Hi We are Stephen & Jane. We're adventure-seekers and full-time yoga nomads. For almost two years, we travelled the world by bicycle, cycling through 22 countries in Europe and Asia. We started blogging about our bike touring adventures and also how to help you travel more mindfully and make travel more fulfilling for you.
If you’re looking for a foldable yoga mat that combines beautiful design with clever functionality, put the Yogo travel mat on your shopping list. Read on to see if this is the right travel yoga mat for your adventures.
What’s in our review of the Yogo foldable yoga mat?
I’m glad to say my search for a great foldable yoga mat is over!
As a full-time travelling yoga nerd, I have been looking for a mat that will take up minimal space in my suitcase — ut it also needs to be tough and sticky enough to handle frequent use. After hearing about the Yogo ultralight travel mat from several of Stephen’s students, I knew I had to try it out.
The Yogo team kindly sent me one to try — and I’m happy to say it is my new mat of choice!
I only have space for the best and most versatile gear in my carry-on suitcase and the Yogo definitely makes the grade. Plus, it has been a great help in getting me motivated to practice each morning, no matter where I am. Hurrah for that!
This mat is perfect for yogis who like to pack light but still need a yoga mat.
It’s ideal for people who don’t sweat much when they practice, and don’t practice hot yoga.
Who should not get the Yogo travel mat?
If you’re into hot yoga or are super sweaty when you practice, this mat is probably not for you. When dry, it’s super sticky, but can lose its grip when it gets wet.
If you need a lot of cushioning (or even a little), think about getting a thicker mat. This one doesn’t have much padding.
What I love about this foldable yoga mat
Yogo — as in “yoga on the go” — folds up small to fit in your backpack or suitcase.
The Yogo team only sells one product — their travel yoga mat. This single-minded dedication has really paid off. They’ve managed to create a unique travel yoga mat that is ideal for frequent travellers like me.
This mat folds up smaller than most other travel yoga mats I’ve tried (though the Jade Yoga travel mat and the Manduka eKO Superlite both come close). When folded, a set of attached straps and clips hold it all in place.
They’ve also come up with a clever folding strategy, so that the dirt from your practice surface — be it a yoga studio floor, hotel room, or a park — never comes in contact with the business side of your mat.
You could fold any foldable yoga mat this way, but props to the Yogo team for coming up with the idea!
Having an eco-friendly yoga mat is non-negotiable for me. Who wants to explore their inner landscape while practice on a piece of plastic that ultimately destroys the earth?
From what I can tell, the Yogo team are doing a good job of keeping their eco impact to a minimum.
The Yogo mat is made from natural tree rubber, which, in case you’re wondering, is tapped from trees kind of like maple syrup. This means that the trees are kept alive and can keep producing liquid latex season after season.
Like any natural rubber mat, the raw liquid latex is mixed with preservatives and natural ingredients to stabilize it into the firm-yet-squishy mat material you know and love.
Yogo’s Asia-based factory is FSC Certified, and carries ISO 14001 and 801 certifications, meaning they have a plan in place to limit negative impact on the environment. They are also working towards partnering exclusively with FSC Certified rubber plantations in the future.
Finally, because they are made from natural rubber, Yogo mats biodegrade if disposed of properly — but we think you’ll want to keep yours for a long time to come.
Portability and durability
The Yogo mat is just a little bigger than my travel pillow and my comfy sweatshirt.
No other travel mat I’ve seen matches the Yogo for portability. It folds up to about the size of a weekend edition newspaper (remember those?), or a cozy sweatshirt. The attached straps help to keep the mat compact when it’s in your luggage or bag.
Since I’ve only had it for about a month now, I can’t say exactly how it will hold up the rigours of the road. So far, it seems less stretchy than the Jade Voyager and a little tougher than the Manduka eKO Superlite. Yogo says their mat is designed to last 5 years, even with regular practice — I’ll let you know in 5 years how this works out!
You don’t have to just use this mat for travel, either. If you commute, you can throw this in your bag and then use it on top of a studio mat at your local yoga studio. This will give you extra padding while you still get the “at home” feeling of practicing on your own personal mat.
The Yogo foldable mat works for travel and commuting. Who doesn’t want a cute yoga mat clipped to their backpack?
Mat stickiness and comfort
After having practiced on a slightly slippery mat for the past few months, the stickiness of the Yogo travel mat is a revelation. There is no chance of slipping on this super sticky mat. It is the best non-slip yoga mat I’ve used in a long while.
So far, I have only used it with super-dry hands and feet (hello, winter in Canada), so haven’t been able to test out how it performs with a little sweat.
Here’s what Yogo says about their mat:
The YOGO Mat is the stickiest mat you can buy. It will stay stickier than other mats in hot yoga up until a certain moisture level — then it is safer to use a yoga towel.
The surface feels nice under my hand and feet, but of course, just like all the very portable yoga mats, there is no cushioning at all. If you have sensitive knees and elbows, you’ll probably want a thicker mat.
How the company gives back to the world
The Yogo doesn’t have any padding built in, but can be placed on top of a regular mat once you get to the studio.
The Yogo team partners with two NGOs. The first is Trees for the Future, with whom they partner to plant a food tree for every mat sold. The second is Sustainable Harvest International, who work with impoverished rural communities to help them farm sustainably. These initiatives help support poor communities by creating a sustainable source of food, while also helping to protect and restore the environment.
What could be better about the Yogo
Folds and creases
The Yogo team recommends that, when folding your mat, you start by folding it right down the middle. That’s how it came shipped to me.
Unfortunately, this fold leaves a big crease right down the middle of the mat which, so far, has not disappeared. Since I will be travelling with it folded almost all the time, I suspect this crease is something I’ll have to learn to live with.
It has a bitter taste
OK, this is a weird one, right? Who licks their yoga mat? Well, don’t worry, I didn’t get down there and taste it!
But, after my first few early morning practices, I noticed that the peanut butter I licked from my fingers during breakfast (table manners!) had a yucky bitter taste. It took me a few days to realize that this was coming from my yoga mat. I assume this comes from the natural rubber, which is not a fragrant substance in nature!
I assume this will disappear after a few washes, but until then, I won’t be using my mat as a picnic blanket!
Straps in the way
The attached straps are my favourite feature of the Yogo foldable yoga mat. They really keep it snug in my luggage.
Having said that, they can be a little annoying during a few poses, especially those where you need to stretch out fully on your mat. During shalambasana, I sometimes have to shift around to avoid the buckles!
How to clean the Yogo yoga mat
I don’t know about you, but I hate rolling up heavy yoga mats. Much better to fold, clip, and be gone!
Who else hates cleaning a yoga mat? I know I do. Mat sprays make me sneeze and how clean can it be after rubbing the sweat around with a cloth for a few minutes?
One of the great benefits of the Yogo is that it’s designed to be rinsed in the shower every few practices. That is so much easier than getting down on your hands and knees to scrub away.
Once it’s clean, you can use the built-in straps to hang it in the shower until it’s dry. I’ve washed mine a couple of times and it only took an hour or two to dry. For a deep clean, the company recommends using natural Castile soap before rinsing and hanging it to dry.
I can’t imagine this super-sticky mat ever getting slippery, but if it does, they recommend spraying and wiping it with a vinegar solution and allowing it to dry.
Our overall rating – 9/10
So far, this is the best travel yoga mat I have tried, and I have tried many. It combines clever eco-friendly design with excellent functionality. I suspect it will be a part of my core travel kit for a long time to come.
If you’re looking for a folding yoga mat that is ultra-portable, very sticky, environmentally friendly and easy to wash, then put the Yogo mat on your wish list.
I hope this review helps you decide if the Yogo foldable yoga mat is right for your travels. As always, we only review products we use and love! If you have questions, please ask on Stephen’s yoga Facebook page.
Read this guide before you visit Vietnam! Vietnam is one of our favourite countries for travel and we’ve explored it for months on end. This post covers all the Vietnam travel advice we’ve learned through our personal experiences in the country.
In total, we’ve spent more than a year in Vietnam, exploring almost every corner of this fantastic country.
If you’re planning your own Vietnam adventure, read on to discover our best…
Vietnam Travel Advice – Everything You Need to Know Before You Visit
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Get our free Vietnam Don’t-Miss List! This is a hand-picked bucket list of our 12 favourite Vietnam experiences, guaranteed to make your trip extra special.
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Best Places to Visit in Vietnam
Enjoy a lazy boat trip in Tam Coc, Vietnam.
Vietnam offers such a wide range of activities, from the cultural, to the natural, to the spiritual, that it’s hard to be bored. On your first visit to Vietnam, here are some of the activities you’ll definitely want to do.
Trekking in the Northern Mountains
One of the most popular Vietnam tourist attractions is Sapa, a village in the rolling purple mountains of Vietnam’s northwest. People come from all over the world to trek the mountains with a guide from one of the local tribes. After a day of walking along narrow mountain paths, through farms, villages, and the wild mountainside, you can spend a night in a homestay, experiencing how the locals have lived for centuries.
Travel Tip: Avoid Sapa town itself, which is a tacky and overcrowded.
Travel Tip: For a less-touristy alternative to Sapa, try Mu Cang Chai, which has breathtaking terraced rice fields.
Travel Tip: If you don’t want to trek, book a stay at Topas Ecolodge, where you can enjoy the beauty of the mountains without having to walk there!
As the number one place to visit in Vietnam, we equate Ha Long Bay to other world-famous sights, like the Great Wall or the Eiffel Tower. It is amazing and you must go, but prepare to be one among hundreds of tourists.
You can’t see much of anything from Ha Long Bay town; the only real way to experience the beauty of the region is on a Ha Long Bay Junk cruise. Book a two-night cruise (rather than the more common one-nighter) to have a chance to get away from the crowds and go kayaking or swimming.
Travel Tip: For a less touristy cruise location, visit nearby Bai Tu Long Bay instead.
Travel Tip:For a cheaper alternative, take the public ferry (which was a complete rust-bucket when we took it) from Ha Long town to Cat Ba Island. You’ll get to see some of the famoust karst formations along the way.
Exploring the Vibrant City Life
We know you’re going to have a fantastic time in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s two biggest cities, Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh in the south, provide two very different travel experiences.
If you’re looking for culture, beauty, and endless opportunities for wandering around twisty vibrant streets, definitely choose Hanoi. We’ve spent several months in the city and never get tired of returning.
If you want big city vibes, with a chance to hang out with Vietnam’s hip, young middle class in cool cafes, trendy boutiques, and rooftop bars, then check out Ho Chi Minh City. The city is bigger, busier, and harder to get around, but it still offers plenty of entertainment.
Travel Tip: If you visit Ho Chi Minh City, remember Grab Bike is your friend, whisking you around the city for pennies.
Wandering the Streets of a UNESCO Village
Hoi An is a don’t-miss sight in Vietnam for culture buffs and lovers of charm.
If you like to dream the day away, wandering narrow alleys and sipping strong coffee, the ancient city of Hoi An should be on your itinerary. Her solo trip to Hoi An was one of Jane’s Vietnam highlights.
The pedestrianized old city is lined with wooden merchant’s houses, all painted the same shade of dark yellow — and it is one of the few places in Vietnam where you don’t have to worry about being run down by a scooter as you wander.
It is touristy, but despite the hordes who visit each year, it has somehow managed to hold onto its ancient magic, especially in the evening when paper lanterns and floating candles reflect off the lazy river.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Phong Nha Ke Bang national park. You are in good company. Though it contains one of the world’s most impressive limestone karst cave systems, it is still relatively unknown as Vietnam tourist spot.
Relaxing on Beautiful Beaches and Islands
Christmas on Phu Quoc can be the perfect winter beach getaway.
Did you know Vietnam has gorgeous beaches and islands that rival their more famous counterparts in Thailand?
With more than 3,000 km of coastline, it shouldn’t be surprising that much of it comprises wide sandy beaches. Phu Quoc Island in the south is the most famous beach retreat, but it is practically overrun with luxury resorts. Nha Trang and Da Nang in central Vietnam are also great spots for beach lovers.
Travel Tip: For a less touristy alternative, head further north to Qui Nhon, where there are fewer facilities but also far fewer tourists — and plenty of beautiful beaches!
Visiting the Incredible Mekong Delta
Picture a sea of emerald green rice stalks, dotted with water buffalos and workers wearing Vietnam’s iconic pointed hat. It’s hard to believe that the idyllic, slow-paced Mekong belongs to the same country as frenetic Ho Chi Minh City.
This is where a huge portion of Vietnam’s food, including rice, coconuts, sugar cane, and tropical fruit, is produced.
Where agriculture is absent, there is water. Here, the Mekong’s thousands of fingers reach and twist their way to the sea and the locals live their lives in floating villages, on boats, or in stilt houses along the river.
Travel Tip: For an unparalleled cultural and natureal experiecne, visit the Mekong Delta by bike and boat.
We’ve only chosen a few of the incredible highlights of a trip to Vietnam. When you start planning your itinerary, you’ll find even more experiences you won’t want to miss.
Our Recommended Vietnam Tours
Vietnam is great for the independent traveller but there are some places and experiences that you’d probably never get to by yourself. If you’re thinking of taking a Vietnam tour or doing a short tour while you’re there, these are the ones we recommend.
On a tour of Vietnam, you’ll get to meet locals and experience an entirely new way of life.
Grasshopper Adventures Cycle & Boat Tours
We love Grasshopper Adventures because they make it easy to explore Vietnam by bicycle (and sometimes boat). Their local guides keep you safe on the roads and help you experience off-the-beaten track Vietnam, away from other tourists.
If we were booking a Grasshopper tour in Vietnam today, we’d choose one of these:
Northwest Vietnam by Bike. Spend 5 days cycling the scenic region west of Hanoi, on an unforgettable adventure cycle tour of Vietnam’s rich cultural heartland and stunning countryside.
Bike & Kayak Hoi An. Enjoy this UNESCO city in a way few people get to on this 1-day tour. Cycle the countryside to experience rural life and then take to the water..
What’s it like to take a Bangkok bike tour? We share our experience and give you all the details so you can get out and see the city from two wheels. Read on to decide if a bike tour of Bangkok is right for you.
When you’re done with the big Bangkok sights — marvelling at the golden Buddha of Wat Pho, shopping the malls of Sukhumvit, getting ripped off on Khao San Road, eating too much in Chinatown, and visiting the riverside — what’s next?
We’re going to make a crazy suggestion.
Try a Bangkok bike tour!
We always recommend cycling as the best way to see any city. But, I have to admit, we were a bit worried about cycling in Bangkok. After all, the main roads seems to be perpetually fully of spewing cars stuck in grid lock. The smaller roads are narrow and winding, not leaving much room for Bangkok cyclists to stay safe.
Who wants to cycle in this mess? Nobody, that’s who!
It didn’t seem like a recipe for a good time.
Well, it turns out, we didn’t have to worry — seeing Bangkok by bike gave us a whole new appreciation for the city and took us to places where the traffic can’t go!
We took the full-day Bangkok Canal Boat & Bike Tour with Grasshopper Adventures. They kept us off the busy roads and took us to corners of the city that tourists rarely get to see.
Now we know for sure that cycling is a great way to see Bangkok. So read on to find out…
Should You Go on a Bangkok Bike Tour?
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What: Bangkok Canal Boat & Bike Tour When: Daily at 9:30 am, 5 hours Where: Grasshopper Adventures Shop, not far from Khao San Road Price: $77 (2400 THB), discounts for kids Suitable for: All levels of riders, no hills, easy short route, even kids had a great time What you should bring: A small camera, sunglasses, sunscreen (you can leave items you don’t need at the Grasshopper shop)
What we loved about our Bangkok bike tour
Off-the-beaten track adventure
Bangkok is a huge city but tourists tend to see only a tiny part of it. This cycle tour took us out of the typical touristy areas and showed us a different side of Bangkok.
We pedalled along narrow canals lined with humble homes, past tiny markets where people were buying an array of unfamiliar Thai fruits and vegetables, and visited a wat where we were the only foreigners. If you want to see the heart of Bangkok residential life, take this tour.
You don’t need to worry about traffic on this tour — just watch our for the canals!
Great bikes and equipment
As full-time travellers who rent bikes or take bike tours as often as we can, we’ve ridden some seriously terrible bikes in our time. We’ve ridden bikes with broken brakes, twisted handlebars, three sizes too small, or with more rust than steel.
In contrast, Grasshopper’s bikes are excellent. The staff ensured that everyone had the right size bike, fitted properly, and a helmet, also fitted properly. For the kids in the group, there were kid-sized bikes, and even a bike trailer for the youngest.
The bikes for this ride were stable and handled easily, meaning we had no trouble squeezing around the tight corners of Bangkok’s alleyways.
The bikes provided by Grasshopper Adventures were in great shape and fitted us perfectly.
Lots of fun and family friendly
What separates a great tour from a mediocre one? How much fun you have, of course.
We had a great time on this tour! Our guide was friendly and fun, and so was everyone we met along the way. Our group included a family with four kids of varying ages, and they had a great time, too.
Our guide for this Bangkok bike tour was lots of fun — and very knowledgable.
Canal boat ride
You really shouldn’t go to Bangkok without getting out on the canals. We loved the chance to experience Bangkok by boat on the second half of this tour. Just when we thought we were getting to know the city, we were treated to a whole new world of life on the water. It gave us great insight into how people live their daily lives in the city.
I think I can speak for the whole group when I say we were slightly trepidatious about cycling in Bangkok. After all, most roads we’d seen were rammed with cars with no place for cyclists to stay safe. Although Grasshopper’s office is right in the centre of the city, it only took two minutes for us to leave the crazy city streets and end up on quiet lanes where the riding was easy.
Such friendly people
Everywhere we rode, we were met with wide smiles from people along the route, going about their everyday lives. When we encountered other traffic on the way — including motorbike taxis, heavily loaded veggie carts, and one tiny old lady pushing a huge wheelbarrow — they always stopped for us to go by.
We got to see so much life along Bangkok’s canals!
Usually, as vegans, we get pretty terrible meals on tours, so we have learned to expect very little. On this tour, our group was treated to a long table full of fantastic traditional Thai food, served family style. There was so much food to go around, even Stephen was stuffed full by the end of lunch — and that rarely happens!
What we didn’t love about the tour
Would have liked a bit more information
Though we did make stops at certain sights — like Wat Kalyanamit, the historic Portuguese neighbourhood, and the Artist’s Village — we didn’t really stop much along the route to talk about everyday life in Bangkok.
We would have appreciated more information about the neighbourhoods we passed, the markets we saw, and how life works in Bangkok.
FAQ About Bangkok Bike Tours
Is it safe to ride a bike in Bangkok?
The streets of Bangkok are too busy and too convoluted to make cycling fun, and mostly it’s downright scary.
On a Bangkok cycling tour though, the tour company and guide have mapped out the route ahead of time. They know where to ride (and where not to ride) and how to navigate busy sections safely. That means you’ll get all the pleasure of biking Bangkok, without putting yourself in danger.
Most of the cycling on this tour was off the roads, on quiet alleys and footpaths.
What is the best company to take guided bike tours with in Bangkok?
There are several companies that run bike tours in Bangkok. Our tour was with Grasshopper Adventures, and we highly recommend them. We picked them because of their extensive experience running bike tours in Asia and their commitment to making a positive impact in the communities they tour.
Since they are focussed on bike tours, they know how important it is to have a great bike, up-to-date safety equipment, and a guide who knows what they’re doing.
You should definitely take them for a spin!
Could you handle a Bangkok city tour by bike?
If you’re worried about your riding skills or your stamina, you probably don’t need to be. The cycling on this tour is very easy. There aren’t any hills and only one or two busy crossings, where the tour guide makes sure everyone is safe.
The ride takes you along some narrow alley ways and canals, over a few little footbridges, and through local markets and neighbourhoods. This means the group goes slowly so you don’t have to worry about getting left behind.
The local markets were so busy with morning shoppers that we had to walk our bikes — all the better to see the unusual fruits & veggies.
Can you bring kids on this tour?
Our group was made up of 4 adults and 4 kids ranging in age from 6 to 13. Grasshopper provided kids-sized bikes for the older kids, and a trailer bike (attached to the back of his dad’s bike) for the youngest. There were a few very tight corners on our ride, but the trailer managed to make it around all of them — sometimes with a little help from friends.
Is a Bangkok bike tour right for you?
After reading about our experience, are you tempted to take a bike tour in Bangkok?
Do you want to travel slowly? Or are you just curious about what slow travel is? Fast travel can be stressful and exhausting, but slow travel has the power to transform. Read our slow travel guide to find out why you should try travelling slowly and get tips on how to do it.
We meet a lot of people when we travel and, naturally, the conversation turns towards where they’ve been and where they’re going during their travels.
It usually goes something like this:
Us: So, where were you before this? Traveller: Well, we started in Paris, then flew to Rome, Amsterdam, London, Venice, and now we’re here. Us: Oh wow, how long have you been travelling? Traveller: 10 days. Us: [Silence as we nod slowly, trying not to let the shock and dismay show on our faces.]
It’s no mystery as to why people do this to themselves. Many feel that this trip to Europe or Asia or America is once-in-a-lifetime. If they don’t see it ALL now, they never will.
The pressure to snap your selfie and then move on to the next thing can be overwhelming when travelling.
First of all, that’s just not true. Most of us, as long as we make travel a priority in our lives, will get to see more of the world than we think.
Second, if it is your only chance to travel, do you really want to spend the whole time rushing from place to place, never really seeing anything? Do you want to be so focussed on the next destination, the next experience, that you forget to enjoy the moment you’re in?
One of my favourite novelists puts it this way:
We residents sometimes pity you poor tourists not a little—handed about like a parcel of goods from Venice to Florence, from Florence to Rome, living herded together in pensions or hotels, quite unconscious of anything that is outside Baedeker, their one anxiety to get ‘done’ or ‘through’ and go on somewhere else. The result is, they mix up towns, rivers, palaces in one inextricable whirl.
E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
This style of travel, where tourists see everything but absorb nothing, is the antithesis of slow travel. And it’s becoming increasingly common.
In our Instagram world, most people only spend as long in a place as it takes to get the perfect shot, then it’s on to the next sight without ever stopping to appreciate or understand what they’ve just seen.
So what is slow travel?
There’s no single definition of slow travel — and you don’t need a long vacation to try it. You can travel slowly for a weekend, a week, or take years — it’s up to you.
More than anything, slow travel is a way of thinking about travel that prioritizes immersion and experience over sights and tourist attractions. It’s a preference for sinking your teeth into the culture, rather than following the guidebook blindly.
Slow travel gives you the chance to learn not only about the culture you’re visiting, but about yourself as well.
Done right, travelling slowly has the power to transform your life.
Why Travel Slowly?
1. Travel Slowly to Save Money
Not only is slow travel better (at least we think so), it’s cheaper!
First, slow travel helps you save on transportation costs, often the biggest travel expense. Accommodation can also be cheaper because you can avoid booking big chain hotels that are usually right next touristy attractions. Instead, stay further out to experience more local life at cheaper prices.
Slow travel also helps you save on food. You’ll have time to explore local restaurants and avoid the tourist traps that charge more for less.
If you just have a short break it might seem smart to travel faster, packing as many places in as you can. But the flipside is, whe you travel quickly, you waste a ton of time in the act of travelling. Transferring to and from the airport, sitting on trains and busses, checking in and out of hotels, queuing up for attractions and tickets…
All of this time could be spent relaxing and absorbing a new culture.
See more of this and less of airports by travelling slowly.
3. Travel Slowly to Save Energy
Have you ever needed a vacation from your vacation? We’ve been there, trust us!
If you pack every minute of your itinerary with a different activity or sight, you’ll be exhausted by the end of each day. Pile a week or two of busy days on top of each other and, by the time you get home, you’ll need a week off to recover.
Travelling slowly gives you time to sleep in, take a nap in the afternoon, or just sit sipping coffee while the world goes by.
Slow travel gives you time to relax — and isn’t that what a vacation is really for?
If you can take a train or bus to reach your destination, definitely do it, even if it takes longer. And if you have to fly to get there, don’t compound the problem by taking a lot of short hop flights during your trip.
Overland travel, by bus or train, will help decrease the environmental impact of your trip.
Staying in homestays, apartments, or small hotels, which is easier if you are travelling slowly, also reduces your impact, since these places tend to be more eco-friendly and less wasteful than big hotel chains.
5. Slow Travel Helps you Avoid Tourist Crowds
One of the biggest bonuses of slowing down your travels is getting away from other tourists!
On a slow trip you’ll have time to explore off-the-beaten track places and destinations. And when you do choose to visit the big sights, like the Sistine Chapel or the Louvre, you can choose a day and time when crowds are thinner. You’ll avoid the queues and have more time to spend in a staring contest with the Mona Lisa!
Travel slowly to avoid the busiest times at big monuments and avoid the crowds.
6. Make a Bigger Impact
This is one of our favourite things about slow travel. Fast travellers book their hotels for proximity to the biggest sights, and these hotels usually belong to international conglomerates.
When you travel slowly, you are more likely to stay in independently owned accommodation, like a family Airbnb or an out-of-the-way homestay. This means your travel money makes its way directly into the local economy and benefits local people.
7. Connect with People
When you choose to stay in locally owned accommodation, you’ll have contact with locals (the hotel owners) from the second you arrive. We’ve had amazing, enlightening conversations over dinner or coffee with our hosts around the world.
They are also able to recommend independent drivers, restaurants, and other attractions — you might be the only tourist there! Locals are naturally curious about a tourist who manages to find their favourite haunts, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation and learn what it’s really like to live in a destination.
8. Connect with the Culture
You’ve heard the expression “going native”, right? OK, it probably has racist origins, and it can be used in a derogatory sense. But we’re not ashamed to adapt to foreign cultures.
Staying in one place a little longer lets us learn all the similarities and wonderful differences between our culture and the one we’re living in. We are happy to adopt aspects of the local culture that seem better than how we do it back home.
9. Connect with Yourself
Not every moment of your slow trip will be spent partying with the locals. Perhaps our very favourite aspect of slow travel is that it gives you time to absorb what you’ve experienced.
Instead of seeing a bunch of stuff back to back to back, you’ll have time in between experiences to consider them, contemplate, and decide what they mean to you. As you learn more about the world, these slow reflective moments will teach you more about yourself, too.
Make time to marvel at the beauty and absorb your experiences.
10. You’ll See More Travelling Slowly
This one sounds counter-intuitive. How will you see more if you’re moving around less? Well, what we mean is, you’ll see more of your destination and less of the airports, train stations, busses, trains, and taxis.
Travelling quickly often means taking long journeys between places — all you’ll remember is the tarmac flashing by outside your bus window. With slow travel, you might tick less off your bucket list, but can go deeper in one place, allowing yourself to follow the unexpected twists and turns of a slow journey.
11. Slow Travel is Where Adventure Lives
When you have time to follow intriguing pathways, duck down twisting alleyways, or say yes to unexpected offers, something incredible happens — your holiday turns into an adventure!
We’ve been invited into stranger’s homes for coffee, taken on hikes in incredible hidden places, and found beaches that only locals know about.
The world is full of hidden marvels and when you slow down you have a chance to discover them.
Slow travel gives you time for unexpected adventures.
12. You’ll Make More Lasting Memories
Some itineraries are so jam-packed that there’s no time so sit back and absorb the experiences. When we don’t have time to think, our brains don’t have a chance to make permanent memories. One sight or city pushes the memories from the last place out of your mind.
(I think that’s why people take selfies at iconic places. It helps us remember places that we didn’t really experience at the time.)
When you get home after a period of fast travel, the trip might seem hazy, like a dream, each memory indistinct. When you slow down, you give your brain more time to form complete memories, and you’ll be able to call up the scents, colours, and feeling you had for years to come.
13. You’ll Learn to Live with Less
If you take a longer trip and travel slowly, you might just start to realize an important truth.
You don’t need all the gadgets, gizmos and tchotchkes you have at home. When you’re out in the world with just what you can fit in your suitcase, you start to realize that it is more than enough.
Modern life tends to prioritize being busy over being happy. We rush from here to there, every moment of the day scheduled to the last second, until we fall into bed, exhausted.
(That’s exactly how most people travel, too.)
Travelling slowly is a great way to prime you for living more slowly when you get back home. We hope you’ll realize that the most valuable moments on your trip were the slow, silent moments — and start to build those into your regular life, as well.
Once you do that, you’ll make room for happiness to grow.
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