When you think of traveling to Thailand, Bangkok will undoubtedly be on your list of places to explore. But why not stray away from the usual EDM, flashing lights and obliterated drunk traveller-infested Khao San Road that so many people are so quick to recommend?
I took a cooking class at The Thai Farm Cooking School in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. The main reasons why I picked this specific school over all the other ones is because they offered the opportunity to veganized everything on the menu and because their farm is fully organic. I had an amazing day, made all of the vegan Thai curry recipe, and met tons of other fun, food-loving travellers! I can’t recommend this day out enough if you happen to be in Chiang Mai.
Remember Myst, the 90s computer game set in a beautiful fantasy world where you could get lost in the different “ages” and discover all sorts of magical stuff for hours on end? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am here today to tell you that I have found the island of Myst: it is in Bangkok, Thailand, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River in what is dubbed “The Green Lungs of Bangkok”. Not only that, but it also has an enchanted tree house where I got to spend a few days – an eco-friendly project crafted out of sustainable and reclaimed materials amidst the jungle, a mere seven or eight km away from the downtown core of Bangkok.
Bangkok is possibly the city I commuted through the most during my time in Asia, yet I haven’t really talked about it much. I love Bangkok. And I love how vegan Bangkok is – just search for the little red on yellow “jay” flag at the entrance of cafeteria-style Buddhist eateries. These are convenient and cheap and sometimes delicious, but their emphasis isn’t on health and great ingredients – most of the time you’ll find MSG-laden overcooked slop. What really started exciting me, as well as all the fantastic rooftop bars in Bangkok, is the sheer quantity of hip, health-minded and vegan friendly or even vegan-only eateries that offer a slightly more upscale dining experience and deliver an extensive and exciting range of cuisine putting forth quality organic ingredients and innovative cooking styles.
As it’s the biggest city in Northern Thailand, finding the best hostels Chiang Mai has to offer might be an overwhelming task because of the endless choices out there.
Tucked in the backpacking wonderland of Thailand, the mountainous city of Chiang Mai is a no-brainer spot if you want to experience the fusion of traditional and contemporary the country has to offer. Chiang Mai never runs out of hole-in-the-wall eats, excellent markets, beautiful temples, and local activities like cooking classes that will further acquaint you with Thailand’s way of life. Despite all the modern changes it welcomes, Chiang Mai has always been a piece of serenity in Thailand. Not to mention that it has an affordable cost of living that makes it all the more enticing for any type of traveller, especially the digital nomads.
One reason I was so keen to return to Chiang Mai is the vegan food.
What’s so great about Chiang Mai vegan food is the selection on offer. There are vegan and vegetarian restaurants elsewhere in Thailand, but they generally are your standard “Jay” (a Buddhist form of veganism) lunch buffet and are not always amazing. Sometimes they are. But I didn’t visit any of those whilst in Chiang Mai, because they can be found everywhere else. Instead I went for the organic farm to table, Japanese macrobiotic, healthy salad bar concepts and all the different and original options in-between, because they truly are what make Vegan Chiang Mai so special.
Koh Phangan swallowed me whole yet again with its beautiful vistas, beaches, yoga, food and everything that comes with it. This was my fourth time on the island and it was as good as ever. You can read the story of how I fell in love with the place here. For now though, let’s talk vegan Koh Phangan! (And right this way if you want to read about the best beaches of Koh Phangan).
I knew Ashtanga was going to be a challenge. I knew because I had already tried and failed not that long ago, at a time where I wasn’t mentally prepared. One thing you may not know about me, if you aren’t so close to me or haven’t been a reader of many years, is that the last three years were the most difficult of my life. A heartbreak lead me first to great heights, with a powerful adrenaline rush that propelled me from Kuala Lumpur to Berlin by bicycle on almost a single breath. But arriving in Berlin was an entirely different story. I fell from high up into the depth of a depression, something I hadn’t before experienced and that I have been a little shy of discussing here.
There are many places in South East Asia that have become synonymous with the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle – ditching the regular nine-to-five to work remotely or bootstrap a new business from a warmer climate, with a much lower cost of living and even better quality of life. We visited Chiang Mai last year and loved the city for its culture and easy way of life, and it always stayed in the back of our minds that if there was one place in Asia we’d be happy to put down some roots and live, this was the it.