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Urban Adventures Blog by Sebastian De Romijn - 14h ago

Welcome to Cape Town – a colourful and diverse blend of cosmopolitan culture, rich history and spectacular scenery. The compact city centre is ideally situated between a bustling harbour and the iconic Table Mountain which provides a breath-taking backdrop wherever your standing!  There’s something for everyone here – from unique shops, street vendors, cafés and restaurants to exciting architecture, street art, craft markets, theatres and museums.

Getting to and from CPT airport

CPT is the second-busiest airport in South Africa, so be organised and plan your onward route!  Depending on your budget (and how long you’re spending here) there are a few options to get to the city centre.  The MyCiTi Airport station is located in the main Airport terminal and has level access into the arrivals and departures hall for domestic and international flights. The MyCiTi A01 bus departs the Airport every 30 minutes (on the hour and at 30 minutes past the hour) and costs R100 for a one-way ticket.

If you’re taking a taxi, be sure to choose a branded, metered one (such as Unicab) which will cost around R200.

You could also use the Uber app to book a car to take you to your destination; this will allow you to agree a fare in advance, find out the name of your driver and pay by either cash or card.

Getting Around the City

Taking the Metro. Photo credit: Cape Town Urban Adventures

Cape Town is pretty compact, so walking from place to place is easy here, as long as you take the necessary safety precautions – be warned, drivers often don’t follow the rules here and the ‘green men’ on pedestrian crossings don’t always work as they should!

If you’d rather use the MyCiTi buses, you can buy a myconnect card for R35 from a MyCiTi station kiosk.  You can top-up your myconnect card and use it to tap in and out of any journeys you take.  If you decide to use the MyCiTi buses during your stay, it’s a good idea to do a little research on the routes available – sometimes it can be quicker to walk! Buses run between 0500hrs and 1900hrs, so it’s best to use taxis or Ubers for afternoon/evening journeys.

Taxis within the city centre will cost roughly R50 to R150 – make sure you choose a branded one.  Alternatively, book an Uber to get from place to place.

A “hop on – hop off” bus is available and costs between R200 and R400 per adult, depending on the package you choose.

For a truly local experience (or should that say white-knuckle ride!) try a minibus taxi – these are cheap – a bit cramped and crazy, but very original and fun!

Things to do in the City

Check out the murals at Salt River with Urban Adventures. Photo credit: Cape Town Urban Adventures

Visit the Newlands Stadium for a classic sport experience in (arguably!) the most beautiful sports ground in the world.  See the Cape Cobras cricket team in action during the summer months or the Western Province rugby team in winter.  Boasting magnificent views of Table Mountain and an electric atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place to visit – whether you’re a sports enthusiast or not!  Buy tickets online or at the stadium.

Find the Fugard Theatre in the historic Sacks Futeran building in District 6. There’s a wide variety of productions  to choose from throughout the year, including theatre plays, music events and cinema events in the bioscope.  Tickets typically cost between R150 and R300 and can be booked via the website.

Visiting in March? Don’t miss the glamorous Cape Town Carnival, a colourful annual celebration of local customs.  Seated tickets cost R350 and give you a spectacular bird’s eye view from a bleacher-style terraced platform.  Grab the opportunity to experience “a jolt of energy, a call to action and a celebration of human potential” at this dazzling event!

Discover some of the city’s best street art in the Salt River Area. Here you’ll find a large collection of murals sponsored by  Baz Art, a non-profit organization who are highlighting the power of street art to bring positive change to a community. Discover the story behind this street art revolution on Urban Adventures’ Salt River Art tour.

For more ideas on how to get the best from your visit to Cape Town, take a look at What’s on in Cape Town or Cape Town magazine.

Movies set in Cape Town

Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington shot the movie Safe House in Cape Town. Reynolds said in an interview that he loved the city and especially missed dining out at Mzoli’s, a legendary street food vendor. Photo credit: Universal Pictures

Action thriller Safe House (2012) features Ryan Reynolds as a CIA agent looking after a fugitive (Denzel Washington) in a Cape Town safe house.  When the safe house is compromised he finds himself on the run with his charge.  It took nearly three months to build the safe house used in the film on a makeshift soundstage at the former 3 Arts Theatre.  There’s plenty of Cape Town’s signature scenery on offer in this movie, from Table Mountain to Langa and the city centre.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) explores Nelson Mandela’s life from his childhood in the tiny village of Mvezo to his democratic election as president of South Africa.  See Mandela (Idris Elba) walk on the balcony of Cape Town’s City Hall and scenes of Robben Island where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years imprisoned.

Music

Get into the Cape Town spirit with local band Freshlyground’s catchy, toe-tapping tracks – guaranteed to get you in the mood for your visit to the Mother City!  Following the release of their debut album Jika Jika in 2003, Freshlyground have enjoyed continuing success with tours across the globe and seven more popular albums.  Former US President Barack Obama described them as an example of South Africa’s contributions to the world – Barack’s clearly got great taste in music as this band offers positive, uplifting sounds to reflect eclectic Cape Town (plus a very amusing tongue-in-cheek video to their song “Chicken to Change”, which, believe it or not, has a serious political message!)

The post The Complete Guide to Cape Town appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Urban Adventures Blog by Sebastian De Romijn - 2d ago

Discover our local guide Sebastian’s top 5 things to do in his home town from hiking and biking to eating and drinking:

Hike Table Mountain

Spine-tingling views of Cape Town await at the top of Cable Mountain. Photo credit: WikiCommons

During the summer months (November to March) the best time to hike Table Mountain is before 0630hrs – if you start much later, you’ll probably find it way too hot to handle!  In exchange for your early start (and 1.5 to 2-hour hike!) you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable view of the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Twelve Apostles, Mitchell’s Plain and the Cape Flats – bring your camera!  If you’re lucky (and set off early enough!) you might even get to enjoy the spectacular view all to yourself.

More of a night owl than an early bird? We get it!  Luckily late risers won’t miss out on the incredible panoramic views on offer – so enjoy a lay in and leisurely brunch before heading to Table Mountain around 1300hrs. Added bonus –  the cable car is usually open between 0830hrs-1800hrs!

Don’t forget, the weather on Table Mountain can be changeable, no matter what time of the year (or day!) you visit – so be sure to check the website just before you set off.

Cycle your way around the Promenade

Head to the Sea Point pavilion and hire a bike from Up Cycles drop-and-go bicycle rental.  From here, there’s direct access to the Promenade, the safest place to ride a bike in Cape Town. It’s flat, wide and traffic-free with lots to do along the way – as well as the many restaurants and cafés, you’ll pass quirky art installations, outdoor gyms, mini golf, kids playgrounds and even a maze! Make your way to the red-and-white striped Green Point Lighthouse and over the road to Green Point Urban Park for awesome views of the Cape Town Stadium, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head.

Discover the charming False Bay area

See the colourful bathhouses of Muizenberg on Urban Adventures’ False Bay By Train with Lunch tour. Photo credit: Cape Town Urban Adventures

Join our Cape Town tour guides for a scenic morning train ride from Cape Town to False Bay.  This hop-on-hop-off tour departs at 0900hrs and will take you to several local harbour suburbs around the False Bay area, all of which contribute to the unique atmosphere of the Western Cape!

Hop off the train at the charming town of Muizenberg and visit the scenic beach. Here you will learn about South African surf history at one of the best surfing beaches in the country and depending on the season, you may even spot a Great White shark!  Weather permitting, you’ll walk along the coast to the trendy harbour town of Kalk Bay; if the sun’s not shining then just hop back on the train and check out a few of the other local towns along the way.

Chat to the people of False Bay and learn about the local history before indulging in a traditional mixed seafood lunch or delicious beach picnic.  Finish with a farewell drink at the Brass Bell, a warm and welcoming pub in beautiful Kalk Bay, which is loved by visitors and locals alike.

Stroll the V&A Waterfront

Visit one of Africa’s most visited destinations, the V&A Waterfront. Perched on the edge of a natural working harbour with views of the ocean, city bowl and Table Mountain, it offers history, culture and a cosmopolitan array of leisure, shopping and entertainment.  This huge complex is split into districts with attractions including a huge food market, shopping mall, big wheel and aquarium.  With something for everyone, this is the perfect place to hang out with family and friends!

The Constantia Wine Route

Get acquainted with some of the best South African wine as you stroll the Constanzia Wine Route

Visit the leafy suburb of Constantia for an epic wine tasting journey! The unmissable Constantia Wine Route offers breath-taking views, beautiful vineyards and some of the most spectacular wines outside of Europe.  With magic and beauty in abundance, a visit to this world class attraction will give you the chance to sample award-winning wines in an unbelievable location.  The Groot Constantia estate offers a Visitors Route where you can explore South African art, culture and history alongside world-class cuisine and exceptional wines – if that’s not a perfect pairing, we don’t know what is!

The post Things to do in Cape Town appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Urban Adventures Blog by Patrick Zinzberger - 2d ago

Let our local guide Patrick help you plan your perfect Vienna trip with his top picks for what to see and do while you’re in town:

Get a taste of 19th century opulence at one of the Habsburg Palaces

The 50ft dome on top of the Hofburg Palace which faces the centre of the city. Photo credit: WikiCommons

Vienna was home to the infamous Habsburg family, a sometimes glamourous, often insane European dynasty that ruled over an ever-changing structure of overlapping lands and kingdoms across Europe from the 13th century to the 20th. They created a series of pleasure palaces in the city, all of which are well worth a visit. The largest and most opulent is the  Schönbrunn Palace, the main summer residence of the family located 15 min drive outside the city, where you can view up to 40 opulent state rooms on the Grand Tour, check out the world’s oldest zoo and stroll around the picturesque palace gardens. The Hofburg Palace in the city centre is a much smaller, yet no less grand affair. This is home to the Spanish Riding School as well as an epic collection of fine Habsburg homeware that you can’t help but gaze at in amazement (there’s a whole room dedicated to gold centrepieces!), plus an exhibition dedicated to Empress Sisi, the most beautiful and scandalous royal in the Habsburg family!

Visit one of our many parks

Our favourite is Türkenschanzpark, a 19th century park that contains a number of rare botanical plants, a pond, multiple playgrounds and a look out tower called Paulinenwarte that offers stunning views across the city. As it’s a bit of a trek from the city centre (20 mins by car, 1 hour on foot), there’s hardly ever any tourists here, but there are plenty of students in the summer months, picnicking, juggling, and playing frisbee; the atmosphere is joyful and relaxed. If you’re looking for a full day of nature-related fun, take yourself off to Lainzer Tiergarten, a nature preserve 45 minutes from the city centre by train (see Oebb for train timetables). The park was originally created by Ferdinand I of Austria in 1561 as a hunting ground for his family but it’s been open to the public since 1919. Plants, animals, guided tours, walking paths and multiple playgrounds should keep you amused for hours.

Drink Viennese Wine

Growing Grüner Veltliner grapes in the vineyards of the stunning Wachau Valley. Photo credit: Vienna Urban Adventures

It’s the best kept secret in the wine world; Austria’s Wachau Valley is producing some of the planet’s best wines but you’ve got to visit to find out what all the fuss is about, because the vineyards are small so global export levels are low at the moment.  The Grüner Veltliner grape is the star of the show. Combine it with soda for a delightful spritz that the locals go crazy for in the summer months.  With plenty of friendly vineyards to visit (we love Johan Donabaum’s magnificent Riesling and Jager’s rather special 2017 Grüner Veltliner), quaint little villages to stroll around and traditional restaurants that make the best spatzle you’ll ever taste in your life, your day will be filled with special moments. And did we mention the blue Danube ebbs and flows its way around the valley and her vineyards?! Vienna Urban Adventures can help you organise a magical, wine-filled day in the Wachau Valley with our wine guru Pablo, the most knowledgeable and friendly sommelier in Vienna. Pablo will pick you up and drop you off so there’s no need to worry about finishing those last glasses at the last winery of the day! And he’ll tailor the tour around you and what you like to drink, with an optional stop at a fabulous restaurant to give you a proper taste of authentic Austrian countryside cooking. Contact us to start planning your best day ever! Or if you fancy a group experience in the city, check out our Wines of Vienna tour, which runs Tues-Sun all year round and offers the chance to taste some of the country’s best wines in some fun and unusual settings.

Gardens of the Belvedere

Still one of Europe’s most famous gardens, a fabulous example of late Baroque garden-style, the Belvedere Gardens are a great place to lose yourself for a few hours. The gardens are free to enter and they also offer some wonderful views of the exquisite Belvedere Palace, which now houses a museum and arguably Austria finest art collection, boasting works by Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka.

Visit the Kahlenberg

The Kahlenberg is a hill within the Vienna Woods that offers sweeping views across the countryside towards Vienna. It’s a popular day-tripping location for locals. Great for a hike amongst idyllic scenery, there’s also a (touristy) restaurant with panoramic terrace and a church and a historic tower to admire. You can walk here as part of your hike (approx. 2 hours from city cenre) or take public transport.

Beethoven Museum

Outside Beethoven’s House and Museum. Photo credit: Vienna Urban Adventures

Get a glimpse into the private life of a music legend at the Beethoven Museum, situated in the actual house where he used to live. You can view many of his private possessions as you make your way through 6 rooms and a pretty courtyard, all themed around certain periods in his life. Beethoven’s music is carefully curated and played in the background of each room, helping to really immerse you in the man’s life and work as you walk around his former home.

Wiener Prater (amusement park)

This is sacred ground for movie fans around the world, featuring in one of the all time great classic movies, The Third Man directed by the mighty Orson Welles. If you’re a movie buff, we’d highly recommend a visit to the Third Man Museum while you’re in town which not only celebrates the film but there’s also exhibits dedicated to its creator and his colourful life too. Meanwhile, there’s plenty to see and do at Wiener Prater, the city’s premier entertainment area; the nostalgia-fest that is the world’s oldest amusement park (showcased beautifully, if slightly creepily by 007 in his 1987 outing, The Living Daylights), famous restaurants, miniature railway, planetarium and lots more.

Naschmarkt

Exploring the vibrant Naschmarkt with Wolfie from Urban Adventures. Photo credit: Vienna Urban Adventures

We love the Naschmarkt every day of the week but if you go on a Saturday, you’ll catch the epic Flea market too which is fascinating to stroll around, even if you’re not in the market for dusty books and ornate antiques. The Naschmarkt is made up of a mouth-watering mix of restaurants, shops, market stalls and street food vendors, it’s the perfect place for breakfast lunch or dinner because there are so many great options to choose from; Austrian, Italian, Turkish, Vietnamese, Chinese, American, Indian, we could go on… Urban Adventures visits the Naschmarkt on our Food, Coffee & Market Morning tour (and we’ll explore other, off the beaten track markets popular with  the locals and help you discover the delightful and enlightening world of Viennese coffee culture). We also visit the Naschmarkt on our Good Evening Vienna! night tour too, taking you to different foodie spots amongst the 120 market stalls, including a chocolate tasting to remember, see below.

Try some of the world’s best chocolate at Zotter

Tasting award-winning chocolate with serious sustainability credentials at Zotter. Photo credit: Urban Adventures

Actually, it was more like the world’s 8th best chocolate in 2017 but that’s good enough for us and you’ll wonder why it wasn’t higher up the list when you taste one of Zotter’s near-perfect chocolate creations. The pumpkin seed chocolate is like nothing we’ve ever tasted before and their 60% Nicuaguran milk chocolate would probably make the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie but we digress; it’s easy to get distracted when you’re tasting so many wonderful things in a relatively short space of time! Zotter have a little shop at the Naschmarkt (see above) and we usually visit them during Urban Adventures’ Good Evening Vienna! tour. Not only do they create incredible chocolate but they’re also doing a lot of cool things to help the communities where they source their cocoa and they recently produced a limited edition chocolate bar with musical artist Sting to raise awareness for one of their many charitable projects. Zotter chocolate is also stocked in some of the city’s luxurious food emporiums, such as Julius Meinl and for those of you looking to pack light, you can grab a bar at the airport (but the choice of exciting flavours is limited here).

Enjoy an Austrian feast at one of Europe’s oldest restaurants

Zum Scwarzen Kameel (meaning ‘The Black Camel’) is a traditional culinary mish mash, part deli, part restaurant, part bar, part patisserie, that offers diners everything they could wish for from an Austrian dining experience; full of flavour local dishes such as beef tafelspitz (the best one we’ve ever eaten was cooked here) and the must-try while you’re in town sachertorte, service with a smile (dressed in an immaculate dinner jacket no less) and knowledgeable sommeliers who know their way around the superb collection of wines the restaurant has in its wine cellar, one of the biggest in the city.

Get to know Vienna with a local by your side on an Urban Adventures Vienna tour and have the Best. Day. Ever!

The post Things to do in Vienna appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Discover the delights of Hungarian cuisine, including our legendary goulash on Urban Adventures’ Budapest Bites & Sights tour. Photo credit: Budapest Urban Adventures

The true character of Hungarian cuisine is based around simple, hearty dishes rich in flavour – the kind that stick to your ribs. It’s safe to say that the most famous Hungarian dish undeniably goes to goulash, a filling, paprika-flavoured soup with beef and some vegetables. Goulash is among those world famous dishes that exist in all kinds of forms around the globe. If one travels around central Europe they might be served goulash in form of a stew (rather than a soup), and some searching on the internet will reveal even more varieties, from goulash with chicken and vegetables, to a variation in the U.S. with noodles, that – to be honest – is so far away from the original that it could easily be renamed.

So, how can we tell which is the real, authentic version of goulash? Well, ask a Hungarian! But if there isn’t one around, we’re here to help you separate fact from goulash fiction.  Without going too deeply into the details, it is good to know that in its earliest forms goulash really started out as a kind of a stew but didn’t include paprika at that time as the Hungarians didn’t use this famous spice until the mid-18th century.

Don’t forget the paprika! Photo credit: Budapest Urban Adventures

But for goulash to become what it is today, paprika was essential. The ground pepper gave the dish not only a nice colour, but a distinct taste, and as the years passed even a symbol for national identity in our decades-long opposition to the Habsburg rule. The latter was probably just as important in the success of goulash as the simplicity of the dish because it became an important element of everyday life beyond the peasantry and found its way to the heart (if not always the picky belly) of the aristocracy.

By the late 19th century when we made our compromise with the Habsburgs, goulash left the kitchens of southeast Hungary and appeared on the menus of restaurants all around the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy where it was mostly known as a stew, while also being a frequent element of the menus at weddings in the Hungarian countryside. Oddly, by the time of its fame, goulash as a stew in Hungarian was referred to as pörkölt, while the name goulash (gulyás in Hungarian) referred to a soup. This is why even now, different dishes can go under the same name, sometimes even in Hungarian restaurants.

But it doesn’t really matter if the dish is listed as pörkölt, a goulash, or even our other famous dish, the paprikash (paprikás), because they are all based on the essential combination of fat, onion, and paprika. As such, they are all closely related. These three ingredients can also be found in fisherman’s soup, an authentic countryside dish with carp that became a nationwide Christmas classic.

The dishes mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg of course; the names that sound familiar for almost everyone visiting Hungary. But when you visit, make sure to try some other unmissable options like the greasy, addictive lángos (deep fried dough), the Transylvanian heritage chimney cake, and the special Hungarian-Jewish cake called flódni (just to name a few). But before you dive in, have a few sips of pálinka, our fruity brandy that cures, burns on the way down, and known to stimulate your appetite.

Get a taste for authentic Hungarian Goulash and learn even more about our best local foods on the Bites and Sites Budapest Food tour.

The post Getting your goulash on in Hungary appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Local Foods

Khao soi is a traditional dish from the north of Thailand, introduced to Chiang Mai by the Chinese Muslims who emigrated here hundreds of years ago. It is made up of egg noodles, curry paste, lime, shallots, pickled cabbage, fried chili and coconut milk and traditionally includes meat but several local restaurants have created their own, extremely tasty vegan versions. See below for recommendations.

Gaeng keaw waan, otherwise known as green curry, is a staple of Thai cooking. The mushroom and tofu version at Reform Kafe has been creating a buzz with travelling vegans since the restaurant went full vegan back in 2017.

Khao klook kapi is fried rice usually served with shrimp paste and sometimes sweet pork. But some local vegan restaurants have developed their own plant-based versions, using tofu paste and I can confirm that it is absolutely delicious!

Tom yum is one of Thailand’s most famous dishes. It’s a type of hot and sour soup that is traditionally made with shrimp but the vegan versions, usually incorporating mushroom and tofu, are really special too.

Restaurants

There’s a buffet of tasty vegan delights to be enjoyed at the Rassamee Dhamma Foundation Charity. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Rassamee Dhamma Foundation Charity – vegan restaurant/take away

This vintage vegan food joint was opened over 30 years ago by the Rasamee Dharma Buddhist Society to serve local people at a reasonable price, encouraging them to eat less meat but not to compromise on delicious flavour.

Menu suggestion: Chinese bread with beans and mushrooms, deep fried spring roll, vegan curries served with rice, noodle salad rolls, khao soi traditional noodles and naam ngiaw, which are egg noodles from the north traditionally served with tomato curries.

Average price for main course: 30-60 baht (average US$1-2)

Address: 269-1 Changphuak road (before Khuang- Singh intersection on the left), Chiangmai Phone: 053-221-501 View on Google maps

Open: Monday – Saturday 06:00-16:00 Closed: Sunday

Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society (Santi Asoke – Buddhist Society)

If you’re all about ‘paying it forward’ this is the restaurant for you! This vegan food place has been managed by the local Santi Asoke Buddhist Society for over 25 years, and food is ‘FREE’ with the expectation that you will buy food for the next person that walks in from the society minimart. It’s very laidback with self-service food/drinks.

Menu suggestion: Rice with deep-fried tofu, curries, noodles and herbal drinks.

Price: Free of charge, in return you can buy some food at the society’s minimart for the next customers.

Location: 42 Mahidol Rd, Suthep,  Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, View on Google Maps

Phone: 081-352-5051

Open: Monday – Friday 06:00-14:00 Closed: Saturday-Sunday

Plenty of options to be had at the ever popular Lychee Restaurant. Photo credit: Lychee

Lychee Restaurant

This is one of the friendliest places in town, serving up healthy breakfasts and afternoon teas during the day amongst chic interior design. A special vegetarian dining menu is offered in the evenings, with several vegan options included, such as tom yum mushroom hotpot.

Menu Suggestion: Fried mushroom with summer salsa, spicy papaya salad, deep-fried tofu with tamarind sauce, tom yum mushroom in hotpot, soya milk waffle with fruit and maple syrup

Price: 100 baht++

Location: 47 Treevana Club Chiangmai, Soi Viengbua, Chotana road, Chang Phuak, Chiangmai. View on Google maps

Phone: 053-221-356

Open: Everyday 08:00-17:00 Happy hour 14:00-17: 00 Buy 1 Get 1 Free drinks

Aum Vegetarian Restaurant

Wildly popular among the vegetarian expat community, this is an innovative little restaurant where flavour takes centre stage. Dishes are beautifully presented and usually served with some sort of ‘twist.’ The second floor is kitted out with pillows and mattresses, presumably to put you in a zen-like state but if the furniture doesn’t get you there, the food certainly will!

Menu Suggestion: Fruit shake, mixed fruit sushi, fresh spring rolls, vegetable pad thai

Price: 100 baht++

Location: 1 4 Suriyawong 5 Rd, Tambon Hai Ya, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 053 278 315

Open: Everyday 10:30-20:30

The yentafo at Jay Kanya Vegetarian Food is very special. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Jay Kanya Vegetarian Food

This local food restaurant was opened by Aunty Kanya, as the locals affectionately refer to her, 16 years ago and her food has become very popular with her neighbours! Kanya prepares and cooks all the food herself every morning (she has to get up super early to do so!), 7 days a week. What she doesn’t know about Thai flavours and spices isn’t worth knowing.

Menu suggestion: Khao klook kapi (rice with tofu paste), khao moo daeng (usually made with pork, this one features tofu), noodle soups such as yentafo & tom yum, rice with curry, stir-fried vegetables & tofu.

Average price for a main course: 30-40 baht (US$1)

Location: Vieangbua road next to Thanin local market Phone: 086 728 2921 View on Google maps

Open: Everyday 07:00-16:30

Takeaways Jay Mai Jumjay Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant

Typical, local vegetarian/vegan dishes, served at low prices and very popular with locals. Occasionally they also offer pizza with vegan cheese, great if you’re craving something from home.

Menu suggestion: Vegetable/mushroom/tofu salad, khao soi, noodle soup and rice with many menu options

Price: 40-60 baht (average 2 dollar)

Location: 155 Suthep Rd, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 090 893 9466

Open: Everyday 10:00-21:00

 

Ko Neng Pa-Thong-Ko (located amongst the Lamyai local market)

Pa-thong-ko is a delicious deep-fried strip of dough eaten in China and southeast Asia. Served up by the artistic ‘Uncle Neng’ the pa-thong-ko at Ko Neng are the best in the city and they come in all sorts of weird and wonderful animal and cartoon shapes. Crocodile pa-thong-ko anyone?

Menu suggestion: Chinese deep-fried pa-thong-ko in the shape of a dragon, elephant, gecko, dinosaur etc. and fresh soya milk, rice congee and eggs

Price: 20-40 baht (average US$1)

Location: Lamyai local market: 90 Wichayanon Rd, Tambon, Chang Mai, View on Google maps  

Phone: 094-637-6333

Open: Everyday 06:00-11:30 (No parking)

 

Tue Kha Kho

This shop and takeaway can best be described as ‘an oldie but a goodie.’ Locals have been visiting for decades to get a taste of their crazy good dipping sauces!

Menu suggestion: Deep-fried tofu and peanut sauce

Price: 20-40 baht (average 1 dollar)

Location: Near Prince Royal School, Kaeonawarat Rd, Wat Ket, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai. View on Google Maps

Phone: 086 917 3091

Open: Monday – Saturday 10:00-17:00

Matae Vegetarian

If you can’t pick just one dish, head here, where a daily rotating buffet of eight homemade vegetarian and vegan dishes await. Pick-and-choose from a variety of curries, veggie stir fries, noodles and fried rice. This unassuming spot is outside the main tourist area but incredibly popular with both locals and expats in the neighbourhood – so go early, as dishes tend to run out after the lunch crowd.

Menu Suggestion: Mushroom curry with brown rice

Price: 40 baht

Location: Sermsuk Rd, Chang Phueak, Chiang Mai. View on Google Maps.

Phone: +66 95 778 8785

Open: Monday to Saturday, 8:00-17:00

Rasamee Dharma Charity and Jay Kanya restaurants (see above) also offer a takeaway service. Street Food

The skill of curry puff making has been perfected at Curry Puff on Arak 5 Road

Curry Puff

Oh curry puffs, how we love thee! There are only three flavours on the menu at this tiny but popular stall in the Old City, but two of those are veggie-friendly. Don’t worry if you can’t decide – they’re perfectly snack-sized, so don’t be ashamed to grab a few of each before you declare your favourite. Find out more by reading our blog post on Chiang Mai’s best curry puffs!

Menu suggestion: Curry puff with bean or taro

Price: 20-30 baht (average 1 dollar) for a box

Location: Arak 5 Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 089 265 9238

Open: Everyday 07:00-21:30

Kluay Tod Bat Que (deep-fried bananas)

Vegan dessert options don’t come more sublime than this, in our humble opinion. A popular dessert across Asia, you HAVE to eat this at least once during your stay (or better yet, every single night!) and we think this may be the best deep-fried bananas in the city. Although we’d highy recommend that you do your research and try a different one each day, just to be sure…

Menu suggestion: Deep-fried bananas, obviously.

Price:  20-30 baht (average 1 dollar)

Location: San Pa Kai, Wat Ket, Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Phone: 098 365 9462

Open: Everyday 08:00-16:00

Roti Pa Dae (crispy roti pancake)

Another sensational dessert option (they do savoury versions too!). The roti pancake originated in Malaysia but the Thai people have embraced it like it was their own, developing some unique Thai fillings to go with it. Pa Dae is one of the most famous stalls in town, run by a mother-daughter duo. Read our post on the best rotee at the night bazaar to find out more.

Menu suggestion: Roti with banana, eggs and chocolate

Price: 25-50 baht (average 1-2 dollar)

Location: Thapae Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Open: Everyday 18:00-24:00

Shopping

Exploring the markets of Chiang Mai with a local guide. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Thanin Local Market (Siriwattana Market)

For fresh vegan ingredients such as tofu, mushroom, vegetables, noodles, rice, etc.

Location: 169 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Chang Phueak, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps          

Open: Everyday 08:00-18:00 (Free parking)

Ton Lamyai Local Market

This bustling flower market is open 24 hours a day and offers everything you could want, including fresh fruit and vegetables, herbal me

dicines, household goods (some of which are vegan-friendly but not all) and plenty of food vendors tempting you with their tasty wares.

Location: 88/1 Wichayanon Rd, Tambon Chang Moi, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai. View on Google maps

Open: Everyday 06:00-18:00 (Parking 30 baht/hour)

Food Tours

Taste Chiang Mai’s best street food and talk to the vendors who make it on Urban Adventures’ Off Grid Food Tour. Photo credit: Chiang Mai Urban Adventures

Join one of Urban Adventures’ immersive  Chiang Mai food tours and discover the people and the stories behind your favourite local dishes. We offer vegan-friendly options for all the stops on our Chiang Mai tours, please let us know your dietary requirements at the time of booking so that we can be prepared. Or you can email us at info@chaingmaiurbanadventures.com.

A Taste of Chiang Mai offers an all-in-one cultural and foodie big hitters itinerary, offering a stomach-pleasing introduction to the best of Chiang Mai. Walk around the markets, visit some of the city’s most beautiful temples and try some of our favourite foods.

The Off-Grid Food Adventure offers a more in-depth look at Chiang Mai’s legendary food scene, exploring the local’s favourite places to chow down around the Thapae, Suandok, and Changphuak Gates. Try dishes such as the world famous Khao Soy that the city is known for and Som Tum Isa. Is your mouth watering yet?! 

The post Vegan/Vegetarian Guide to Chiang Mai appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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For centuries the LGBTQ+ community has felt a special kinship with the Ancient Greeks for their seemingly open attitude towards same sex relationships. From Sappho and her poetry on the island of Lesbos (yes, that’s where the word ‘lesbian’ comes from) to Plato and his recollections of Socrates’ desire for his young, male students.

In modern times, Greece has always been traditionally conservative when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights but this has begun to change. Public support for the LGBTQ+ community has grown significantly in recent years and although same sex marriage isn’t legal at the moment, it seems fairly likely that it will be very soon. The ILGA Europe, which regularly reviews LGBTQ+ rights in European Union member countries wrote a report in 2018 that concluded Greece had made the most improvements when it came to the legal and political rights of its LGBTQ+ citizens than any other country in Europe.

The poet Sappho embracing Erinna, a fellow poet, on the Greek island of Lesbos. Photo credit: Tate Gallery London

A note on the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Ancient Greece

The ancient Greek world is full of fascinating figures that dabbled in the homoerotic world. The love between Achilles and Patroclus is well documented by Homer in the Illiad. Sappho was the head of thiasoi island communities (educated enclaves of women) and regularly wrote poetry about the love she felt for her students. Plato alluded to lesbianism amongst the women of Sparta, remarking in his Symposium that the women “do not care for men, but have female attachments.”  Among the ancient Greek gods and semi gods who practiced homosexuality, Hermaphroditus had womanly breasts and male genitalia, and is considered to be the earliest known figure of an intersex person. Mind you, it may not be totally the gay utopia that everyone seems to think it was today. Check out this myth busting article to find out more.

Things to see and do

Find out our top tips for Athens things to do with our 24 Hours in Athens guide. For LGBTQ+-specific sites and activities, read on…

National Archaeological Museum

Take time to admire the sculptured statues and busts of some of ancient Greece’s most important characters many of whom openly practised homosexuality in some form, such as the bust of Alexander the Great or the statue of Socrates.

Check out some of Athens’ lesser known neighbourhoods on Urban Adventures’ Bohemian Tales of the City Tour. Photo Credit: Athens Urban Adventures

Bohemian Athens Tour

Join Urban Adventures’ Bohemian Tales of Athens tour and discover the alternative history and culture of one of the world’s oldest and greatest capital cities with a local guide by your side, includes snacks too so you won’t go hungry!

Mykonos Day-trip

A few hours ferry trip from Athens is the picturesque party island of Mykonos, the Mecca of LGBTQ+ community in Greece (and beyond). You will find lots of famous bars, clubs and beaches here, some of which are exclusively or not for gays are located in here.

Hit the Beach

Spend the day at Limanakia on the Athens Riviera, a nudist beach that welcomes nudists of any sexual preference, (making it a popular cruising spot for gay men). There are no restaurants or shops nearby so remember to bring a bottle of water and some snacks if you’re planning to hit the sand or the waves for a while.

The International Festival of Women in Lesbos, which is help every year in September. Photo credit: Lesbos Tourist Board

Lesbos Island

A nine hour ferry ride will bring you to Lesvos (more commonly known as Lesbos) Island , the third biggest island in Greece, the home of Sappho, who wrote beautiful poetry about her love for the female sex. With its postcard-pretty villages and stunning landscape, it’s a great place to get lost in. Don’t miss the famous Lesbian seaside village of Skala Eressos where they host the International Women’s Festival every year.

Nightlife

Gazi Neighborhood:

Athens’ most bohemian neighbourhood is at the heart of the LGBTQ+ scene here. Discover gay-friendly restaurants, clubs, theatres and of course, gay bars.

The chic, friendly interior of Enodia Bar in Athens. Photo credit: Enodia Bar

Enodia: Enodia is a traditional Greek-style gay café bar with a pretty private outdoor terrace. The atmosphere is friendly and chilled and the music is solid from Madonna and Lady Gaga to Zorba the Greek-style plate smashing tunes.

€€,Keleou 1, Athina 104 35, Greece

Bear Garage: Decorated in the style of a retro garage, this British-owned Bar is supper-friendly, hosts regular events (check out their Facebook page for listings) and plays a variety of music, from 80’s cheese to disco & house.

€€,Keleou 1 – Metro: Kerameikos Athens,Greece, 10435

Beaver Cooperativa: This is a co-operative and its motto states ‘by and for woman.’ Enjoy coffee, beers and small platters amongst a cool-vibes atmosphere. Men are also welcome.

€, Vasiliou Tou Megalou 46Α, Athina 118 54, Greece

Soudade2 is one of Athens’ most famous gay bars. Photo credit: Soudade2

Sodade 2: Sodade 2 is a stylish gay club with two different dance floors playing today’s hits and electronic music.

€€, Triptolemou 10 , Gazi, Athens 118 54, Greece

Kanella Restaurant: This is a gay friendly restaurant serving traditional Greek mama specialties.

€€,Konstantinoupoleos 70, Athens, 11854

APARTMENT Club: Another famous venue for gay men in Athens hosting party nights with DJs and go-go dancers.

€€,Evmolpidon 26, Athens, Greece, 10437

S-Cape: This legendary nightclub is famous amongst locals for hosting special themed events and other shows

€€, (Admission 5 €, open bar’ nights 12€), Iakchou 32, Athina 118 54, Greece

Commercial Triangle District:

Agia Irini square is one of the trendiest parts of the city, located in the Commercial Triangle District next to the shopping arteries of Ermou and Aiolou Street, the main pedestrian streets of the city. Here you’ll find a whole range of fashionable cafes, bars and restaurants

Rooster:  A must in the square is Rooster, an all-day gay/straight friendly café bar  with great meals and chilled-atmosphere that hosts often DJs .

€€, Pl. Agias Irinis 4, Athina 105 60, Greece

Koukaki Neighborhood:

Sitting in the shadow of the ancient Acropolis, this trendy area is known for its unique blend of architectural styles, colourful streets (be sure to check out Filopappou Hill for its mosaics and multi-coloured tiles)and locally-owned artisan stores and food offerings.

The legendary Koukles Club, a must visit for fans of drag acts and kitsch!

Koukles night club : Near Siggrou Avenue, there is Koukles night club, a legendary cabaret club famous for its premier drag shows and owned by trans women. An absolutely must-see for fans of drag queens and all things kitsch.

€€,Greece, Zan Moreas 32, Athina 117 41, Greece

The post LGBTQ+ Athens: Nightlife, Sightseeing & History appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Budapest in the early summer is a magical place to be; outdoor picnics by the Danube, cultural festivals galore and plenty of al fresco dining is to be had, if you know where to look! Check out our Budapest guide’s tips on the best things to do in Budapest in June:

Enjoy Puccini during the Budapest Summer festival:

Every summer, Margitsziget (The Margaret Island) and Varosmajor Square in Buda, two of Budapest’s premier locations, are the scene of a series of open-air concerts of all kinds: musical, theatrical and family-orientated programs. It is particularly enjoyable to attend a performance by the Art-Nouveau Water Tower on Margaret Island, which is listed as a historical monument. We highly recommend a stroll around the beautiful surroundings as well as this is by far one of the most charming places to relax in the city! The courtyard of the Water Tower is also the setting for jazz concerts each weekend. This year 11 concerts will be held in June including 2 nights of Puccini opera performances and a live performance of the famous and brilliant Hungarian rock band Anna and the Barbies. ENJOY!

Budapest Summer festival – June, July, August  

http://eng.szabadter.hu

 Let the night (or day!) be wild with the Downtown Beer Festival:

Hungarians love to party and drink: palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy), wine and beer mostly. From June 5th to June 10th, the Liberty Square of Budapest (one of the most beautiful squares of the city) is the set of the very popular Belvárosi Sörfesztivál. Think food trucks, music shows and of course… plenty of beer! Not only will you get to discover one of the prettiest areas in the city but you get to do it by having fun, tasting a few (or all, it’s your call!) of what the best Hungarian breweries have to offer.  There’s an abundance of local street food to get stuck into to soak up all the beer  nighttime concerts to entertain you. Free entry and easily accessible by public transportation.

Downtown Beer Festival, 5-10 June

https://www.sorfesztival.hu/?lang=en

Performers at the Danube Festival. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Get a taste of Hungarian folklore at the Danube Carnival! 

Hungary is a country that’s very attached to its traditions, hence folk dance is very popular: practised by locals all over the city of any age and background. The Duna Karneval of Budapest (Danube Carnival) occurs every year in June, offering a wide range of shows, honouring world music and dance in some of the most beautiful locations of the city, including Margaret Island, the famous Chain Bridge, or Saint Stephen park by the Danube. Some are free but not all! This year, the 20-year-old festival features hundreds of Hungarian and foreign artists.

Danube Carnival, 8-16 June

Program and tickets: http://danubecarnival.com

Stroll the city streets on Museum Night:

Following Paris’ example, Hungary has established an annual Museum Night, and the 2019 edition will be its 17th. The idea is that by purchasing one ticket in any of the many museums participating in the event (meaning almost all of them!), you can enter all the others for free. What a bargain! On this particular occasion, not only you can visit all the permanent exhibitions but you will also be able to access the hundreds of special programs/events on offer too (many of which are interpreted in English, check their website for more details). This event is a must for both locals and visitors and the atmosphere is truly amazing. This year, eco-vehicle transportation can be used from one venue to another in Budapest.

Museum Night, 22 June 22

https://muzej.hu/en

Find out more about the Nem Adom Fel Foundation and support their work by joining our Urban Adventures Controversial Budapest Tour

 Support a local charity during Market Day:

On June 23rd a very special event will be held on Elisabeth Square, right by Deak Square, the very heart of the city: a large community market, organised by one of Budapest Urban Adventures’ partners, the Nem Adom Fel Foundation (meaning ‘I do not give up’), whose principle is to help people with disabilities to make the most out of their life. This design, vintage, antique and craft market in the heart of the city centre is not only an occasion to buy souvenirs and locally produced clothing and accessories but also to support a great cause. This event raises funds for the children of “Nemadomfel houses” operated by the Nem Adom Fel Foundation. They mainly collect summer games, colourants, creative/craft supplies, social games, card games, sports equipment for children who do not have the possibility to go on summer holidays trips.

If you wish to support the Nem Adom Fel foundation, you can also visit their coffeehouse/restaurant at Magdolna street 1, in the 8th district. You can learn more about their work on Urban Adventures’ Controversial Budapest: Exploring the Infamous 8th District tour, with a portion of your tour fee going back to Nem Adom Fel and the Oltalom Charity Society which focuses on helping the homeless, the elderly, refugees and children in danger in Hungary.

Market Day, 23 June, 11 am – 7 pm, Elisabeth Square, in the 5th district

 A special sunset by the Danube…

Take your bike and go and visit “Fellini Római Kultúrbisztró” (Fellini Roman Cultural Bistro) to celebrate its new season. Among the numerous bistros and restaurants of Római Part (the ‘Roman Beach’ adjacent to the Danube on the north of Buda), Fellini Kultúrbisztró is one of the only places where you can actually sit next to the waterfront. They offer an impressive event program, including concerts (mostly jazz) every Friday, and cinema evenings on Tuesdays, all of which you can enjoy while comfortably seated under the lampions (small oil lamps), in wood lounge chairs, by the charmingly bohemian food and drink truck. Fellini Római is also accessible via public boat service (BKK hajó), by bus and suburban train.

https://felliniromai.hu 

The WAMP Design Fair:

The Wamp design fair is a monthly event where emerging Hungarian designers showcase their works. This market is very popular among locals and comes highly recommended for anyone looking for the best of Hungarian fashion and to discover exciting new small designers. The June edition will be held on Elisabeth Square in the 5th district, on the 16th.

WAMP Design Fair, 23 June, 11 am – 7 pm, Elisabeth Square in the 5th district

The post What to do in Budapest in June appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Pride month is here! In 2019 NYC celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the event that kicked off the LGBTQ movement. Events and activities are popping up all over the city celebrating the impact of the queer community. Spread the love by visiting some of our favourite local businesses linked to all things LGBTQ and beyond, from romantic restaurants and the best gay bars to quirky souvenirs, innovative cultural happenings and the crème de la crème of LGBTQ-owned businesses

Eat 

Via Carota restaurant, owned by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi. Photo Credit: Via Carota Restaurant

Via Carota

Award winning Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village owned by powerhouse lesbian couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, the food pays homage to Sodi’s Tuscan food heritage and has been delighting New Yorkers for over a decade. In recent years, they also opened up Buvette, a gastrothèque (think part restaurant, part bar, part café) that’s consistently voted as one of the most romantic spots in the city.

Dalloway

Look out for Brooklyn made bean-to-bar chocolate brand Dalloway, artisan producers of vegan, gluten-free, fair-trade chocolate. They don’t have a store front but they do supply some of NYC’s best foodie stores, such as Formaggio Kitchen, Harlem Shambles and Westside Market .

Congratulations to the Groom and Groom. Photo Credit: Li-Lac Chocolates

Li-Lac Chocolate

New York’s oldest Chocolate House is a friend to the LGBTQ+ community offering up novel chocolate wedding party favours in the shape of Bride and Bride or Groom and Groom chocolate moulds and they come with great credentials – they’ve been officially certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce New York.

Big Gay Ice cream

This ice-cream nirvana in the east Village often tops the polls for best ice-cream in the USA. Their ice-cream pints are the stuff of legend; go for the cult ‘American Globs’ which combines fudge-covered salted pretzel balls with sweet malted ice-cream. You can visit Big Gay Ice-cream and have a chat with the staff on Urban Adventures’ LGBTQ+ History, Neighbourhood & Pub Tour of Greenwich Village.

Pipcorn

Yummy popcorn available all over the city at various stores. The brother/sister team behind the brand appeared on Shark Tank and it’s now one America’s most coveted snack foods, making it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

Shop

We adore these Trans flag earrings from the Phluid Project. Photo credit: The Phluid Project

Phluid

If you’re looking for something to wear for the big Pride Parade, look no further than The Phluid Project, a hip clothing store and community space in NoHo where all the products are gender-free. Pick up a souvenir Pride-themed t-shirt, fanny pack or bandana. It’s not just clothes either, other products (such as their divine Glisten candles) are sold with proceeds going to organisations that support the LGBTQ+ community. There’s also a café and community space where everyone is encouraged to hang and get to know each other.

Housingworks Thrift shops (various location)

Housing Works describes itself as a “community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.” Happily they also run the best thrift shops in town, where you’ll find an eclectic collection of clothing, accessories, art, furniture, and homewares at unbeatable prices (with proceeds going back to the charity), perfect for anyone looking for a unique and oh-so-New York souvenir to take home.

Mackenzi Farquer outside her home and gift store, Lockwood, in Queens. Photo credit: Lockwood

Lockwood

Discover sumptuous candles, beautiful (and affordable) jewellery handmade in the USA, quirky kitchen and homeware and funky (and sometimes funny) paper-based products and stationery. Mackenzi Farquer met her wife at a tradeshow while buying for Lockwood, her mini home & gift store empire in Queens and they bonded over their mutual love of all things retail. Fast forward to now and the couple manage four stores; two home goods stores, a fabulous paperie and a clothing store.

Explore the delights of the Astoria Bookshop and don’t forget to check out their events list! Photo credit: Kevin Goggin

Astoria Bookshop

They stock a wide range of titles but it’s the quirky events and sense of community that the Astoria Bookshop embodies that make it well worth the trip to Queens for a browse and to attend one of their immersive book club events. Lexi and her team regularly partner with local groups and organizations; selling books at the monthly LIC Reading Series and donating proceeds from their ‘Blind Date with a Book’ display to various non-profits (currently Immigrant Families Together).

Drink Ritz

Docked on Restaurant Row, the nautical-inspired Ritz comprises 2 bars, bi-level backyard patio plus a street-facing patio space. Natural wood sets the stylish mood at this bi-level lounge. Exciting nightly shows and renowned DJs make for an unparalleled dance club experience. Since it opened its doors in 2006, the Ritz endures as a top spot in the Hell’s Kitchen area. They’re known for their over-generous pours, so watch out!

Checkout one of NYC’s oldest gay bars in the heart of Greenwich Village. Photo credit: Pieces

Pieces Bar

One of New York City’s oldest gay bars located in Greenwich Village at corner of Christopher St & Gay St. Happy Hour, karaoke, drag shows, dancing & more! Cute bartenders serve up the most fun for the least money in a newly-renovated and extremely-seasonally-decorated lounge space. New show or party (or both) every night of the week! Free coat check, never a cover, $3 Drinks daily!

Duplex

A gay & straight crowd camps out at this bi-level bar for piano sing-alongs, drag revues & comedy. Established in 1950 – The Duplex continues today as an international destination for arts and entertainment, providing nightly performances as varied and colorful as the streets of the West Village.

Therapy

Since 2003, Therapy has been the Gay Bar in Hell’s Kitchen. Open nightly, featuring awesome drag shows, good food & clever cocktails. Many RuPaul’s Drag Race’s contestants and winners have had residencies here including Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change.

Henrietta Hudson

The oldest and most celebrated lesbian bar in NYC, lesbian-owned and lesbian-operated. Henrietta Hudson is proud to be age and gender diverse, inviting gay-boys and tourists to come and join in the fun. With two bars and, regular events (we love Homo Town for its nostalgic music setlists) and world class DJs on the weekends, this is NYC dyke-central.

 

Culture

One of many glamorous performers at the Bartschland Follies show

Bartschland Follies

Susanne Bartsch is NYC’s self-proclaimed patron saint of transformation and inclusion. A party-planner extraordinaire, she’s been curating some of the world’s most creative and inspirational events for over 30 years. She’s even been featured in a Netflix documentary, a sure-fire sign that you’ve ‘arrived.’ Check out On Top at Le Bain/Standard Hotel, Play Now at 3 Dollar Bill, and Bartschland Follies at the McKittrick Hotel (same location as the production “Sleep No More”, a very fun burlesque show with a rotating cast that sometimes features Amanda Lepore).

The Team at Ars Poetica writing some ‘Sweet Poemz…’ Photo credit: Ars Poetica

Ars Poetica

Ars Poetica is a queer woman-owned experiential poetry agency, providing entertainment and creative content for events and individuals around the world. They have written poetry for feminist and LGBTQ icons like Queen Latifah, Alyson Stoner, Rufus Wainwright, Hillary Clinton, and Meryl Streep, among many more. They host their own events too, and have a new series of handmade poetic talismans to benefit Planned Parenthood.

Queer Soup Night

Queer Soup Night is a Brooklyn-born queer party with soup at its center. Regular events that showcase queer chefs & raise money for important causes such as the Trans Women of Color Collective and the Queer/Cuir Kitchen Brigade.

Check out the exhibitions at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

Leslie-Lohman Museum

A cultural hub that aspires to reclaim scholarship from a queer perspective and preserve and exhibit artworks that speak to the LGBTQ+ community. Their powerful and eclectic exhibitions change regularly, so be sure to check their website to find out what’s going on while you’re in town. 

House of Yes

Beginning life as a temple of expression for artists, musicians and dancers, House of Yes in Brooklyn has one of the most creative and fun event calendars in the whole city. They specialise in curating killer parties, spectacular entertainments and intimate experiences. And they’ve been so successful that you can now catch them in New Orlean, Miami, Los Angeles, Tennessee and London!

Sightseeing

Checking out the Stonewall National Monument with the crew at Urban Adventures. Join us for a LGBTQ+-themed tour of Greenwich Village. Photo credit: Urban Advenutres

LGBTQ+ History, Neighborhood & Pub Tour of Greenwich Village

Explore NYC’s iconic West Village Village with a local guide by your side, hear stories about the people that shaped the LGBTQ+ community and see the Stonewall Inn, the Stonewall National Monument and the Oscar Wilde Bookshop. Enjoy a drink in the city’s oldest known gay bay and finish your evening in our favourite piano bar for a cocktail and a ‘Broadway Lullaby.’

Chelsea’s Limelight Building

This NYC icon has a long and complicated history but it’s probably best known as the former site of Limelight, one of the city’s most notorious 1980s night spots. After shutting it’s doors for the final time in 2007, it briefly came back to life as an uber-trendy department store. Now, if you want to admire the gothic architecture you can go for a gym session at the David Barton Gym or you could go for modern dim sum at Jue Lan Club, which is situated in the chapel, better known as ‘the shampoo room,’ which was home to many a debauched foam party back in the day.

Keith Haring and his mural at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in 1989

Keith Haring Murals

One of the world’s most famous street artists, Haring gained international recognition in the 1980s for turning NYC’s iconic subway into an urban gallery of his thought-provoking art works. He went on to partake in a range of successful group and solo exhibitions around the world, open up his own gallery in Soho and launch the ground-breaking ‘Pop Shop’ where fans of his work could buy his art at an affordable price (usually on t-shirts, toys, buttons and magnets).

The post Supporting LGBTQ New York City – Where to eat, drink, shop and visit to show your PRIDE    appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Southeast Asia (known as SEA) boasts breathtaking landscapes, delicious food, kind people, and gilded temples that have been attracting tourist for decades. SEA is well traversed and sadly tourism has had a negative effect on SEA. Beaches and temples have been closing at a rapid rate for conservation. As travellers, it’s our duty to make a positive impact on the places we visit. We can do this by making mindful decisions that won’t damage the environment, community, or culture in the places we visit. Here’s how you can be a responsible traveller in SEA.

Transportation

While SEA certainly isn’t small if you’re a bit strategic with your itinerary you should be able to get around mostly on trains and buses. Not only will this be most cost-efficient then flying between cities and countries, but it will also make less of a negative impact on the environment. By travelling overland you’ll also have the chance to see incredible landscapes. Be budget savvy and book overnight buses and you’ll also save on accommodation costs. If you must fly between destinations book direct flights with a regional airline that has the option of offsetting carbon emissions like Jetstar. Once you’ve arrived at your destination opt to explore by walking or riding a bicycle to combine sightseeing and exercise in a way that won’t harm the environment. For day trips opt to share taxis with other travellers instead of renting individualized motorbikes which tend to release more toxins than cars.

Accommodation

When booking places to stay throughout your SEA adventure try to opt for homestays or locally owned hostels whenever possible to keep tourism dollars in the local community. Eco-friendly properties are becoming more common in the area and give visitors a unique opportunity to get in touch with nature. No matter where you stay you can be responsible by minimizing water usage, opting out of housekeeping, and turning off all electronics whenever you leave the room. If your hotel doesn’t provide reusable containers for shampoo and soap then skip the ​wasteful single-use plastic toiletries​ by bringing your own shampoo bar and multipurpose powder cleansers. Always opt to use the bum gun over toilet paper, it’s better for the environment and healthier for your body!

Meals

In SEA there are many social enterprise training cafes that employ at-risk children or those with different abilities. Luckily, they also serve amazing local cuisine. Be thoughtful and try to have most of your meals at locally owned restaurants and street food stalls. Bring your own ​reusable water bottle​, collapsible cup, bamboo straw, and cutlery so that you won’t be wasteful and use single-use plastic.

Tours, activities, and experiences

Responsible travellers in SEA will be diligent in avoiding unethical animal interactions and experiences that exploit humans as they explore the region. This means skipping out on elephant riding camps, tiger petting, and any other institution that breeds wild animals such as endangered Gibbons. There are many tourists traps in SEA that exploit humans including forced labour in craft workshops, illegal human trafficking for sex tourism, and Karen long neck villages.

With the Urban Adventures ​In Focus​ tours, you can be confident that you’ll have authentic cultural experiences that are guaranteed to avoid unethical attractions. Each organization that offers In Focus tours is an NGO, non-profit, or social enterprise that operates a social mission that impacts their community. Through their partnerships with Urban Adventures, these charitable businesses are able to use tourism as a tool for positive change. In Focus tours actively benefit the people and places of SEA including immersive food-driven experiences in Bangkok, Thailand​ and ​Bagan, Myanmar​.

Travellers can be responsible in many other ways including shopping local, buying fair-trade souvenirs, and respecting local cultures by learning a few words of the local language and dressing appropriately when visiting holy sites. For even more insight on sustainable travel check out our guide on ​9 ways to be a more responsible traveller.

The post South East Asia Sustainable Travel Tips appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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Hearty, rich and absolutely delicious, Romanian national food is cooked mainly on special occasions such as family celebrations, weddings, or national days. And when that food is cooked with love for our loved ones, food heaven unfolds. Getting hungry yet? Read on for a look at some of Romania’s best traditional dishes. And if you have a sweet tooth – you’re in luck. We’re putting the main spotlight on one of our favourite desserts, something you won’t want to miss out on when you visit Romania.

Ciorba (sour soups) are a mainstay of traditional Romanian cuisine and something traditional meals often begin with. Ingredients vary, but the sourness comes from lemon, vinegar or sometimes the liquid from sauerkraut. Alternatively, you might be served a combination plate consisting of smoked bacon, known as slanina afumata, jumari (a type of fried pork fat dish), and a variety of sausages, which usually act as a starter.

Soups on in Bucharest | Photo by Bucharest Urban Adventures

The traditional drink that is often enjoyed with appetizers or starters would be ţuica or palinca (a potent plum brandy) which varies in strength, dryness, and bouquet according to the production area.

Once you’re ready for the main course, you can often expect mamaliga, a dish made from boiled corn meal similar to polenta. This is often used as a side dish to accompany sarmale, cabbage rolls filled with ground meat, rice and other ingredients.

But the king (and the queen) of all dishes (at least for us) will always be dessert. And if we’re talking about Romanian national food, papanaşi should be given the title of  best national dessert.

Based on a recipe originating in Moldova (the northeaster part of Romania), this delicious fried dough with sweet Romanian cheese has the shape of a doughnut. The traditional sweet treat is then garnished with fruit jam and sour cream. The combination of the hot, fluffy doughnut with the cold, melty sour cream and the mouth-watering fruit notes of the jam will be instantly addictive for anyone with a sweet tooth. You’ve been warned.

Nowadays, papanași have become popular all over the country and restaurants compete to come up with their best rendition. If there is be one thing, and one thing only you could  choose from among all Romanian cuisine, take my advice and go for papanași. Enjoy!

If you want to learn even more about Romanian food (and taste some for yourself), check out our Bucharest Sites & Bites tour.

The post Traditional Romanian foods to feast on appeared first on Urban Adventures.

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