale with castles dotted as far as the eye can see, medieval towns, and great wine.
Personally, I recommend Bacharach as a day out. Because there will be more and better options for accommodation and food elsewhere, plus the train journey is easy, comfortable and the views a delight.
If you do decide to overnight, there are plenty of options including the castle. Yes! it’s true, they transformed the 12th century fortified castle into a hostel.
Being a vegan in Singapore is just pure heaven, you can find lots of great options anywhere.
In December 2016 Peta named Singapore the second most friendly vegan city in Asia, so that should mean something 😀
Singapore’s food combines Chinese, Malay, Indian, Western influences, Japanese and Thai, and is rich in vegetarian options. For me the best places were the hawker centres (food-courts), they are easy to find and have a bit of everything from fruit juices, smoothies made with local and exotic fruit, desserts, pure vegan meals and even raw vegan. You will be able to taste all cuisines, from 4$-12$ per meal. You can also look for Indian and vegetarian Chinese restaurants often serving up amazing vegan options.
If you eat in a non-vegetarian restaurant be aware that dishes that appear vegetarian on the menu may contain oyster sauce, salted fish, etc. just check with the staff first.
Here are some places that I recommend for having great delicious and affordable food. Remember that healthy dishes that require a lot of efforts and innovation often come with large bills 🙂
Circuit Road Food Centrehas many vegetarian food stalls; here you can try the vegan versions of local dishes such as tahu goreng, satay, briyani rice, nasi lemak (coconut rice), hor fun, chicken rice, laksa, etc.
Fortune Centre at Bugis has many great vegan eateries and more options outside the centre.
Redhill Market and Food Centre – vegetarian cuisine is popular at this food centre, try the Bee Hoon with mock Char Siew from the Ru Yi Yuan Vegetarian Food.
Kim San Leng Food Centre
Bendemeer Market and Food Centre
(many veg food stalls tend to be closed on Monday)
restaurants / eateries:
Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant (Little India) has a very extensive menu (about 400 items of which three-quarters are listed as vegan) and you can sample Indian, Chinese, international and local dishes and desserts all under one roof.
Divine Realm Vegetarian Restaurant– Chinese vegetarian
Nature Vegetarian Delights– Chinese vegetarian restaurant
Xing Hua Vegetarian Restaurant. It’s a Chinese restaurant serving mainly mock-meats
Yi xin vegetarian– the best in china town
Zen Fut Sai Kai Vegetarian Restaurant
Genesis vegan Restaurant
Green Leaf Cafe – Little India.
Veggie King International Buffet
Steamboat Restaurantfor international, regional (Japanese, Korean, Thai) and local buffet dishes which include desserts.
Fill-a-Pita-Middle Eastern vegetarian food.
vegetarians from West-side: Hua Jin Vegetarian Family Restaurant and Tanaka Vegetarian Food
Japanese vegetarian food (a bit pricey) Bespoke Japanese Vegetarian Dining and Herbivore
For vegan burgers you have: Vegan Burgand thenomVnom
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, theSingapore Buddhist Lodge and the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery serve vegetarian food.
Tips: Keep an eye out for the Singapore Food Festival, held every year in July.