Hoi An, Vietnam, is considered to be the most photogenic city in all of Vietnam. It’s not hard to see why – there is amazing architecture, a river running through the city, and lanterns that light up the streets by night. This is Hoi An, Vietnam : A Photo Diary.

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An, Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Let’s start off the photo roll with the absolutely adorable airbnb that I stayed in, called La Terrazza. [Pro tip: get $35 NZD off your first trip with Airbnb here!]

Hoi An, Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Next: a girl’s gotta have wheels!

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

You better believe that the first place I took that bike was to the beach. I love a good beach day! Instead of hitting up the uber-crowded, “tourist beach,” I drove the motorbike about 30 mins north, toward the white sand beaches of Da Nang. But, I didn’t make it all the way to the city before finding this deserted gem.

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

After a relaxing day in the sun, I made sure to check out what the city of Hoi An has to offer for magic hour.

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Sunset is when the city truly comes alive.

I ate loads of smoothie bowls and drank alllll the coffee to stay alive & thrive. (Highly recommend Rosie’s Cafe).

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

I made sure to check out the local temples.

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

And the ruins of the ancient city, My Son.

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

I took the bike for another spin up to Marble Mountain (where there is actually marble all over the ground… it’s slippery).

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Then I went for a little spin of my own under the lanterns of the city.

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An Vietnam : A Photo Diary

Hoi An, I think I love you. <3

Hoi An is by far one of my favorite cities in Vietnam. If you make your way to this beautiful country, make sure Hoi An is on the top of your list! Tell Rosie’s I say hi 😉

This was Hoi An, Vietnam : A Photo Diary.

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I arrived in Vietnam having no idea what to expect as a vegan. I’ve heard omnivores rave about the amazing food in Vietnam. Luckily, upon doing a simple google search, I found loads of vegetarian and vegan restaurants to try out. This is the best vegan food in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

Best Vegan Food in Hanoi

In Hanoi, you’ll find vegan food of all price ranges – I ate at a vegan street food vendor for $1.14 (or 35,000 Vietnamese Dong), and I ate at a super high end fancy vegan restaurant for $14 USD (or 335,000 Vietnamese Dong). These are my favorite places to eat the best vegan food in Hanoi.

Uu Dam Chay

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

This is by far the best meal I’ve eaten in Hanoi, and one of the top 3 meals I’ve eaten in my life. It’s that good. This is one of the more expensive meals you’ll eat in Vietnam, but it is completely 10000% worth it. I was hesitant about eating here at first, as I try to be budget-friendly, but after reading the reviews, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

I ordered a kiwi mojito to drink (I don’t know if they put alcohol in it, but I asked for it non-alcoholic), a seaweed salad to start, and a tofu stuffed tomato for the main. The portions were perfect to fill me up. The flavor was absolutely perfect. I can’t even describe in words how amazing this food was.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

The best part about this whole experience was that I left feeling completely satisfied, not overly full or gross feeling. (Sometimes when eating abroad I feel a bit bloated from too much oil or processed food). I loved this place so much, I would come back to Vietnam just to eat here again.

Jalus Vegan Restaurant

When you google search Best Vegan Food in Hanoi, Jalus is one of the first to pop up. It’s well-known, and for good reason. Jalus offers a menu full of fresh, tasty vegan food.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

I ordered a spicy potato curry and a kombucha. The curry was so good, I devoured it super quickly. The kombucha was served at room temperature, which I wasn’t used to. I had a hard time drinking it, being used to really cold kombuchas. The service was amazing here and the food was tasty and wholesome.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

I came back later in the week to try the lentil stew (highly recommend) and the sweet potato and chickpea burger (pictured). The burger was suuuuper filling, which was perfect as I was about to embark on a 15 hour train ride. I’d definitely recommend Jalus.

Hanoi Social Club

Though not a vegan restaurant, Hanoi Social club has lots of vegan options. This restaurant is stationed in a remodeled 100 year old villa. The decor is absolutely enchanting. They are open early for breakfast, which is the meal I came for every time I stopped in.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

My favorite dish here is the black rice and chia pudding. If you’re a coffee snob, try the cold brew – it’s the most intense cold brew coffee I’ve ever had!

Minh Chay

Also in the Old Quarter, Minh Chay is a Vietnamese restaurant that is completely vegan. Serving up pho, vietnamese noodles, spring rolls, and lots of other local Vietnamese dishes made vegan, Minh Chay even offers fake meats to make the dishes authentic.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

I loved the Vegan Old Quarter Snail Vermicelli Noodle Soup (pictured), and the Vegan Mixed Glass Noodles. They offer amazing spring rolls and lots of other goodies, including western food. I highly recommend making a stop in.

Banh Mi Chay

If it’s a truly local experience you’re after, look no further than Banh Mi Chay. I found this place online – it’s a completely vegan, local restaurant. It’s not easy to find from the street. I added the address 66B Tran Hung Dao to google maps and walked past it a few times before I saw the sign.

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

Best Vegan Food Hanoi : Vegan Restaurants

There are only three things on the menu. You can try a vegan Banh Mi, a pillow donut (aka a local samosa), or fried spring rolls. I just ordered one of everything and tried it out. It was all amazing! And the total for the meal came up to 35,000 dong (which is $1.14 USD). This is what Vietnam is all about.

The vegan food scene in Hanoi is insane. If you check out Happy Cow, you’ll see that there are ninety-five vegan-friendly restaurants in Hanoi. It could take months to try them all! These were my favorites out of the ones I tried.

Would you try vegan Vietnamese food??

If you like my Best Vegan Food City guides, check out other destinations I’ve reviewed!

 

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Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you are considering a trip to Thailand, you can’t leave out a visit to play with elephants outside of Chiang Mai. I’ve been to Chiang Mai twice, visiting the elephants both times, and each time that was the highlight of my trip. Elephants are the sweetest and most playful creatures, and spending a day with them is guaranteed to become a memory you’ll never forget.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

The sad truth about elephants in Thailand is that so many places will torture and abuse the elephants to make it possible for the elephants to be ridden. An elephant’s spine is not naturally strong enough to carry a little hut for humans to ride in, and they have to go through so much pain and abuse to be able to carry those.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

If you’d like to visit and play with elephants without contributing to their abuse, I would highly recommend visiting a sanctuary! I’ve visited two elephant sanctuaries, my favorite being Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai Thailand

When you book a trip with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, you’ll have the opportunity to play with elephants in a loving and caring environment. You’ll have the chance to feed them bananas and sugarcane (their favorite!), pet them, bathe them, and take loads of photos with them. These elephants have been rescued from the abusive environments of parks, and now have a loving home.

You get the option of many different tour packages with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, the most common being a half day or full day. You can even stay multiple days if you have the time! I opted for the half day, but that quickly became a regret, as I only was with the elephants for a few hours (the park is about an hour and a half drive outside of Chiang Mai). I would recommend splurging on the full day tour (still only about $70 USD). The tours usually include a ride to and from the park, and a meal, plus a couple bottles of water per person.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

The elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary are well taken care of and happy – you can see it on their faces. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I highly recommend booking a tour with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary!

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

For more info on Chiang Mai (and to see why I made it my home for three months!), check out my Ultimate Guide to Chiang Mai.

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A Yoga Retreat in Bali: Shanti Toya Ashram

After a very busy couple of months at the beginning of this year, I already needed a break. I decided to gift myself with a calming yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali. I found a room on Airbnb at an yoga ashram, and booked myself in for the week.

rice paddy terrace ubud bali

ubud rice paddies bali yoga retreat

When I got to the ashram, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was in the middle of the jungle and it was incredibly natural and stunningly beautiful. The little plot of land had stone walkways, a little collection of buildings housing the rooms, an adorable communal dining hall, and an outside yoga studio. I scored the budget room at the yoga retreat, coming in at $10 a night, which included two yoga classes a day, 2-3 activities a day, and breakfast (with balinese coffee!!) in the morning. The room was simple with a detached bathroom, and was an incredible value for what I paid.

bali yoga retreat

rice paddies ubud bali ashram

relaxing bali ubud retreat

I spent my days eating breakfast with the other retreaters, getting to know each other. We would sit at the dining tables and chat for hours over coffee, fruit, and oatmeal. After breakfast, I would try to fit in some pool time if I could. How could I resist this?!

bali yoga retreat

yoga bali indonesia

yoga retreat bali ashram ubud

After working on my tan, I’d head back up to the dining hall for lunch. All meals were made at the ashram by some adorable local women, and I could choose to eat breakfast and lunch there for 50,000 rupiah per meal, which is about $5 USD. All the food was vegetarian, and about 95% of it was vegan. After lunch, I would either work a bit or head off to one of the activities. Over the week, I learned how to dance Balinese style, I did my first Satya (like a group therapy truth circle situation), I took an intro to massage class. I watched sunsets over rice paddies, took a trip to a waterfall and an incredible temple (separate post coming), and got to know people from different countries and cultures. I learned how to say thank you in Balinese, and I heard truly inspiring stories of how the people there came to be at the ashram.

sunset bali indonesia

shanti toya ashram group photo bali

jungle bali indonesia retreat ubud

The yoga classes were so much fun, and I got to learn and work on poses that I’d never tried before. I had never been to a yoga class where I’ve laughed so hard, where I’ve fallen on my neck, and where I’ve mastered poses that I didn’t know I could do.

yoga in ubud, bali shanti toya ashram

Shanti Toya Ashram is about 30 mins by motorbike outside of Ubud, Bali. It’s possible to rent a motorbike from the ashram and head into Ubud if you’d like to explore, but I chose to stay at the ashram mainly and spend a few days in Ubud following the retreat. If you’d like to do the all-inclusive version of the yoga retreat (including all meals and one free coconut a day, plus an upgraded room), the cost is between $30-$40 USD per night (or you can book the Airbnb that I stayed in here).

motorcycle scooter rentals ubud bali

bali coconut indonesia rice paddies

It was so amazing to feel connected to nature again and let my inner hippy come out a bit. I walked around barefoot, lived in my bathing suit, and lived off fruit, coffee, rice, tempeh, and vegetables for the week. Living in such a simple way can truly help reset the mind and did wonders for my mental state. I highly recommend checking out a yoga ashram while in Bali!

rice paddy ubud bali

buddha shanti toya ashram bali

yoga retreat ubud bali

[This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. I paid for my stay at the retreat and was not asked to provide a review, the owners had no idea that I was a travel blogger 😉 #incognito]

 

 

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Where To Stay and What to Eat In Bali: Sanur

Wondering where to stay in Bali? I recently spent a week in the adorable little town of Sanur, where I booked an adorable airbnb. Sanur is a great spot for digital nomads, vacationers, or anyone looking for a place to spend some time relaxing in Bali.

If you know me, you know that I LOVE driving motorbikes. This little place that I booked was remote enough to warrant a necessary motorbike rental for the week. I rented one from my airbnb host for 50,000 Indonesian rupiah per day, which is $5 AUD or $3.50 USD per day.

I spent the week driving the motorbike and discovering new restaurants.

My favorite vegan-friendly restaurants in Sanur are:

Malaika Secret Moksha

I ate here nearly every day. The owner is an incredible gourmet chef. They have a vegan menu, which is only one page out of the maybe 10-page menu, but everything I tried on the veg menu was amazing. Definitely go for breakfast and get the coconut granola, and also you must try the Balinese coffee.

Nalu Bowls

I am not sure if this one counts, since I actually drove about half an hour away (all the way to Seminyak) to try this place out. I’ve been following them on Instagram for a year now and was so excited to have my very own Nalu bowl, I went there the first day I was in Bali. It cost about $7 USD; totally worth it. All of their bowls look absolutely incredible, and it’s a really cute place to hang out. They have locations all over Bali and I highly recommend trying them out at least once!

Bali Buddha

Good for smoothies and raw foods, also THEY HAVE COLD BREW COFFEE. Heads up, they don’t have wifi at their Sanur location. They are a chain and have other locations throughout Bali.

Genius Cafe

Great for beach vibes. Located right along the beach, this is a fab place to watch the sunset with a coconut or a raw dessert. They have loads of vegan options but also cater to omnivores. It’s not cheap, but the quality is good.

Tasty Vegan

This place was hidden along the main road. This is where I found vegan versions of local Balinese food, and tried the national dish, nasi goreng. It was good, but a little oily for my taste 🙂

If you are in Sanur and looking to get your Facetime on, the best wifi I found was located at this adorable little coffee shop that was hidden down a little alley – it was called Dusk Blue.

I definitely recommend Sanur for part of your stay in Bali, but there are so many great places to stay in Bali that I’d recommend going to a few if you can!

how cute are the local kids?! 

sunsets outside of Genius Cafe

 

 

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