Tag: thailand

By Christy Morgan

After spending time on the beautiful island of Ko Phangan I headed to Bangkok to visit friends and spend the last 2 weeks of my time in Asia in the big city. I was a little leery of doing this I’ll admit, because when I visited in 2010 & 2011 Bangkok didn’t leave a great impression on me. At that time there were riots, political unrest, crime, and the streets were dirty and smelly. You couldn’t walk five feet without being harassed on the street. Horror stories were found everywhere online by travelers and backpackers alike.

This time when I arrived at the Bangkok airport no one harassed me and no taxi driver tried to rip me off. There wasn’t a huge crowd of men standing right outside the exit yelling “taxi, taxi, miss where you want to go, need a taxi”. I simply walked up to a machine, printed out a ticket that corresponded to a parking spot where my taxi driver waited for me. He helped me with my bag, and away we went, with the meter on, and the air con blasting. It was a breeze.

I got in very late, so the next morning I hit the streets to do some exploring. Do not go to Bangkok in April/May unless you love heat and humidity. It was already 90 degrees at 8am. Being from Texas I should be used to this kind of weather, but it’s not ideal for walking around a big city.

But this post is about what I love about Bangkok so let’s move on to the fun stuff!

veganerietreats

No travel article would be complete without talking about the amazing vegan food found in the bustling city of Bangkok. This being my third trip there I focused on food more than doing the sites, visiting temples, and other touristy things. Thailand is of course known for it’s delicious food, but the vegan options have especially exploded over the last few years. I was staying with a dear friend and cooking most of my meals at home, but there was no way I could come to Thailand and not try the vegan options. I stayed in the Sukhumvit area of town and visited that general area when trying new restaurants. I didn’t visit any of my old favorites from previous trips like May Kaidee and Khun Churn. 

The place I visited most was Veganerie Concept. The first time there I had the chicken and waffles. This did not disappoint. Not only is the food heavenly the space is gorgeously designed, hip, modern, with vegan signs and motivating words all over the walls. The staff is super friendly too. 

You will drool looking over the desserts, drinks, and shakes menu at Veganerie. It’s a bit on the expensive side but it’s worth every penny. I highly recommend the strawberry cheesecake shake and the brownie ice cream sundae seen above! 

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Bangkok is known for it’s malls upon malls. I’ve never seen so many malls in my life. And every mall has a huge food court with cheap food stalls. In most malls you will have at least one “jay” stall that has vegan and vegetarian Thai food. This is hands down the best deal in town. Rice with 2 or 3 entrees will be only 30-50 baht or $1-2 USD. There’s always a row of different items to choose from and you can add a spring roll like I did above. The way to order at these food courts is to get a card from the main register and hand it to the stall when ordering your food.

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Another hit was May Veggie Home. I wish I would have eaten here more because their menu is HUGE. This is a vegan restaurant with some creative dishes across all Asian cultures. We started with Thai iced tea using coconut milk instead of condensed milk. Then we had the bacon wrapped mushrooms (I wasn’t a fan of personally), the tea leaf salad (shown above, which was amazingly flavorful), and some other special appetizer that I can’t remember. My friend Brighde got a big steamy bowl of Khao Soi (which made me jealous because it was soooo good) and I had some veggie stir-fry thing. I can’t remember if we got dessert but they do have vegan ice cream that you must try!

bangkokactivism

I visited a new kid on the block for a vegan Meetup and had the most delicious vegan pancakes. Broccoli Revolution is beautifully designed having two floors with enough seating to take your computer and work for a couple of hours. We had a group of about 12 for our meetup. Later that week I went to another Meetup at Veganerie that Brighde hosted to discuss different ways to use activism for the local Thai people. It was a blast getting to meet local vegans and brainstorm with them. I’m so proud of my friend Brighde who created vegan brochures in Thai to put around town.

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Most the time in Bangkok I made my own meals like the beautiful taco salad shown above. Produce is fairly cheap and many stores have every sort of product you would find back home. So if you are missing your favorite snack food, chocolate, cereal, vegan cheese, whatever, I bet you can find it at one of the fancier grocery stores. For a price! 

Bangkok is a vegan foodie heaven. It’s loud and crazy, but the food is enough of a reason to stop in for a few days.



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by Christy Morgan

You want to go to Thailand and visit it’s pristine beaches, but you are a health-minded person. You are into yoga and healthy food, and have no interest in getting wasted or having sweaty Europeans rubbing up against you in a hot club. If you are anything like me you travel to see the world and have experiences not to party.

Ko Phangan is famous for it’s crazy Full Moon Party. I was on the island for 8 days and had the most brilliant time never stepping foot in Haad Rin or swinging glow sticks on the beach. Granted, a little part of me did want to see what the fuss was all about, but I just couldn’t be bothered. Call me old or uncool if you will, but I didn’t want to miss my morning yoga class. You can see where my priorities are when traveling. I chose to go to Ko Phangan because I heard one little part of the island was a heaven for yoga and healthy food.

Srithanu

Srithanu is found on the northwest side of the island far, far away from the party area. It’s somewhere a vegetarian, vegan, or yogi would want to plant some roots. I fell in love with this little area of the island for many reason. Today I share my top 5 reasons to visit the island if you  care about your health and well-being and aren’t interested in partying much.

It’s Cheap

Thailand is known for being inexpensive but the islands tend to be more touristy and pricey. Thankfully, you can easily stay in Srithanu for $25 a day backpacker style (for a room, food, & scooter) or splurge a little and have 5 star luxury at $50 a day. Fruit is abundant and cheap for breakfast. Thai food is easily found for under $3 a meal in shacks set up along the road. Accommodations range from hostels at Shiralea Backpackers (only 200 baht/$6 USD for 8 bed dorm with air con and share bathroom) to the beautiful Phangan Akuna (where I stayed in a private bungalow with a friend for 1300 baht/$37 USD). I scored a scooter for the week for 800 baht (about $3.35 USD a day), found free yoga classes (see below) and even my fanciest meal cost around $10 USD. Things would be even cheaper if you stayed for a month at a place with a kitchen. All of this makes it a dream for a short vacation or a longer stay.

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There’s Beautiful Beaches

Sure, you can find beautiful beaches all over the world, but the water is so crystal clear it’s the ultimate diving and snorkeling destination. Just look at that blue water and sandy beach! I love how it has layers of the most beautiful greens and blues as you look out into the ocean. We went on a half-day snorkeling trip (900 baht/$25 USD including pickup, lunch, drinks, and equipment) around the northwest side of the island and I was shocked at how clear and lovely the water is. If you go during hot season the tides may be low and the water right off the beaches will be hot, but the further you go out the cooler the water will get. I definitely recommend getting out on a boat if you can!

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Abundant Yoga Classes

Within 3 kilometers there are six beautiful yoga studios where you can take yoga classes of all styles. I tried classes at Samma Karuna, Orion, Gaia, Agama, and Ananda Wellness Resort, but missed Sunny Yoga. Each studio is unique, with experienced teachers and every style of yoga imaginable throughout the day. Almost all are open air studios (many with mosquito netting) that can get pretty hot so be sure to wear appropriate clothing, bring a towel and a full water bottle. Most have drop-in rates at 300 baht ($8.50 USD), or 5/10 class passes at a discount. Agama and Gaia let you take your first class for free!

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Vegan Food Galore

If you are looking for healthy fare Srithanu area of Ko Phangan is where it’s at! This is what drew me to the island; a quick glance at HappyCow shows an abundant amount of choices. From those cheap Thai shacks on the side of the road where you can get pad thai for $1.50 to fancier vegan cafes where you might spend $8-12, everything you could ever want is here. Check out this comprehensive blog post from Mostly Amelie and I share my favorite meals here on my personal blog.

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It’s Quiet & Relaxed

Even though Ko Phangan is known as a party island, I found the north/west side of the island to be quiet and secluded. Granted I was there in April during low season, but I’m guessing that area is often a little slower than Haad Rin and Thongsala. I felt totally comfortable driving a scooter around and had no fear of crashing (like I did while in Canggu, Bali). If you are in town during the full moon party it does get busier during that time and hotel prices go up so keep that in mind. But other times are the month are super chill!

Have you been to Ko Phangan? What is your favorite thing about the island? Share with us in the comments below!

 


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by Christy Morgan

The infamous best meal you’ve ever had question. Being a chef I often get this question. It’s like choosing your favorite child. It’s near impossible. Especially for foodies like us vegans.

When asked to do an interview for The Vegan Word, this question undoubtedly came up. I thought to myself long and hard, then chose something unique that also had a special place in my travels. My new friend Brighde had taken me under her wing in sweaty, smelly Bangkok 5 years ago. I was there working on a Southeast Asian cookbook with May Kaidee. Having a vegan friend there during those two months contributed to my happiness and ability to survive such a grueling town.

She introduced me to Miang Kham.miangkham

You get this tray of little bowls filled with awesomeness (you can also find it in baggies on the street!). The name means “eating many things in one bite”. You take a herb leaf and fill it with these things, top with sauce, and it’s heaven in your mouth. It usually comes with little dried shrimp so be sure to ask for something else or to leave that off your platter.

This is just one of the many amazing vegan meals you can find in Thailand. Vegan Food Quest has an epic post with some of the best (including their miang kham featured in the image to the right)! Check it out here.

To be especially annoying we turned the tables and ask the favorite meal question to some of our vegan travel blogger friends. Here’s what they had to say!

Do you have a favorite meal you’ve had while traveling the world? Tell us all about it in the comments! 

burger

Caryl and Paul from Vegan Food Quest

Caryl has been vegan for over 12 years and me for nearly 2 years so that is over 15 thousand plant-based meals to choose from! We love everything from simple street food to exquisite fine dining so picking our favourite is impossible; however, we love burgers and this delicious plant-based burger at Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam was pretty special (pictured).

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Amanda from Burger Abroad

Here’s where I’m supposed to say a salad, but I’m a huge sucker for vegan comfort foods, especially pizza. I recently found the best vegan pizza in Brighton, England at Pizzaface (pictured). They made a delicious vegan cheese pizza with sour cream, sausage and rocket on top. Amazingly good.

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Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

I’ll go with the sushi at Pirata in Vienna (pictured). Before I became vegan, sushi was my favourite food of all time. If I’d been told I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, I would have chosen sushi. While the sushi I ate almost always contained fish, I now realize that what I really loved (and still love) about sushi were all the plant-based flavours the fish was wrapped up in – the pickled ginger, the spicy wasabi, the salty nori and the slightly sweet rice. Unfortunately, vegan options in sushi restaurants where I live tend to be limited to rather boring cucumber rolls. That’s why I was thrilled to find out about Pirata – a fish-free sushi restaurant in Vienna! They make really creative sushi rolls; my favourite was the mango and avocado with sesame seeds. Yum!

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Caitlin from The Vegan Word

I was lucky enough to have a 9-course gourmet meal at an upscale Japanese-style vegetarian restaurant in Taipei, Yu Shan Ge. All for under $30! Of course, in local currency that’s quite a lot. The restaurant is apparently frequented by a lot of local celebrities. The food was phenomenal and I’ve never experienced service like that. I had a private waiter to myself!

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Amelia from Plant-Powered Nomad

The one that stands out maybe isn’t the most culinarily extraordinary, but it’s one that shows just how easy travelling as a vegan and finding amazing meals can be. I was with another vegan friend at the time visiting Alishan mountain in Taiwan. It’s utterly beautiful, but we were staying in a tiny village with incredibly limited food options. Chancing our luck we wandered into a restaurant and asked the man (in Chinese) whether there were any vegan options. He pointed out several and so we took them all. We ended up with bamboo shoots, tea noodles, and wasabi tofu which somewhat stole the show. It was incredibly simple, and yet fresh and delicious. It combined the traditional Chinese culture of Taiwan with the Japanese influence left in Alishan: the area is renowned for its wasabi growing.

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Kristin from Will Travel For Vegan Food

I don’t think I have ONE favorite meal but many, many, many good ones. Which is a good thing, for sure. If I had to choose one to highlight here though it would be the ice cream sundae from Portobello in Portland, OR. Not sure if it counts as a “meal” per say, haha but it’s my favorite because at the time I’d never had ice cream that was so rich and creamy. They topped it with whipped cream and it had a chocolate cake base filled with chocolate syrup. Ugh, it was so good. Plus, I got to enjoy it with my parents which made it extra special. Actually, we each got our own because…yeah.

I don’t know about you but my mouth is watering! Thanks to everyone for sharing this delicious food with us! One of my favorite things about traveling is trying all the beautiful, compassionate food around the globe. Each place has it’s own unique flavors, textures, and presentation. Eating is probably the best thing about traveling actually! Do you agree?

Do you have a favorite meal you’ve had while traveling the world? Tell us all about it in the comments! 



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