Vegan food tour in Thailand

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23 Feb 2019
£ 885
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Vegan food tour in Thailand

Environment

As a leading global tour operator in the responsible travel space each of our locally run small group adventures takes the environmental impact of tourism into serious consideration. Our new Vegan Food Adventures continue in this regard, while bringing a nuanced range of environmental and sustainably-minded issues to the fore.

Veganism is about more than just food, of course. It’s an entire movement, a shift away from animal products in general. The travellers on our Vegan Food Adventures may not necessarily be strictly vegan themselves, but may more generally prioritise health and wellness, as well as the environmental impact of industries catering to the production and distribution of animal products. As such we ensure that all produce is locally sourced en route, that we are going to locally owned restaurants and supporting local food producers and artisans with a focus on vegan and plant-based/non-animal venues and activities.

For these unique food advantures we’d of course love to offer trips that visit vegan hotels and use nothing but vegan alternatives to products such as leather, but the logistics of doing so make it impossible at this stage. Perhaps one day! For now, the focus of our vegan trips is of the epicurean variety – quality, local, authentic vegan cuisine done by those who do it best, in some of the most incredible places around the world.

In Thailand we connect travellers with local communities and growers engaging with plant-based foods, as with the included palm sugar demonstration in Bangkok. We learn about the production of palm sugar, an unrefined sweetener derived from the palm tree and rich in vitamins and minerals while shopping and tasting fresh local produce in Thailand’s incredible food markets.

In terms of animal welfare, it should be noted that during their time in Thailand travellers may encounter local people or organizations offering elephant rides. While we respect each individual’s decisions when travelling, we do not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for the Protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require, which heavily impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captively bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures.

Community

As with each of our food adventures you will not only enjoy the culinary but also the cultural highlights of your destination. You will discover not only the iconic sights of bustling Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north, but also taste the best and most authentic local vegan cuisine on offer throughout the country.

The itinerary includes a visit to the Mae Klong Railway Market in Kanchanaburi (approximately 1.5 hours from Bangkok), where fresh ingredients are sourced from local vendors and made to order vegan street foods such as Khanom Krok (coconut rice pancakes), grilled sticky rice stuffed with taro and classic vegetable spring rolls. By tasting your way through the market you will have an opportunity to not only sample a variety of dishes but to support local economies via each individual vendor whose specialty you enjoy. These grassroots ‘food crawls’ allow us to spread income around a number of local businesses.

One of the highlights of our Vegan Food Adventures is the opportunity to engage with local cooks and chefs and to learn their native cuisine in a hands-on way. Thailand is famous for its curries which come in a wide array of colours, styles and, of course, spice levels. Travellers will learn how to make a range of vegan curries – such as red, green, Massaman and Penang – from a local chef as well as classics like tom yum soup and pad thai before sitting down to a group meal and feasting on the day’s creations.

In Chiang Mai our team has sourced local restaurants specialising in both Northern Thai cooking and vegan preparations, so travellers can feel confident that their meals are being prepared by experts who understand vegan traditions. We also feature a homestay and cooking class outside of Chiang Mai where travellers can meet and dine with a local family. On the way we also stop at a mushroom farm where we’ll forage for the evening’s traditional Khantohk dinner – a multi-course affair of savoury and sweet preparations. The experience gives a unique cultural insight and enables us to support small, rural businesses.

Breakfasts at the homestay will delight vegan travellers and cereals featuring ingredients such as butterfly pea and sweet corn are a naturally sweet way to start the day. Bellies full you’ll head to the Warorot Market, one of Chiang Mai’s largest, to again engage with the rhythms of daily life in Northern Thailand, snacking throughout.

We maintain a commitment to employing local leaders and to increasing the number of female leaders across the business. On this Vegan Food Adventure we have sourced local leaders who are themselves either vegan or vegetarian with a working knowledge of various forms of veganism and related issues. This allows clear communication and understanding and also means that our leaders can navigate public spaces as a local and can certify when vendors are adhering to our responsible travel practices. They will even provide things like vegetable oil and soy milk along the way to ensure that our vegan travellers will be able to enjoy certain fried street foods and traditional dairy-based preparations without having to miss out on a thing!

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