This adventure blog focuses on meditation, yoga and health while traveling. If you wanted a little more self love in your life, this site is a good place to start. Jane & Stephen have lived in six different countries during the last 20 years and have camped, biked, hiked, kayaked and travelled in more than 42 countries.
While it is possible to stay vegan in Thailand, finding vegan food is not always easy. There seems to be meat everywhere you look! Read this guide for help finding delicious animal-friendly food on your Thai adventures.
Let’s just say this from the outset — Thailand is not a great place for vegan travel.
This came as a huge surprise to us our first time in Thailand.
In Los Angeles, where we had been living, almost every mini-mall had a vegan Thai restaurant. And the omnivore Thai restaurants all had a vegetarian section on the menu.
Because of that, we thought animal free food would be normal in Thailand.
Nope. Not so. Despite the Buddhist culture, which has non-harming as one of its core principles, eating can be hard for a vegan in Thailand.
Of course, Bangkok and Chiang Mai have lots of Western-style vegan restaurants. In other tourist destinations, you’ll find vegan options offered by savvy restaurant owners who know they’ll get more customers that way.
Thailand can be tough for vegans. Even the vegetarian food relies heavily on eggs.
But, for the most part, vegan food is still something for which you have to plan ahead, search (sometimes far and wide), and make special arrangements. Especially if you want to get off the beaten track, you are in for a challenge.
So, read on for our…
15 Tips for Finding Animal Friendly Food in Thailand
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Let’s start with the bad news. These are the challenges you’ll face and our tips on what to look out for while trying to find vegan food in Thailand.
1. Where’s the Meat?
The answer to this question is: everywhere!
Most Thai people do understand the concept of veganism since, traditionally, Buddhists kept a vegan diet. Devout Thai Buddhist still eat vegan and some Thais observe the tradition a couple of times a month.
And yet, somehow, that concept lives happily alongside the completely contradictory idea that a meal is not complete without meat.
During our Thai cooking class, we learned that vegetables are considered decoration in Thai meals, while meat is the centrepiece around which everything else is built.
Luckily, most Thai dishes can be easily customized for vegans, so at least when it’s available, the vegan food in Thailand is delicious.
2. Fish Sauce is Swimming in My Soup
Even if they take the meat out, fish sauce is an ever-present ingredient in Thai food. If there’s no fish sauce, then there’s shrimp paste, oyster sauce or those tiny dried shrimp that Thai chefs sprinkle on everything.
If you’re at all adventurous with where you eat in Thailand, you will probably eat a little fish sauce without even knowing it.
(I can’t imagine how people travel in Thailand with a fish allergy!)
This inadvertent fish sauce eating is something we made peace with a long time ago. It’s just a part of the deal if you want to venture outside the well-worn tourist trail anywhere in Southeast Asia.
3. Got Milk? Yup In Everything Sweet!
If there’s one thing Thais love more than meat, it’s sweet stuff!
Watch our for condensed milk, especially in smoothies and other sweet drinks.
Lots of Thai sweets look very tempting for us vegans, but be aware that condensed milk is a key ingredient in many Thai desserts. So look for that tell-tale can before you order.
Condensed milk is also used to sweeten fruit smoothies and other drinks. When you order, ask for:
Mimi nom (no milk)
That should keep your smoothie dairy free!
4. They Put Eggs in Tofu?
Usually, when we’re on our adventures in Asia, eating in small towns or little local restaurants, we can rely on tofu as our source of protein. Sadly, in Thailand, often even the tofu isn’t vegan — it’s egg tofu.
How can you tell the difference?
If the tofu is firm and square, or chopped in small cubes, its fresh soy tofu like you’re probably used to eating.
If the tofu is in thick circular slices and a soft, silky consistency, it’s almost certainly egg tofu.
You’ll find egg tofu in places where they don’t go through much tofu because it keeps longer than fresh tofu.
5. They Put Cow Milk in the Soy Milk?!?
No, I’m not making this shit up. Thailand’s biggest brand of soy milk, Lactasoy, contains a small percentage of cow’s milk.
Now, you’d think we’d have been clued in by the name Lactasoy but I guess the idea of putting cow’s milk in soy milk seemed out of the realm of possibility to us, so we merrily drank it for weeks in Thailand. And then, one day, bored at breakfast, I read the package. Ugh.
The good news is, regular soy milk, without any “lacta” is readily available at every grocery store, corner store, and 7-11 in Thailand.
freThey also sell lots of different kinds containing various grains, pulses, and other beans. While not a complete meal replacement, you can drink one of these to fill your belly while searching for something more substantial.
6. You Won’t Get a Clean Pan
If you’re an adventurous vegan, and want to try your hand at ordering street food from an omnivore food vendor, good luck! We have managed to successfully do this on many occasions, and we’ve managed to order meaty or shrimpy noodles on many more.
We ate here because it was the only place in town to get an almost vegan meal.
No matter how successful you are at ordering what you want, your food will definitely be cooked in a pan that has been used to cook meat just minutes before.
We’ve also seen many street food vendors using a big slab of pork fat to “season” the pan before they throw our veggies in.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
7. Breakfast is the Worst
Most hotels and guest houses in Thailand offer free breakfast as part of your room fee. As vegans, we all know that free breakfast is the worst! In Thailand, breakfast will likely consist of eggs, meats, and bread. Yay for the bread, except Thai bread often contains milk .
(LOL. Of course it does!)
Fortunately, there is usually lots of fruit, sometimes a small selection of salad items, and even muesli if you’re lucky. Still, you might want to enquire ahead of time and come prepared with soy milk or peanut butter to add a few nutrients to your breakfast.
How to Get Fed as a Vegan in Thailand
Now that you’ve read the bad news and feel like you’re going to starve in Thailand, fear not! You won’t.
Just use our tips to find delicious vegan food on your Thai travels.
It’s easy to find mango sticky rice on the streets of Bangkok — and it is delicious.
8. How to Ask for Vegan Food in Thai
The great thing about the Thai language (as opposed to say, Vietnamese) is that you can pronounce things badly and people might still understand.
There are two Thai phrases you NEED to know if you’re going anywhere adventurous in Thailand.
1. How to say vegetarian in Thai
This is the Thai word for vegetarian:
Mangsawirat (pronounced like “mung saw wee rat” with emphasis on the first syllable)
To be honest, we didn’t learn this one until our second trip to Thailand. But that was a mistake. It means “vegetarian” but the word is almost always interpreted to include eggs and dairy in Thailand.
To be super sure you’re not getting meat, add this phrase which means “vegetables vegetables vegetables”:
Pak pak pak
Technically, you don’t need to say it three times but we found it most effective to do so. And if you have to repeat “pak pak pak” a few times, do it!
Now say it with me:
Mangsawirat pak pak pak.
This phrase was very effective all over southern Thailand, even in the most remote and local places. We were never served anything not vegan after using this phrase.
(Thanks to our vegetarian friend Grace, from Extreme Nomads, who has been living in Thailand for a couple of years, for teaching us!)
2. Buddhist vegan
On our first trip to Thailand, we used the phrase “kin jay” when ordering food. This is the phrase most people will tell you to learn.
While it is more specific than “mangsawirat”, we found it to be a little too specific. It doesn’t just mean animal-free food. It really means Buddhist vegan food – which can exclude onion and garlic and include eggs!
“Kin jay” is useful if there happens to be a Buddhist vegan restaurant nearby. People will happily point it out or take you there. But if not, it made our lives more difficult. Food vendors would refuse to make anything because they were not equipped to make strictly Buddhist food.
It’s best to learn both phrases, and if one doesn’t work, the other probably will.
If you’re a real SWOT, you can also learn the phrases for “no egg”, “no fish sauce”, “no meat” etc., just to be on the safe side!
9. Vegan Food for Tourists
The best and easiest vegan food in Thailand is also the most expensive.
In Bangkok and Chiang Mai, you’ll find plenty of nice restaurants that are 100% vegan or offer vegan Thai dishes on the menu. These are mostly geared towards tourists, expats, and well-off Thai people. You’ll pay Western prices for the privilege of eating cruelty free.
Not every Thai city has high-end vegan restaurants like this one.
In other touristy places, the availability of vegan food can be hit-or-miss.
From what we’ve heard, it’s tough to find vegan food in Phuket because the restaurants are all so full, nobody is too concerned about offering vegan options. But in hippie-ish Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe, we found plenty of vegan offerings, all in restaurants geared towards tourists.
If you’re looking for budget food that is 100% vegan guaranteed, you’ll need to find a Buddhist restaurant. These are usually hole-in-the-wall joints that can be identified by their bright red and yellow flag outside. The symbol for a jay / Buddhist restaurant looks a little like a 17 and will be on the flag.
Most decent-sized cities have one or two jay restaurants, but they’re often hard to find. Use the Happy Cow app to point you in the right direction.
These places often keep odd hours, too. They might be open in the early morning for breakfast but closed all afternoon. Or they might close at 3pm, or be open late in the evening.
We’ve spent many frustrating hours wandering around hungry, trying to find an open jay restaurant. So plan ahead and make sure you know the details before you go.
11. Vegan Street Food in Thailand
My first impulse when talking about vegan street food in Thailand is to scream, “It’s an oxymoron! There isn’t any!!”. Now that that’s out of my system, let’s talk.
Night markets in Thailand are fabulous places to wander and sample all the strange and delicious authentic tastes of Thailand… if you’re a meat-eater.
There is an amazing array of curry (all with fish or meat), incredible plates of noodles (with chicken), and an awe-inspiring array of snacks (like fried fish heads, tiny sausages, and quail’s eggs). Sigh.
If you get lucky, you might find a street stall that can do stir-fried veggies and noodles.
For vegans and vegetarians, night markets in Thailand are the place where you wander around getting hungrier and hungrier as more and more food vendors look at you like you’re crazy for not eating meat. Eventually, you’ll give up and go..
With 2 days in Bangkok, you have just enough time to squeeze in a few of the city’s best attractions and soak up the frenetic pace. In this post we share the best things to do in Bangkok and then help you plan your perfect Bangkok itinerary.
While it’s not the craziest city we’ve been to (that’s Jakarta), Bangkok is high on the list. And boy, is it ever a city of contrasts.
Outside, heat pours off concrete and it only takes a few seconds for tourists to be soaked in sweat. Step inside almost anywhere and the air conditioning is so cold you’ll wish you’d brought a sweater.
For a little spiritual expansion, linger in a hidden corner of Wat Pho or gaze on one of the many magnificent Buddha statues in the city. The sacred halls of Bangkok’s shopping malls are equally sparkly and shiny — but prayers are paid for with cold hard cash.
The streets are either miles wide with bumper-to-bumper traffic, or winding and narrow, with scooters flying by uncomfortably close.
Luxury hotels on the Chao Phraya sit side-by-side with run-down stilt houses.
You can eat a full meal for a couple of dollars in a night market and then lay down a month’s rent for for a few cocktails in a rooftop bar.
During a boat ride on the Chao Phraya river, you’ll see luxury hotels cheek-by-jowl with shacks made of reclaimed wood and corrugated steel. It’s as though some all-powerful being dropped a modern metropolis right on top of a pre-industrial city.
Any way you tackle it, it’s guaranteed to blow your mind.
How to Use this Guide to 2 Days in Bangkok
Since there is so much variety in Bangkok and no two travellers want exactly the same thing from their visit, our guide to 2 days in Bangkok is a little different than most.
I’m not going to tell you exactly what to do in Bangkok for two days.
Instead, I’m suggesting the most interesting (not always the most popular) things to do in Bangkok in categories like museums, parks, mindful activities, and tours.
Use my suggestions, along with our free Bangkok trip planner, to create your own customized Bangkok 2-day itinerary.
Grab Your Free Printable Bangkok Trip Planner
Before you read the post, grab your printable itinerary planner. It’ll help you create the perfect 2 day itinerary for Bangkok, plus it includes a map to all the places mentioned in this post!
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However, if you’re in a real hurry and trust my taste implicitly, at the end of this post I share our suggested 2-day itinerary and an option for a third day. You can start with our itinerary as a template and then build from there.
How Many Days in Bangkok is Enough?
The number of days you should spend in Bangkok depends on what type of traveller you are.
As digital nomads, we just spent 10 days in Bangkok. It was fine for us, since we spent at least half that time working. If you’re on holiday, 10 days will be too long!
How many days you should spend in Bangkok will depend on several variables:
How long is your overall trip?
Are you a city person?
Is this your first time in Bangkok?
Though Bangkok is mind-blowing, it’s not our favourite Asian city and it can be overwhelming.
If you have a short trip or you’re not a city person, you can safely minimize your time in Bangkok without regrets. Just spend 2 days and then move on to other destinations in Thailand.
If it’s your first time in Bangkok, if you love cities, or you want to experience the city a little more deeply, spend a few more days.
2 days in Bangkok is enough if you want to briefly experience the craziness, see a few big sights, and then get out.
3 days in Bangkok will give you enough time to add a more in-depth, off-the-beaten track activity to your itinerary.
4 days in Bangkok (or more) will really let you experience the city, get into the nightlife, and maybe add a day trip to your itinerary.
What you Must Do in Bangkok
I hate to call anything a “must do” activity, because we are often disappointed by the most popular tourist activities in a destination. So if these three sound dull to you, don’t do them.
Most visits to Bangkok start at Wat Pho — and for good reason. Not only is it one of Thailand’s most important Royal temples, but it is home to the reclining Buddha, a 46-metre golden statue.
The golden Buddha at Wat Pho is an impressive — and popular — sight.
Many visitors just pop in to see the Buddha, discover how hard it is to capture the giant on camera, and then leave. This means that the rest of the beautiful temple is relatively quiet and well worth your time to wander, soak up the atmosphere, and even take a few minutes to meditate in a quiet courtyard.
Pro tip: Wat Pho is best visited first thing in the morning before it gets too hot and crowded. Also, do not enter with exposed shoulders and wear, at minimum, shorts or a skirt that reaches the knee. Better still, wear a long skirt or pants.
The Grand Palace
1–3 hours, 500 THB
The Grand Palace might be Thailand’s most-visited attraction and, as such, we have never been there.
(See, it’s perfectly OK to skip a “must-do”.)
However, our ornery anti-tourist stance has probably done us a disservice in this case, because The Grand Palace is an impressive sight housing spectacular examples of Thai architecture, sculpture, and art.
The Grand Palace is also home to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (aka Wat Phra Kaew). This magnificent Buddha is carved from a single piece of jade and is said to be Thailand’s most sacred Buddha sculpture.
It’s weird to feature shopping as a top sight, I know, but in Bangkok, the malls are unmissable. Even if you hate shopping (hello, me too!), you’ll undoubtedly end up in a Sukhumvit mall to eat, head to the movies, or just get relief from Bangkok’s oppressive heat.
And if you love shopping, welcome to nirvana! Some of the most impressive shopping cathedrals in Bangkok are Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, and the sparkling new Iconsiam.
Bangkok Museums & Galleries
Bangkok National Museum
2–3 hours, 200 Baht
If you’re fascinated by the history of Thailand’s Royal family, or you just want a peaceful place to wander away from Bangkok’s noisy streets, then the Bangkok National Museum is a good place to go. It houses some of Thailand’s most important Buddha statues, plus statues of Hindu deities from the region’s pre-Buddhism days.
There are lots of displays to interest Royal Family buffs, too, including royal clothing, royal funeral carriages, and a collection of weapons and swords.
As with any museum like this, it’s always more interesting if you take a tour. Free guided tours are start at 9:30 a.m. in English and French on Wednesdays and Thursdays, in Japanese on Wednesdays only, and in German on Thursdays.
Jim Thompson House
2 hours, 200 Baht
An American silk magnate who made his fortune selling Thai silks at horrendously inflated prices (one can only assume) around the world, Jim Thompson used his accrued fortune to create an impressive collection of Asian art and artefacts. These are now on display at Jim Thompson House.
Thompson’s story has a mysterious end; in 1967 he disappeared without at trace on a visit to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. His house has been kept exactly the way it was the day he left and is a chance to experience Thai architecture and the design aesthetic of the time.
You can’t wander unaccompanied, but guided tours are provided throughout the day in Thai, English, French Chinese and Japanese.
This 3D art “museum” lets you experience all the adventures you want — surfing, swimming with sharks, crossing a rickety Indiana Jones-style rope bridge, trekking in the jungle — all without leaving the air-conditioned comfort of the museum.
Perfect for a rainy day with kids or a cheesy series of Instagram photos.
Taking a day tour is a great way to make the most of your 2 days in Bangkok. A tour will allow you to see and understand more, more quickly, than if you were to go on your own. It’s also a little less exhausting than trying to figure everything out for yourself.
Bangkok Canal Boat & Bike Tour
1 day, 2400 THB
To be honest, the idea going on a bike tour in Bangkok freaked me out at first. I mean, have you seen the traffic?!?
But, we couldn’t pass up the chance to cycle in one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world. To hedge our bets, we opted for a tour that also included a canal boat ride, just in case the traffic was too crazy.
A boat trip is a must-do in Bangkok.
We had no need to worry. Grasshopper’s Canal Boat & Bike Tour had us cycling back alleys and local neighbourhoods, where we were more likely to meet chickens crossing the road than threatening vehicles! We loved it and highly recommend it — especially if you’re travelling with kids.
With only two days in Bangkok, you can save a lot of time and hassle by joining a day tour to take you to the most visited sights. It’s also a great way to deepen your experience and bring on the fun!
Hop in a tuk tuk for an interesting experience but don’t expect to get anywhere fast.
This tour, in Bangkok’s ubiquitous tuk tuks, takes you to the top of the Golden Mount, to visit the Golden Buddha at Wat Pho, to experience the colours and scents of the flower market, and to sample the flavours of Little India.
If you’re thinking of bike touring Thailand, we say, great idea. Thailand has it all: welcoming people, smooth roads, gorgeous beaches, and tempting food on every corner (literally). Read on to find out if cycle touring Thailand is right for you.
Thai people are obsessed (and I mean OBSESSED) with food. I’ll be the first to admit I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about, cooking, and eating food — but compared to the typical Thai person, I’m an amateur.
Plus, Thai people rarely cook at home, preferring to eat most of their meals at street markets or food stalls.
This is great news for cycle tourists in Thailand.
Since Thai people are almost always eating, it means there’s plentiful and inexpensive food available everywhere you look. You’ll have your pick of curries, grilled meats, noodles of all descriptions, and mango sticky rice for dessert every day (why not?).
The only caveat is that individual Thai dishes tend to be quite small, so you’ll need at least two to satisfy a cycle tourist’s hunger.
In Thailand, food is absolutley everywhere! However, vegetarian and vegan cyclists can face a challenge getting fed.
Sadly, this abundance of food does not apply if you’re vegan or vegetarian in Thailand. Despite the predominantly Buddhist culture, Thai food is almost all centred around meat — the main event in most dishes. At the Thai cooking class we did in Bangkok, our teacher described vegetables as “decoration”.
In non-touristy cities, you can usually find a vegan Buddhist restaurant or two — but it can be a challenge to find out when they are open! Of course, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are saturated with Western vegan options. But, once you get off the beaten track, finding veggie food is always a challenge.
Thai People & Culture
There’s a reason Thailand is nicknamed The Land of Smiles. Everywhere you go, you will be welcomed with a beautiful smile and enthusiastic locals.
Now, before you get the idea that everyone in Thailand is outrageously happy all the time, know that in Thailand, a smile is sometimes used to hide anger or irritation — so if you’re on the receiving end of an inappropriately timed smile, now you know why.
These two friendly souls were serving the only veggie food in town. Our saviours!
However, especially when you get off the beaten track, you’ll be met with genuine grins. As a bonus, many Thai people are enthusiastic cyclists, so they will want to know all about your journey and give you any support you need.
Thailand is also quite a liberal country, so you will be fine wearing tight bike shorts, tank tops, and whatever else you need to stay cool on the road.
When visiting wats, be prepared to cover up. Show respect by covering shoulders and knees before entering.
You also need to show appropriate respect to the Thai Royal Family. Pictures of the king are everywhere and you should view them with respect. If the national anthem suddenly begins to play, be prepared to stand in silence for the duration. Just follow the lead of the Thai people around you and you’ll be alright.
Accommodation & Camping in Thailand
Camping in Thailand
We didn’t do any camping in Thailand because we had sent our camping equipment home before getting there.
That said, there are lots of great camping opportunities in Thailand. Almost all national parks have campgrounds. Even better, most of them allow you to rent tents and camping equipment at the park – perfect if you don’t plan on camping often, but want to try it a few times.
We’ve also met a few cycle tourists who spent their nights camping at wats. Wats are ever-present and easy to find and we never heard of anyone being turned away.
Unless you’re really intrepid, wild camping is not a great idea in Thailand.
For a start, there are people everywhere, so it’s hard to go unnoticed or to find a quiet spot. Then there’s the unknown quotient of wildlife — we saw many pythons and other huge snakes squashed on the road during our Thai bike tour. Do you really want to go bushwhacking off the road knowing that you could step on a python at any moment?
Hotels, Guesthouses, and Resorts in Thailand
The great news is that accommodation in Thailand is plentiful, clean, and cheap. Even in the most remote corners, wherever you cycle in Thailand, you will almost always find an acceptable place to stay the night.
Learning to recognize these Thai words will be a huge help when trying to spot accommodation:
resort = รีสอร์ท
hotel = โรงแรม
On the outskirts of most towns in the north, we found mini resorts which were a collection of little cabins usually centred around a swimming pool. Ideal accommodation for hot and sweaty cycle tourists.
Many cycle tourists rave about Thailand as a bike touring destination. That’s partly because Thai roads are very well maintained compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. Where Cambodia and Laos have bumpy red dirt tracks or pothole-ridden asphalt, Thailand has endless miles of perfect smooth blacktop.
But alas, with well maintained roads comes plentiful traffic.
Thai drivers love to go fast!
If you end up on a main road in Thailand, which is sometimes unavoidable, prepare for hundreds of pickups careening by your elbow at top speeds. Plan your routes to avoid the main arteries when you can. When you can’t, just put your head down and pedal.
Another irritating quirk of Thai roads is that they often have a median down the middle, complete with a fence or barrier that is too high to lift a fully loaded bike over. At times, you’ll have to ride several kilometres in the wrong direction until you can find a place to turn around.
The other option is to ride the wrong direction in the shoulder of the road. Thai motorcyclists do this all the time, so when you’re riding the right way, you’ll have motorcyclists come at you head-on. It can be highly irritating and sometimes dangerous!
Of course, Thailand also has its share of back roads which will take you through palm groves, rice fields, coconut groves, and some of the best landscapes you’ve even seen. It is on roads like these that all our most magical Thailand cycle touring moments happened.
Dogs & Other Dangers in Thailand
Aside from the crazy traffic, there are not many serious dangers when cycling touring Thailand. There is a small risk of being pickpocketed or robbed, but it is lower than it would be in most European countries.
Scams are more common, especially if you visit extremely touristy areas and are trying to take a tuk tuk or taxi. One of the great things about cycle touring is that you tend to avoid these tourist dangers, since you’ll often be off the beaten track.
The main dangers for cycle tourists in Thailand come from animals.
Dogs in Thailand
Thailand has a LOT of stray dogs. They gather in packs along the roadsides and roam the alleyways. Usually, these dogs are a tired, lazy bunch, who will barely lift their heads as you cycle by. In fact, despite seeing thousands of flea-bitten curs in our weeks of cycling Thailand, we’ve rarely had a dog incident there.
Most dogs in Thailand are of the friendly, lazy variety — but there are some that will chase you, too!
Any problems with dogs comes from guard dogs. Many Thai farms and homes keep a dog or two out front, trained to bark and growl at passersby.
Occasionally, these dogs take their duties a little too seriously and come out to the road to give chase. When this happens, my heart always leaps to my throat, but they usually give up before the make contact.
There is rabies in Thailand (and there was an outbreak in early 2018), so if you do get bitten by a dog, make sure to get medical attention as soon as you can.
Though we tend to think of them as just a nuisance, mosquito bites are the most deadly thing I’ve ever encountered while travelling.
After I contracted malaria in Laos (cured in Thailand) and dengue fever in Bali and southern Thailand, I can attest to the danger of a stray mosquito bite at the wrong time.
Malaria is only prevalent in the region of Thailand that directly borders Myanmar, so if you’re planning on cycling there, bring anti-malarial drugs and take them!
For the rest of the country, wear repellent every day, especially in populous areas, to prevent getting dengue. Though dengue is unlikely to kill you (unless you ignore the symptoms entirely and keep cycling), it can knock you flat for a week or two, which will put a major damper on your Thailand cycle tour!
Wild monkeys at the side of the road are usually shy and wary of humans. You’re OK to stop to take pictures and get excited because “OMG, monkeys!!”. (At least, that is our general reaction to monkeys.)
Please don’t feed them, since they are wild animals and fully capable of getting their own food — and we don’t want to make them reliant on humans.
Though there are lots of vegan restaurants in Bangkok, I wouldn’t say the Bangkok vegan scene is that easy to navigate, especially if you’re a tourist.
For a start, finding vegetarian street food in Bangkok is pretty tough, and vegan street food is even more scarce. Most street food stalls specialize in one or two dishes that are almost always heavy on the meat, light on veggies.
The big exception is mango sticky rice, which is fairly easy to find on the street, and deliciously, decadently vegan.
It’s easy to find mango sticky rice on the streets of Bangkok — and it is delicious.
The next big problem in Bangkok is getting around. It can take hours, and all your energy, to just go a few kilometres. So unless you happen to be staying near to the best vegan restaurants, it can be a major journey just to get fed.
Finally, most of the vegan restaurants in Bangkok are aimed at affluent Thai people or expats, meaning that finding cheap vegan food in Bangkok is especially difficult.
Because of the size of the city and the traffic, where you eat in Bangkok will naturally be constrained by where you stay.
For example, we ate several times at a pasta restaurant called Lido because it was across from our hotel. It was very good food but unless you’re staying in Silom, the hassle of getting there far outweighs the reward – especially since you can probably find an Italian restaurant near your hotel that will be just as good!
So, for this guide, instead of sharing a long list of restaurants that might take you half the day to get to, we’ve shared a few that are definitely worth the trip – plus some tips on finding Bangkok vegan food near your hotel.
Read on for our guide to…
The Best Bangkok Vegan Food
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Bangkok Vegan Restaurants that are Worth the Trip Across Town
Hand-pulled vegetarian noodle stall (mostly vegan), dinner only
Soi 38 night market near Thong Lo BTS
We ate all the vegan noodle bowls at Mill. This one was a tasty mushroom bowl.
The vegan sesame noodle bowl was our favourite dish in all of Bangkok.
Our favourite vegan food in Bangkok.
After many “just OK” meals in Bangkok, we finally found a place that ticked all the boxes. Flavourful food? Tick! Excellent dining experience? Tick! Great price? Tick!
First, they provide a rare opportunity for vegans to eat street food without worrying about hidden animal bits.
Second, watching the staff at work pulling and kneading the dough until it magically becomes noodles is a treat all in itself.
Third, the bowls of noodles topped with mushrooms, peanut sauce, and other tasty options, were incredibly delicious — with the kind of complex flavours you’d expect from a fancy overpriced restaurant.
Finally, the big mugs of fermented rice wine they serve with the noodles makes everything just a little more shiny in the world.
By the way, they also offer a gluten-free option using Thai rice noodles.
We ate: Hand-pulled noodles tossed with sesame sauce, hand-pulled noodles with mushrooms, and all the other options! So so so delicious. For dessert, we got mango sticky rice from the nearby stall, which was also very good.
Modern vegan cafe with Thai and international dishes
889 Sukhumvit Road near Thong Lo BTS
Broccoli Revolution is a modern vegan cafe popular with affluent ex-pats.
The mushroom stir-fry at Broccoli Revolution was very tasty.
If you’re looking for a bright and modern Western-style vegan cafe in Bangkok, Broccoli Revolution is a great choice. They offer fresh juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, sandwiches, pastas, and some Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
Each time we ate there — unlike most of Bangkok’s restaurants — it was full of tourists and expats. Even so, the food was very good, if not cheap.
We ate: Two unusual Thai dishes. Jane’s was stir-fried mushrooms with black rice, Stephen’s was a bowl of spicy flat rice noodles with tofu and puffed TVP, both very filling and satisfying.
May Veggie Home
Mid-price vegan Thai restaurant 83 Ratchadaphisek Rd near Asok BTS
We enjoyed the Pad Thai at May Veggie Home but it was nothing special.
If you’re looking for a good selection of Thai favourites at a reasonable price, May Veggie will satisfy your cravings. It is a very popular veggie restaurant, both with tourists and locals, possibly because of its central location.
While it was nice to have a chance to try out traditional Thai dishes knowing they’d be veggie, nothing on the menu was that exciting. Also, as with most Thai food, the servings were very small, so you might need to order three dishes between two people.
We ate: Pad thai, which was totally fine — but just not as delicious as many Pad Thais we’ve had in Thailand.
Vegan restaurant chain with delectable desserts 4 locations in Bangkok
The food at Veganerie is good — but not as great as we were expecting.
When you’re craving a huge chocolate waffle with ice cream and vegan whipped cream, there is only one place to go in Bangkok.
What started out as one shopping mall food court stall a few years ago has now blossomed into four locations around the city. If you want to go for a romantic meal or celebratory dinner, head to the Veganerie Concept location on the edge of Queen’s Park — the only one that’s not in a shopping mall.
As with much of the vegan food in Bangkok, we felt that the food was good but not as great as we’d like it to be. Even the waffles were lacking that special something that makes food to-die-for delicious.
We ate: Papaya salad with fried not-chicken pieces, waffles, ice cream, and brownies for dessert.
Other Places to Find Great Vegan Food in Bangkok
Cheap Indian Restaurants in Bangkok
Selection of Indian vegetarian restaurants in Little India
Nestled behind Indra Square mall and Baiyoke Sky Hotel near Phaya Thai BTS
As with almost any big city, you can always rely on Indian restaurants in Bangkok to satisfy your vegan hunger pangs. Chances are, you’ll be able to find a good one near your accommodation.
If you want the best selection, head to Little India which features an alleyway dedicated to veg and pure veg Indian restaurants (i.e., vegetarian and vegan Indian restaurants). These restaurants cater mostly to Bangkok’s Indian population, so it’s also the place to go for cheap Indian food — these are not tourist prices!
Though it doesn’t look like much from the outside and is not the most popular restaurant on the street, we decided to eat at Guptaji Ki Kitchen. The only option here is a thali plate made up of whatever curries they’ve made that day. The great part is, they keep coming back to give you more dhal, rice, chapati, and curries — it really is all you can eat for only 100 Baht (3 USD).
Plus the food was very good (just like the Indian food we ate in South India) and the staff were friendly and efficient. They encouraged us to eat seconds, thirds, and fourths — and seemed genuinely worried when I said “no more”.
We ate: The thali plate — specify that you’re vegan and they’ll bring you the bread and curries without dairy.
Mall Food Courts
Central Embassy Mall near Chit Lom BTS & Terminal 21 near Asok BTS
It might not look that exciting but this cashew stir-fry at Eathai was amazing.
This boutique Bangkok design hotel is a perfect place for couples or solo travellers to recover from a day in the city. If you’re looking for a stylish and homey retreat where you’ll feel like part of the family, this independently owned hotel in Thong Lor is ideal.
What’s in our Review of this Bangkok Design Hotel?
But Volve is more than just its lovely design. Function is first here – from the fabulous chairs in the lobby to the heavenly oversized beds, Volve is a reminder that, with a little effort, life can be made to be wonderfully comfortable.
Find Quirky Design and Luxurious Comfort at Volve Hotel Bangkok
What we loved at Volve Hotel Bangkok
Rooms so comfy it’s hard to get out of bed
Our first priority for any place we stay, whether it be a hut in the jungle or a five-star resort, is comfort.
Volve gets top marks in the comfort category, with the extra-large firm-yet-soft beds taking centre stage. The room is spacious and includes a couch, a desk, and a huge TV placed in the optimal spot for bedtime viewing.
The snack bar contains Thai-inspired snacks like Tom Yum Cashew nuts and Crispy Silkworms (yikes!), while the mini-fridge comes stocked with local craft beer.
The extra-large extremely comfy bed at Volve will give you a great night’s sleep.
A welcoming and well-appointed lobby
In the lobby, the casual seating area was tough to leave once we’d gotten settled. For a start, it features the world’s most comfortable (and beautiful) mid-century armchairs.
Then there’s the long work table constructed from reclaimed stairs of the original building. The table features power outlets, proper desk chairs, and personal lighting. Ideal for digital nomads!
Central and convenient location
If you’ve been to Bangkok, you’ll know that getting around the city can be a bit of a nightmare. There’s just too much traffic – which makes taxis almost useless.
Volve is just a few minutes’ walk from the Thong Lo skytrain station, which connects guests to the most-visited sights in the city.
It’s also just one street away from Sukhumvit 55, which puts you in walking distance of almost every kind of restaurant or bar you might want to visit.
Quirky eye for design
While the key design elements at Volve recall Sukhumvit’s aristocratic heritage homes, everything is enhanced with a unique modern twist. The terazzo and brass floors are modernized by a unique geometric pattern while textured wood panelling on the walls lends warmth to the stairwells.
Forget boring hotel design, Volve has quirky and creative charm.
As one would expect from a Bangkok design hotel, the art pieces are full of quirk and charm as well.
A mural in the breakfast room is a map of the local area, which highlights staff picks of the best local places to eat, drink, and visit.
On each floor, the stair landing features large collage paintings representing each of Thailand’s five regions. The collages incorporate Thai history, Western icons, weird and wonderful images, and a cat in every collage. You could spend hours trying to decipher the messages hidden within.
Unusual extras at Volve
A library of inspirational books
As soon as we arrived, Stephen and I gravitated to the bookshelf in the lobby. It is stocked with books about adventure, travelling, and Thai culture. There are also a few interesting outlier titles, like Why Did the Chicken Cross the World: The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization and Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.
The books form a mini-library, so if one grabs your interest, just give the old-school card to the cheery staff and away you go. I was tempted to curl up in one of those comfy lobby chairs and spend my entire trip to Bangkok lost in a book.
Roof garden with panoramic views
Aside from a few big parks, Bangkok is not the best city for the outdoorsy among us. But if you need a little greenery, Volve’s rooftop garden can provide it.
Carpeted with (fake) grass and filled with the owner’s mother’s gardening projects, the rooftop is a welcoming outdoor space well away from the din of Bangkok’s traffic.
You can borrow a yoga mat from the front desk for a rooftop yoga session or grab a bottle of craft beer to wind down at the end of the day.
See Bangkok from above at Volve Hotel’s wonderful roof garden.
Local craft beer in every fridge
In Thailand, it’s a tricky task to find anything beyond the state-sanctioned Chang and Leo beers. That’s why we were surprised to find that our in-room fridge was stocked with a couple of kinds of local craft beer – and it was even priced affordably!
What we didn’t love at this Bangkok design hotel
It’s a rare thing when Stephen and I can’t come up with some complaint or quibble about our accommodation. (What can I say? We have high expectations.) But Volve has stumped us; there just wasn’t anything we didn’t like about it.
It has been designed for experienced travellers who want comfort, a sense of home, and a personal touch in a hotel. That’s exactly who we are and they satisfied our every need.
Where to eat & drink near Volve Hotel Bangkok
Soi 83 Hawker Market
Though Soi 83 isn’t what it used to be (the big street market was closed down a few years ago), there is still some first-rate street food to be had at the small hawker market. You can find most of the Bangkok street food favourites there.
We ate hand-pulled noodles at Mill twice in two days!
We ate twice at Mill, where they serve delicious bowls of vegan hand-pulled noodles. Seriously, if you’ve never seen hand-pulled noodles being made, you must go there! And don’t miss out on their fermented rice drink, a tasty sweet alcoholic concoction that goes down a little too smoothly.
If you’re a little tired of Thai food, stop in at Broccoli Revolution, a modern vegan cafe that serves a range of plant-based Western and Asian dishes. It is a little expat-heavy for us (we didn’t see any Thai people eating there) but worth it for the satisfying plates of vegan deliciousness.
Just one road over from Volve, Sukhumvit 55 is filled with trendy eating and drinking spots. Not only does Volve provide a map of their favourites, but the staff will be happy to update you on what’s new in the area. If you want an amazing meal or the perfect cocktail, it’s all a short walk away from their doorstep.
Even though you might be tempted to wrap yourself up in the comforts of Volve, you really ought to get out and see a little of Bangkok while you’re there.
We did both these activities and highly recommend them.
We had a great time on Grasshopper Adventures’ Bangkok Bike and Boat Tour.
Bangkok Bike and Boat Tour with Grasshopper Adventures
Though Bangkok does not, on the surface, seem like the ideal city for bicycling, this bike tour will change your mind. Winding through back alleys and rarely visited sections of the city, we got to experience a Bangkok that tourists rarely see.
In this version of Bangkok, children still get excited about seeing foreigners and adults smile and wave as you pass by. After wheeling through the alleys for a while, you get to hop on a boat and see the city from another side entirely!
This unique tour is well worth the time (and totally suitable for kids).
Thai food is one of the world’s most beloved cuisines, and for good reason – Thai people are absolutely obsessed with food. If you’re obsessed with food too (like us), then book yourself into a Thai cooking class. You’ll not only learn how to cook your favourite Thai dishes, but you’ll discover more about Thai culture through the world of food.
We did a half-day cooking class at the home of the friendly and knowledgeable Chef Aey. Most classes can be customized for vegans and vegetarians.
We hope you enjoyed this review of Volve Hotel Bangkok and we really hope you consider staying there when you’re in Bangkok. We highly recommend it and would love to go back!
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen
Our stay was paid for by Volve Hotel, but as always, we only stay in and recommend accommodation that we think you’ll truly love! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
Wondering how to choose the perfect Bangkok cooking class? This post will help you find a class where you’ll get to immerse yourself in Thai food culture and learn how to cook an incredible authentic Thai meal.
What’s in our Guide to Finding the Best Bangkok Cooking Class?
“Stronger! Stronger!”, urges Chef Aey, as I mush my gloved hands through a huge bowl of freshly shredded coconut. Before today, I always though of coconut milk as something that comes out of a can, or maybe a Tetra Pak if you’re getting really fancy.
Step 1. Go to the local market and buy enormous quantities of freshly shredded Thai coconut.
Step 2. Add a little water to the coconut and squeeze. Squeeze!
Step 3. Sample the richest, creamiest, most delicious coconut milk you’ve ever tasted.
Every authentic Thai meal starts with a visit to the local market.
I know it’s hard to believe — since we are committed foodies, full-time nomads, and we love to cook — but in all our years of travel, we’ve never taken a cooking class before.
Partly, that’s because most cooking activities don’t cater for vegans and vegetarians. In Thailand, though, where different kinds of protein can be freely substituted in the country’s signature dishes (think green curry with chicken, seafood, or tofu), the recipes are easily changed to suit the taste of the cook.
So while our one fellow student, a quiet solo traveller from Korea, cooked with shrimp, egg, and chicken, we made the same recipes with tofu instead.
Like an orchestra conductor, Chef Aey deftly managed the whole operation, exhorting us to bring up the temperature here, drop in a little spice there, and keep tasting until we’d created a culinary masterpiece!
If you’re looking for a great Bangkok cooking class, watch the video and then read on to find your own perfect Thai cooking class.
My Five Acres Goes Cooking with Cookly in Thailand - YouTube
How to Find the Best Bangkok Cooking Class
Find Your Perfect Cooking Class on Cookly
If you want to find a great hotel, you use a hotel site like Booking.com, right? So, it makes sense that if you want to find the best cooking class in Bangkok, you use a site that’s completely dedicated to cooking courses.
Cookly is dedicated to listing a wide range of cooking classes, not only in Bangkok, but around the world.
Before any class can be listed on Cookly, the team attends the class, meets the teachers, and makes sure that they deliver an exceptional experience. On Cookly, you can choose classes based on location, time, and category (like vegan and vegetarian).
Cookly was founded in Bangkok, so if you’re looking for a Bangkok cooking class, it’s the perfect place to start.
Here are five things to check before you book your cooking class.
Location: Bangkok is a big city and it’s not easy to get anywhere. Try to find a class with a meeting point near you or at a convenient metro stop. Some schools even offer free pick-up from your hotel, so choose that option if you’re worried about finding your way.
Time: Are you a morning person or a night owl? Classes start at different times of day, so you can choose your perfect time slot.
Reviews: Cookly includes class reviews so it’s easy to find a well-reviewed and popular class.
Class size: Do you want a personalized learning experience? Then check that the class you choose limits class size.
Dietary options: If you have dietary restrictions, like vegan or gluten-free, check before you book to make sure the school can accommodate your needs.
We had a great time with Chef Aey at her little home-based business in a quiet neighbourhood of Bangkok. Here’s what you can expect if you choose her class.
Chef Aey was patient, funny, and firm… and the food was amazing!
A brilliant teacher
No matter what kind of class you’re doing, whether it’s higher mathematics, surfing school, or a cooking class, the whole thing succeeds or fails on the strength of its teacher. Our leader for the day, Chef Aey, was personable, knowledgable, and committed to giving us a fun learning experience.
She has spent her life teaching tourists, first as a rock climbing instructor on Ko Phi Phi, then as a cooking instructor in a big school. From there, she decided she wanted to start her own small cooking activity in her home. During the three hours we spent with her, she entertained us and gave us a great foundation in Thai food and cooking.
A lesson in Thai food culture
Like many Asian cuisines, there is much more to Thai food than just eating. Chef Aey taught us the importance of balancing the five Thai flavours: salty, sweet, sour, spicy and creamy. We spent some time smelling, feeling, and tasting key Thai ingredients, like the four different kinds of ginger (yes, there are 4!), lemongrass, Thai basil, chilis, two kinds of lime, and coriander.
We learned that in Thai cooking, the four food groups means something a little different, at least to Chef Aey.
Key ingredients. These are the ones you can’t make a particular dish without, like galangal, lemongrass, or Thai basil.
Seasoning. This can change according to taste, and includes salt, chilis, and soy sauce.
Decoration and filler. These are the food that aren’t really necessary but make a dish look more attractive. This one made me laugh because it includes vegetables! That’s so true of Thai food – veggies are almost always an afterthought.
Protein. You can substitute the protein as much as you like in Thai food. It’s up to you whether you add meat, fish, tofu, or something else.
The four food groups of Tom Yam Hed.
The delicious five-dish meal
Of course the very best part of our vegan Thai cooking class in Bangkok was the eating part!
Between the two of us, we made five dishes: Tom Yam Hed, a pungent clear soup with lemongrass, Thai basil, and mushrooms; Tom Ka Hed, coconut milk-based soup with mushrooms; the classic pad Thai, but without the eggs or shrimp; green curry; and delicious mango sticky rice for desert.
With Chef Aey instructing us on what to chop, when to turn the heat high and when to stir, everything was cooked perfectly — even the worst cook in the world could have done it!
I can honestly say this is the best Thai food we ate in Bangkok.
There were only three of us in the class, which meant that we could ask lots of questions, get more information on the aspects of Thai cuisine that interested us, and be sure to really learn how to cook the dishes on the menu.
Since both Stephen and I cook a lot and are pretty handy with a knife, we didn’t expect to learn all that much. However, Chef Aey taught us knife skills we’d never heard of before (do you know how to properly juice a lemon?), details about different foods we didn’t know (have you ever eaten finger ginger?), and interesting tidbits about Thai culture as it relates to food.
Chef Aey teaching us about finger ginger.
What We Didn’t Love about the Activity
To be honest, there wasn’t much we didn’t love about this cooking class. Just one small thing…
We started the morning in the local market, which was off-the-beaten track enough that I got stares from many of the marketeers – tall, red-haired women obviously don’t frequent their market too often!
I would have liked to spend more time exploring the market stalls and learning about the strange assortment of foods on offer. There just wasn’t enough time to do that and learn to make all those amazing Thai dishes, too.
Practical Details for Chef Aey’s Cooking Activity
When: 9am & 1:30pm daily Where: Bangkok, near Thailand Cultural MRT Station Length: 3.5 hours Cost: $28 Menu: Menus varies day by day What to bring: Your camera, an empty stomach!
Once you’ve seen Bangkok’s traffic, cycling in the city might not seem like the best idea. But, trust us, it is!
We did this bike and boat tour with Grasshopper and were treated to a cycling adventure down narrow alleyways, across tiny bridges, and through local neighbourhoods. After that, we got to hop into a canal boat to see the city from another side entirely.
With a local guide by your side, you’ll duck down alleyways and into hidden restaurants, chat with food cart owners, and taste authentic Thai dishes you’ll never see on any tourist menus. Go on your first day in Bangkok, so you’ll know where to get the best food in the city for your entire stay.
We hope you find your perfect Bangkok cooking class using this guide! We had a great time learning to cook authentic Thai food and we’ll be putting those lessons to use as soon as we can find a kitchen!
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen
We were guests of Cookly for this cooking class. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
Are you looking for the best Amsterdam vegan food? We recently spent a month in the city, exploring all the animal-friendly foods on offer. Here are our recommendations of where to eat vegan in Amsterdam.
In just a few short years, Amsterdam has gone from just OK in the vegan food department, to pretty darn amazing. It’s still not the best city in Europe to satisfy your vegan hunger (that honour would go to Lisbon or London) but Amsterdam offers a solid range of vegan delights.
However, I might be spoiled or just getting cynical, but I only found a couple of really exciting places to eat in Amsterdam. The rest seemed to be offering the same old vegan fare.
Don’t worry, though, you’re definitely not going to go hungry as a vegan in Amsterdam.
Especially with the help of our guide to the best places to eat!
Grab Your Free Printable Guide to Amsterdam
Before you read the post, grab this downloadable guide to Amsterdam vegan food. It includes a map to all the places in this post, so you can find them easily when you’re out and about in Amsterdam! Plus, it’s a guide to Amsterdam’s best yoga, too.
Our 3 Favourite Vegan Meals in Amsterdam
Organic, vegan, gluten-free, available by reservation only
My favourite Amsterdam vegan restaurant! I loved everything about Men Impossible.
Let’s start with the concept. Men Impossible is pretty much a one-man show, devised by Chef Atsushi, who set out to prove that vegan ramen is not only possible but totally delicious.
To help prevent food waste, meals are by reservation only, which makes it easier to determine exactly how much fresh food is needed each day.
The menu consists of 6 Japanese starters and 3 types of ramen. You can order from one of 5 set meal combos, which gives you various quantities of each item.
I ate: The Beginner’s Menu, which includes a tasting portion of all 6 starters plus a bowl of ramen. I chose the black garlic ramen.
The ramen here is not floating in a big bowl of broth, as you might expect, but rather it is a soft chewy noodle accompanied by spices, toppings, and a creamy flavourful sauce. I find the flavour hard to describe, because I’ve never eaten anything like it before — but suffice it to say it was amazing and you should try it for yourself.
Vegan pop-up, once a month on Sunday
If you’re lucky enough to be in Amsterdam for a Vegan Sundays event (or smart enough to plan your trip around it), you MUST go!
Though we missed the Sunday event, we did get to a special Mexican-themed pop-up on a Monday.
The food was a little more hoity-toity than the meals we usually recommend – in price but also in flavour, complexity, and quality. To be clear, it is totally worth paying a little extra. This is probably the best vegan food in Amsterdam; if I lived there I’d go to every Vegan Sundays event!
Unfortunately, the venue for the pop-up had serious mood lighting, so it was too dark for photos. Now, all I have is my succulent memories.
Our menu included: Cactus paddle, tomato, and tofu cheese salad; black bean stew with guacamole and fresh tortillas; and churros with grilled mango and chocolate sauce for dessert.
Cafe de Ceuvel
90% vegetarian, mostly vegan casual cafe
I was surprised by how great Cafe de Ceuvel was!
Built out of reused materials and part of a collective of small businesses in North Amsterdam, Cafe de Cuevel has some serious enviro-cred. They run an aquaponic garden on their roof and serve produce from local farms.
The only meat they serve is goose, sourced from the geese that they cull at Amsterdam airport so they don’t get caught in the plane engines. No, you could not make this up!
We ate: I had the no-tuna tuna sandwich. It didn’t taste like tuna to me (a good thing) but was a delicious combo of mushrooms and olives on a thick slice of whole grain bread. If you’re heading to North Amsterdam, this is the place you should eat.
Best Vegan Burgers in Amsterdam
Vegan Junk Food Bar
All vegan diner serving burgers and bitterballen
Is this Amsterdam’s Most Wanted burger? Yup, I think so!
Our favourite vegan burger in Amsterdam. Just edged our of our list of top 3 places to eat vegan in Amsterdam, Vegan Junk Food Bar serves up great vegan fast food in two locations.
The service is welcoming and friendly (unlike so many Amsterdam restaurants) and the vibe is decidedly casual. The location just north of Vondelpark is on a neighbourhood square and is a lovely spot to sit outside on a warm evening.
We ate: The Original VJFB, the Chicken Burger, and an order of bitterballen. Bitterballen are a Dutch classic treat, and must be tried at least once. The deep-fried balls of gravy-ish stuff were crispy and flavourful – but not the kind of thing I usually like to eat.
While the Chicken Burger was very good, the Original burger is better. It has a meaty texture, though the patty itself could have more flavour. The toppings are perfect though, so as a whole, extremely satisfying.
Vegan mid-range restaurant with great burgers
Meatless District has a very good vegan burger, too.
I was expecting a lot from Meatless District. With its trendy gastro-pub decor and the slightly higher prices on the menu, I figured I was in for a treat.
It turns out, while this is a fine place to grab a nice vegan meal, it’s just not that exciting. In fact, I had a hard time describing it here, just because there was nothing great nor awful to say about it. It seems like the kind of place you’d go with your workmates for an office lunch. If you’re in the neighbourhood, give it a look-in, otherwise, don’t bother.
I ate: The MD Burger. The patty is made from ground seitan and has a nice meaty texture but, as with most veggie burgers, it was a little flavourless. The toppings on the MD Burger are Big Mac-style, with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a “special sauce”. Overall, this was a great fresh burger and the accompanying fries were almost perfect!
The Dutch Weed Burger Joint
Vegan burgers with no “medicinal” ingredients
A little burger and fries joint on a backstreet in Amsterdam west, The Dutch Weed Burger Joint has a pretty cool concept. They use Dutch Weed, that is, Dutch seaweed, to create a nutrient-rich burger patty from one of the most renewable plants on the planet.
We’ve been a couple of times and the burgers are very tasty. If you want to take your plant-based eating to the next level of sustainability, drop by!
Vegan Breakfast, Pancakes, and Brunch
The Happy Pig Pancake Shop
Omnivore snack bar reimagining pancakes as street food
The Happy Pig is taking vegan pancakes to the streets of Amsterdam.
If you’re in central Amsterdam and you have a hankering for vegan pancakes, The Happy Pig is happy to help. They offer vegan and “gluten light” options, plus a good range of waffles.
This is not by any means a must-eat in Amsterdam but it is a good place to get your pancake fix as you wander the city’s pretty streets. Unfortunately, despite their name, they also serve decidedly unhappy pigs and other meat products.
We ate: Pancakes, of course. They have a good range of vegan toppings, so you can go sweet or savoury. I recommend one of each.
Touristy pancake chain with vegan and gluten-free options
It’s the law that if you go to Amsterdam, you need to eat Dutch-style pancakes. OK, it’s my law – but you must obey!
So, I was happy to find that the touristy Pancakes Amsterdam now offers a separate vegan menu — ask for it when you arrive. Unfortunately, they don’t have a lot of vegan topping options — no ice cream, chocolate sauce, or chocolate sprinkles (sad face) — but you can go for the classics, like stroop or lemon and sugar.
We ate: Vegan pancake with stroop. Not the best vegan pancakes I’ve ever had (I make those at home!) but good for a snack.
Beter & Leuk
Cute almost-vegan cafe with breakfast and lunch
Beter & Leuk is the perfect place to go on a sunny winter afternoon.
This little cafe features homey decorations, a bright front window, and a few sidewalk tables for sunny afternoons. Beter & Leuk is such a cute spot, you’ll want to hang out all afternoon — which explains why it was packed out I went on a Saturday for lunch. If I lived nearby, this is the kind of place I’d come on a regular basis, but to be honest, as a tourist, it’s not unmissable.
They serve up homestyle breakfasts, including pancakes, and lunches that revolve around the soup-salad-sandwich access. The vegan breakfast for two, including scone, pancakes, smoothie bowl, and a savoury sandwich, sounds awesome. Alas, I was only one!
I ate: They were out of tempeh for the tempeh sandwich, so I ordered a soup and salad of the day. The salad was a mixed cold plate with hummus, mayo, with a mostly lentil salad assortment. The sweet potato soup was thick and nicely spiced with autumn flavours.
The food was really good but not that exciting, as it was nothing I couldn’t readily make at home.
Vegan Fast Food
Omnivore modern food court
There’s a decent range of vegan options at Foodhallen in Amsterdam.
Three years ago, we stayed just around the corner from Foodhallen for a couple of weeks and there was almost nothing vegan there. Fast-forward to today, when there are vegan options at about 50% of the vendors. At various stalls, you can get burritos, burgers, dumplings, salads, dumplings, and a Poke bowl. There’s only one all-vegetarian stall: Padron.
We ate: At Dim Sum Thing we ate vegan gyoza and steamed buns. They were good but obviously not as good as the ones we’ve eaten in China!
Want to get away but can’t find the cash for overpriced flights? Have no fear, our 7 ways to find cheap flights will save you money, so you can spend less on flights and more on fun!
This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.
The holidays are here, which means the lines to go through security checkpoints at airports seemingly stretch all the way from Amsterdam to Azerbaijan. Millions of people travel during this peak time of year.
Budget-minded travelers often endure increased stress and anxiety regarding holiday travel because they erroneously assume that prices will be sky-high during this time of year.
Flying during the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive.
But there’s no need to fret.
While airlines certainly do set prices based on projected volume in a rush to make a profit, savvy travelers know there are still ways to save.
Read on for seven tips for saving money on your next flight, no matter what time of year you jet off.
When an airline or travel site sees, for example, that you have made repeated searches for flights around the same time and to the same destination, they might show you higher prices on each visit.
Naturally, this makes you think that the cheap seats are selling fast, and you’ll be more likely to book immediately.
Fortunately, every browser makes it simple to use private browsing, which prevents cookies from being detected and saved.
If you’re on a PC, right click on the icon of your favorite web browser, and a list will come up. Look for words such as “start incognito session” or “begin private browsing.” Click, and voila! You are now free to browse for better prices as often as you like.
2. Flexible? Check a Variety of Dates!
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, being flexible with the dates and departure times can save you considerable cash. The dreaded red eye can be a boon for bargain fare shoppers, and as a bonus, you’re generally treated to a quieter flight.
Flights departing on Sunday, Monday and Friday usually cost the most so, if at all possible, try to book a Tuesday or Wednesday flight to save dough.
Fly mid-week to save money on flights and increase your chances of an empty seat next to you!
If you’re just looking to get away and don’t particularly care where you end up, you can save thousands simply by booking a getaway to a less popular destination. Even if you have a specific destination in mind, always check for nearby airports.
Flights to larger airports usually cost less, so you may save money overall by flying into an airport an hour or two from your destination and simply renting a car at the airport — or ask a friend or family member give you a lift!
3. Plan an Alternative to Airport Parking
Speaking of those handy dandy friends with wheels, don’t overlook the huge savings you can realize simply by not parking in the overpriced — and slightly unsafe — airport parking lot. For your departure, find a friend who can run you to the airport, hop on a bus, or grab an Uber.
At your destination, choose a hotel adjacent to the airport, or one with a free shuttle service, so there’s no need to spend money on a rental car. If a rental car becomes a must, search the local Groupon and LivingSocial to find a bargain on your vehicle.
4. Avoid Extra Fees by Traveling Light
In the good old days, commercial airlines provided amenities like snacks, drinks and even regular bagging checking for free.
Now, they nickel and dime us by charging fees for everything from checking baggage — usually paid by the pound — to internet access and that very medicinal cocktail you need to recover from making it through security.
Packing light will help you save money on flights.
This will help you avoid any checked bag fees and leave you with a bit of cash in your wallet, so you can still afford that much needed gin and tonic mid-flight.
5. Follow Your Fav Airlines on Social Media
Sometimes, airlines have half-empty planes and need to slash prices to avoid losing money, but TV and radio ad spots are pricey. Luckily, airlines have embraced social media as not just a way to build their brand, but also to advertise absolute steals on deals when their flights aren’t filled to capacity.
To save money, simply go to your favorite airline’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and follow them!
Another pro tip is to occasionally comment on the content the airline posts, even when the posts are not related to rock bottom ticket prices. This ensures that social media algorithms recognize that you’re interested in their posts, and you’ll have more chance of seeing the deals when they do get posted.
6. Set Up Alerts
It’s 2018, and for just about every human need, there’s an app for that. Several apps, such as Skyscanner and Next Vacay, search airline and travel sites to send you alerts when air prices plummet.
For best results, be sure to take the time to personalize your travel alert app of choice! You can include things such as preferred travel dates and which airports you like to fly from.
The more specific you make your preferences, the more likely you are to get alerts for deals you can actually use.
7. Get a Travel Credit Card — and Use It Wisely!
Love earning free upgrades and even free flights? Trade in your old credit card for one that rewards you in travel miles! The key to amassing the most points is using your travel card wisely.
Use it instead of your debit card for everyday purchases, but take care to pay down the balances before interest charges accrue. This may mean paying your card down weekly, but you will be amazed at just how quickly your travel miles accumulate. It’s well worth the extra step to save hundreds — or even thousands!
Even at the busiest times of the year, it’s still possible to score sweet travel deals.
Now that you’re armed with the tools to do so, get out there and see the world! PSECU, a credit union in Pennsylvania, has created this helpful graphic with even more tips on saving money on your travels!
We hope our savvy ways to find cheap flights help you save hundreds on your next trip! After all, the less you spend on your flight, the more you’ll have to spend on enjoying your destination!
Looking for the right place to practice yoga in Amsterdam? There are so many studios in the city that finding one is easy – choosing is the hard part. Our guide brings together some of the best options in a variety of styles, so you can easily find the studio that’s right for you!
When you think of Amsterdam you might not immediately think of yoga. Amsterdam is more closely associated with Van Gogh or Rembrandt, canals and bicycles, and of course, the coffeeshops where you don’t order coffee.
But the Amsterdam yoga scene is huge — there are a ton of options in every neighborhood. It’s a perfect way to stretch out your body after too many hours wandering the canals and museums.
This is why most people come to Amsterdam.
Whether you’re looking for Yin, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Vinyasa, Hatha, or you don’t know what you’re looking for, there is definitely a class for you. We practiced in a few studios while we were staying in Amsterdam and chose our favourites for this guide.
Most studios offer drop-in fees and almost all have classes in English, which is great for travellers like us.
We noticed that several yoga studios in Amsterdam seems to be shifting to a subscription method — which we LOVE. For a flat rate (between €55 and €99 per month) you get access to all classes at the studio. So if you’re in town for a while you might want try this option.
Get Your Printable Map & Guide to Amsterdam Yoga
Before you read the post, grab this downloadable guide to Amsterdam yoga. It includes a map to all the places in this post, plus a guide to the Amsterdam’s best vegan food.
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Once you have the downloadable guide, read on for…
Your Guide to Finding the Right Amsterdam Yoga Studio for Your Practice
3 locations in Amsterdam Price: €15 single class / €50 ten-class pack / €70 unlimited monthly (other packages available)
I chose Patrick Vermeulen’s vinyasa class at Svaha Yoga (and stayed for a free meditation session afterwards). The class was at their downtown studio in one of the oldest and most historic alleyways of Amsterdam.
Patrick offered clear instructions, was very attentive to the students, and offered manual adjustments when appropriate. He did a great job of making us feel at ease in the practice, while also encouraging us to push our boundaries in the postures.
The downtown studio is right off the Kalverstraat, in the heart of the popular shopping district, which means you get to practice yoga to the hum of the city. That’s another way of saying you’ll likely be able to hear people chatting and laughing in the cafés and bars below the studio while you’re practicing.
With three yoga studios in Amsterdam (Svaha also has a studio in the Jordaan and one in North Amsterdam) you should be able to easily visit one of them from your accommodation.
2 locations in Amsterdam Style: Lots of variety based on your intention for class Price: €10 single class / €50 ten-class pack / €55 unlimited monthly (other packages available)
I took the Sweat & Flow class at the Yagoy West studio with Iris van Opstal. Iris did a good job of helping us let the city drop away as we stepped into our flow. It wasn’t as sweaty as I was expecting based on the name but we did build some heat.
Yagoy offer classes all day at two locations, which means you should be able to find something that meets your needs. They make it easy to book a class and their drop-in fee is affordable, so no excuses!
De Pijp, Ceintuurbaan 243 Style: Vinyasa, Yin, Yoga Nidra Price: €15 single class / €100 ten-class pack / €65 unlimited monthly (other packages available)
Anna Smit runs this beautiful and serene one-room Sukha Yoga studio in Amsterdam where they focus on quality teaching and building community. Sukha offers vinyasa and yin classes daily, plus some yoga nidra classes during the week.
Classes are in Dutch or English. Just let the teacher know before class if you don’t speak Dutch and they will make sure to give you instructions in English.
Other Recommended Amsterdam Yoga Studios
4 studios in Amsterdam Style: Astanga focus, also offer other varieties
Delight Yoga offers more than 300 classes per week across their locations! Rooted in Astanga Yoga, they also offer hatha, vinyasa, yin, restoratives, basics, prenatal, and meditation classes.
Central Amsterdam, Eerste Rozendwarsstraat 10 Style: A variety of Yang Hatha, Yin, 50+, Yang Vinyasa, Core Flow, and Meditation
All teachers at Yoga Garden teach Functional Yoga. That means they are more interested in how you feel than in how you look in the poses. At Yoga Garden they believe that your yoga practice should not try to make you into something you are not, but to stimulate you to become the best version of yourself possible.
They teach a variety of yang hatha, yin, 50+, yang vinyasa, core flow, and meditation.
Amsterdam Hot Yoga
Amsterdam West, Overtoom 230-232 Style: A range of styles all in a heated studio
Movements is a hot yoga and fitness studio offering Hatha, vinyasa, yin, pilates, and barre classes all in a heated environment. Their mission is to make everyone feel right at home.
All classes are open to all levels — beginners are always welcome.
Jordaan, Rozengracht 191 Style: Hot Power Yoga
If you’re looking to work hard and sweat while doing it, Equal Yoga is for you. They promise an incredible workout for both your body and mind as you sweat, burn, tone, relax, and de-stress — all in one class!.
Equal Yoga claim their classes are the toughest in town. They teach 60-minute set sequences that combine a mix of graceful flows for flexibility followed by static postures for core strength.
Iyengar Yoga in Amsterdam
We often stop in at the local Iyengar studio when we travel, but I didn’t get a chance in Amsterdam. The great thing about Iyengar studios is that you can be sure your teacher will be well educated and a proficient educator. Amsterdam has three Iyengar studios.
Live Yoga — Iyengar Yoga Shala Amsterdam
Amsterdam East, Celebesstraat 6 Style: Iyengar
Live Yoga is a non-dogmatic and down-to-Earth studio. They offer weekly classes, workshops, and events with a warm community ambiance. Personal attention is central to their classes and you will definitely learn something here!
BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute Amsterdam
Amsterdam East, Nieuwe Achtergracht 138 Style: Iyengar
As with any Iyengar studio, unless you are a regular student of Iyengar Yoga, it is recommended that you attend Level 1 classes. If you would like to attend Level 2 or Level 3 we strongly recommend (and at some studios it’s essential) that you get permission from the teacher first.
Pre-registration is not necessary. Just come down 15 minutes before class to sign in and pay.
Yoga Retreats in Amsterdam
If you want to dedicate a few days of your stay in Amsterdam to yoga and mindfulness, one of these retreats might be perfect.
3 Days Yoga Retreat in Amsterdam
This homey yoga retreat is on a small lake about 20 minutes metro ride from Amsterdam’s city centre. You will have a daily yoga class and an evening guided meditation, while the day itself is left to you. Pop into Amsterdam to wander the canals or just enjoy the peace and quiet of the Netherlands beautiful nature.
About 1.5 hours by train from Amsterdam, this yoga retreat focusses on deep relaxation. Suitable for yoga novices or advanced yogis, the program will be tailored to your specific needs. When yoga is finished, you can sit and soak in the view from the house or get outside onto one of the many walking trails in the area.
Get Your Printable Map & Guide to Amsterdam Yoga & Vegan Food
Don’t forget your map & guide to Amsterdam yoga to take with you. It includes a map to all the places in this post, plus a guide to the Amsterdam’s best vegan food.
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We hope you found this guide to yoga in Amsterdam useful! Our goal is to make it easy for you to find the right class. If you did get a chance to practice in Amsterdam, let us know in the comments below.
♥ Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen
We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
Renting a bike in Amsterdam is exciting, fun, and by far the best way to get around. But it can also be hectic and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Before you rent that bike, read this post!
What’s in our guide to renting bikes in Amsterdam?
The truth is, renting a bike in Amsterdam is almost as easy as getting a cup of coffee in Seattle. There are bike shops everywhere, your hotel might have a rental station, or your Airbnb host will tell you where to get one.
Below, we share a few recommendations for where to rent a bike in Amsterdam. But, more importantly, we share essential tips and advice on everything that comes after the bike rental – namely riding a bike in Amsterdam. That’s where things can quickly get tricky!
Cycling in Amsterdam is not easy!
The sheer number of bikes on the road makes it a crazy experience!
There are so many bikes in Amsterdam, it can make riding a little scary!
But that’s not all that sets cycling in Amsterdam apart from other cities. There are unique hazards, specific rules of the road, and a very tricky city layout.
Before you hop on that bike, take a few minutes to get familiar with the quirks of riding a bike in Amsterdam – so you can have a great (and safe) ride!
Keep reading for…
Everything you Need to Know Before Renting a Bike in Amsterdam
Given the saturation of Amsterdam bike hire shops, I was surprised to see a pretty wide range of rental prices. You’ll get the cheapest bike rentals in Amsterdam city centre, near Central Station and Dam Square. As you venture further out, and the options thin out, prices tend to rise.
Average rental prices for Amsterdam bikes are:
€6–9 for 3 hours
€10–12 for 24 hours
The experience of riding a bike in Amsterdam is totally priceless!
Best Bike Rental in Amsterdam
As I said earlier, it’s totally easy to find a place for bike rental in Amsterdam. If you like to plan ahead, these are three of the most popular rental spots.
Bike City Amsterdam
If you want to blend in with the crowd while you’re on your bike, opt for bike rental from Bike City in the Jordaan, where they rent “inconspicuous bikes”.
We like Bike City because they are a small business and say on their website that they make an effort to keep their business environmentally friendly. At €17 per day, they are more expensive than some of the bigger games in town but you’ll probably end up on a much better bike!
Yellow Bike Amsterdam
With two locations just a couple of minutes’ walk from Central Station, Yellow Bike charges €12 for a 24-hour rental. In addition to renting bikes, they also lead daily bicycle tours in the city and in the countryside around Amsterdam.
Riding one of these bright yellow bikes will identify you as a tourist, which can be a good thing, because it lets locals know to steer well clear of you!
MacBike has locations all over Amsterdam and rents a range of bikes, including hand-brake bikes, kids’ bikes, and electric bikes. Price for a basic bike is €10 for a day. MacBikes are bright red, so no one will mistake you for a local on one of these bikes.
For an extra Euro, you can grab one of MacBikes’ self-guided tour maps to the art, architecture, canals, and many more features that make Amsterdam so special. I totally regret missing out on this while I was in the city!
Riding a bright red bike in Amsterdam will set you apart as a tourist, which can be a good thing in this case!
What Types of Bikes can you Rent in Amsterdam?
Bike rental prices can also vary based on the type of bike you want to rent. Most bike rental shops in Amsterdam offer a few types of bikes.
Bike with Foot Brakes
Foot-brake bikes are the typical bikes in Amsterdam and are also the cheapest to rent. Instead of hand levers that initiate the front and back brake, you stop these bikes by pedalling backwards. The catch is, if you haven’t ridden a foot-brake bike since you were a little kid (we certainly hadn’t) then it takes a while to get used to it.
They are tricky because you can’t brake if you take your feet off the pedals for balance. There were a couple of times when I almost rolled out into traffic because of it! So if you opt for a foot brake bike, take it slow until you get used to the mechanism.
Bike with Hand Brakes
Hand-brake bikes usually cost a little more to rent but might be worth it for the extra control they give you — especially if this is the type of bike you’re used to riding.
Some shops rent smaller bikes for your kids — which is only recommended if you have very responsible children with lots of cycling experience. If you want to brave the streets with a tiny toddler (again, not recommended unless you’re a very experienced rider), you can even rent a bike with a child seat.
Since Amsterdam is totally flat, an e-bike isn’t much of a benefit on a short in-city ride. But, if you want to see the Dutch countryside by bike — which we totally recommend — then hopping on an e-bike might be a great idea.
It will give you a bigger range and allow you to go a little faster on Amsterdam’s wide, well-paved bike lanes. It’s also a blessing if The Netherlands infamous wind decides to start blowing in your face.
Unless you’re a confident cyclist, be cautious with your speed. Faster means more damage if you come off the bike.
Long Term Bike Rental in Amsterdam
If you’re going to be in Amsterdam for a week or more, check out Swapfiets. For €15/month, you get your own bicycle provided by Swapfiets.
The best part? If anything breaks, they will deliver a working bike to you within one day! If the repair is minor, they will fix the bike on the spot for you.
What an incredible deal!
Grab your free printable Amsterdam trip planner
We created a free printable Amsterdam itinerary planner. It’ll help you create the perfect 2 day itinerary for Amsterdam, plus it includes a map to all the places mentioned in our guide to 2 days in Amsterdam!
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Rules of the Road in Amsterdam
If you’re not a confident cyclist or haven’t been on a bike for a few years, it’s probably not the best idea to rent a bike to ride around the centre of Amsterdam. Yes, there are some wide separated bike lanes but they are crowded with other cyclists, electric motor-scooters, pigeons, trams, and frequently by errant pedestrians.
Cycling through the city is by no means a relaxing experience. Heck, I’ve cycled almost all the way around the world, on the streets of cities such as Jakarta, Beijing, and Kuala Lumpur, and I had a few scary moments on my bike in Amsterdam.
Make your Amsterdam bike rental a little more enjoyable by learning the rules of the road before you ride.
So, before your ride in Amsterdam, make sure you know these rules of the road.
While many cyclists in Amsterdam do use hand signals, many don’t. Do yourself a favour and use them, no matter what. Local cyclists move fast and if you turn or stop without signalling, they might just plow right into you.
You don’t need to know the fancy official hand signals either. Just use your right-hand to point right when you’re turning right and your left hand to point left. If you’re going to stop, point your left hand towards the ground with your palm facing towards the back of your bike.
Always avoid sudden stops in the bike lane – getting rear-ended by another bike is never fun.
Stop at Crosswalks
Since Amsterdam’s bike lanes are like mini roads, complete with traffic lights, stop lines and turning lanes, usually the rules are similar to those for driving.
The most difficult one to remember is that you’re supposed to stop at crosswalks when people are waiting to cross. Lots of cyclists don’t stop, so don’t forget to signal!
Ride on the Right
This is another rule that is variably followed.
As a visitor, you will probably be slower than most local cyclists. Riding to the far right of the bike lane lets faster bikes pass easily – and also leaves room for those annoying motor-scooters to pass.
There is one exception. If the bike lane has a row of cars parked to the right, then ride in the centre of the lane to give yourself some clearance if a car door should suddenly be flung open.
Don’t Ride the Wrong Way on Bike Paths
In many cities, it’s kind of OK to ride in the wrong direction on a bike path. In Amsterdam, don’t even think about it. The bike lanes are too busy to have traffic coming from the wrong direction.
Crossing Where Streets Meet
In Amsterdam, there are lots of places where two roads cross and there is no yield sign or stop sign. If you’re on a side road and crossing a larger road, then the main road has the right of way.
If the two roads are equally small, technically the traffic on your left is supposed to yield if you’re going straight through. But never count on this, as many people don’t know and don’t follow the rules.
Instead, make eye contact with anyone crossing your path. If you’re still not sure, yield to the crossing traffic and wave them through.
Don’t Ride in Squares or Pedestrian Areas
If you don’t see any locals riding their bikes in a certain space, you can safely assume that’s because you’re not allowed to ride there. Don’t ride in the pedestrianized shopping streets or big squares like the Dam and Leidseplein.
Don’t Drink and Ride
Alcohol and drugs do not mix well with bicycles. Period. You need 100% of your senses alive and active to stay safe while riding a bike in Amsterdam.
Hazards of Renting a Bike in Amsterdam
Remember what I said? Renting a bike in Amsterdam is easy — while riding a bike in Amsterdam can be terrifying!
Surprisingly, cars are the least of your worries while cycling in Amsterdam. Here’s what you should look out for:
We love riding the tram but as cyclists, we hate tram tracks.
Not only can you catch your front wheel in one but they are slippery little devils, too. Luckily, most rental bikes in Amsterdam have tires that are too wide to get caught in the narrow tram tracks.
Still, keep an eye out for them and take it slow, especially if you have to turn across a set of tracks in the rain.
While trams are pretty good about stopping at crosswalks, they can be a hazard when you’re crossing at an unmarked intersection. Remember to look out for trams as well as cars when you cross the road or make a turn.
If there’s one thing that is threatening to completely ruin Amsterdam, it’s motor scooters. Having been in many cities (like Hanoi) where scooters make walking and cycling unplesant and dangerous, I’d hate to see the same happen to such a pedestrian– and cycle–friendly city!
At the moment, for some crazy reason, Dutch law allows scooters going less than 25kph to ride in the bike lanes. Unfortunately, they often driven by young speedsters who don’t abide by the rules. Even the slow scooters are so wide they have to pass uncomfortably close.
Ah yes, tourists are the number two thing that is ruining Amsterdam, of course! Everyone hates a tourist, right?
(Personally, I’m rather fond of tourists, unless they happen to be straying into the bike lane I’m using.)
Especially in the city centre, don’t expect pedestrians to behave well – they are either too wasted or too busy admiring the tall skinny houses to notice such trifling details as a bicycle bearing down on them.
Other tourists can be one of the biggest hazards when you’re cycling in Amsterdam.
As if my regular pigeon-phobia wasn’t enough, I really don’t need them flapping in my face when I’m operating a vehicle! Both Stephen and I had more than one close encounter with pigeons while we were cycling in Amsterdam. So watch out for their icky, flappy little wings.
Though I wouldn’t say Dutch cyclists are aggressive, they are certainly not shy when it comes to passing, cutting you off, or entering a bike lane already full of bikes. I’ve never seen an Amsterdam cyclist actually run anybody down but it can be nerve-wracking to find yourself in a pack of them.
Just breathe deeply and let them pass!
Your Own Stupid Self
The biggest hazard on the roads of Amsterdam is your own stupid self.
You know who I’m talking about!
We all have that person inside of us who acts first and regrets it later. While you’re on two wheels in Amsterdam, always keep your full attention on your bike and the hazards around you. Just because local cyclists roll along texting, drinking a coffee, or doing their make-up, doesn’t mean you should!
Where to Ride a Rental Bike in Amsterdam
Unless you’re very comfortable on a bike – we’re talking daily commute to work or have ridden a bike around the world comfortable – don’t try to ride your rental bike through Amsterdam city centre. At best, it will be stressful and exhausting, at worst, you will get hurt.
But you can have a great time exploring the outer reaches of Amsterdam where the bike trails are wide and the crowds are thin.