Browsing Tag

Vegan

Bhaktapur, Nepal, Video

Bhajans of Bhaktapur – A Short Film

September 22, 2018

Last year we visited the beautiful city of Bhaktapur, twice. We fell so in love with the place that after our Annapurna trek we returned to make a short film there.

Set in the Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur feels nothing like crazy hectic Kathamandu city. Populated by Newar people, the earliest inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley and its surrounding areas, Bhaktapur is so full of ancient culture, a visit there feels like stepping back in time. Among other things,  Newar people are known for their contribution to the arts and this becomes apparent as soon as you set foot in the city.

Beautiful wooden temples – many of which are still being rebuit after the 2015 earthquake –  are not just available for tourists to poke about in, they are the backbone of daily life.  Early morning rituals, cobbled streets, secret pathways as well as a totally different language and cuisine from the rest of Nepal are just some of the things that make Bhaktapur such an exciting place to visit.

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Lifestyle

Our Natural First Aid And Toiletry Travel Kit

June 5, 2018

I have been meaning to put together a post about our natural first aid and toiletry travel kit for a while now. I’m constantly amazed by the power of some of the products that now come everywhere with us and still get a bit of a buzz out of how refined our packing has become.

You see, when we first set off on our travels a few years back, our lack of experience resulted in a toiletry bag bursting at the seams with pills and potions. The fear that we might get this or that the foreign pharmacies might not have that meant that we had enough stuff with us to set up our own little stall by the side of the road, selling indigestion remedies.

Becoming more confident and experienced travellers is one reason we have lightened the load. Developing stomachs of steel is certainly another. Mostly though, we’ve come to realise that there are all kinds of natural, multi-purpose and long lasting products available that’ll do everything we need.  Should we require anything stronger, we know from experience that good doctors can be found in all corners of the world.

Wherever possible I try to avoid using unnatural products on and in my body. This however is easier said than done if you’re trying to shop for things on the road. Add to that the need for everything to be vegan and cruelty-free and shopping can become a bit of a minefield.

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Chiang Mai, Thailand, vegan, Vegan Chiang Mai, Vegan Thailand

Vegan Guide To Chiang Mai

October 6, 2016

We left Chiang Mai slightly larger than when we arrived.  Combining our newfound love of moped travel with the multitude of restaurant options did not necessarily result in an overly healthy stay, but it made us bloody happy. There are several vegan guides to Chiang Mai available online, which we were able to use to help us sniff out the good stuff.  We’re particularly grateful to our wonderful friends Caryl and Paul at Vegan Food Quest  for theirs and to Mostly Amelie for hers.

Here are the places we particularly loved.

Blue Diamond Breakfast Club

Why not start here.  At cinnamon roll heaven.  Whaddya want? Juice? Cake? Traditional Thai food? A nice salad?  You can pretty much get whatever you want here.  Everything is deliciously freshly prepared and the servings are generous.  The self-serve bakery area is bursting with buns, slices and pastries.  The fridge a cold cabinet of every type of dessert you never knew you wanted to try.  You can also buy a pretty impressive range of health foods and other non-edible bits and bobs too.  This place does, unfortunately also sell meat so don’t accidentally go ordering a ham omelette or whatever.

Vegan guide to Chiang Mai

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Bangkok, Thailand, vegan, vegan bangkok, Vegan Thailand

Vegan Bangkok

September 11, 2016

Bangkok is a vegan haven.  If you visit and don’t pile on a few pounds, you’re doing something wrong.  Home to arguably one of the best vegan bakeries in the world as well as a whole host of restaurants and cafes offering both local and international dishes, the only food struggle in Bangkok will be deciding which one to choose. We fell in love with some places so much that we went there multiple times and so shock horror, didn’t try every vegan eatery on offer.  Here are some of the places we topped up on calories.

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India, mumbai, Vegan India, Vegan Mumbai

Eating our way around Mumbai

May 30, 2016

We did a lot of eating in Bombay.  Lucky for everyone else, we took loads of PICTURES.

The city is a haven for vegans and the variety of food on offer is fantastic. Mumbai street food is heavenly and along with small local cafes, these are the places to find some of the absolute best grub. We stayed mostly in Fort, so we dropped into a number of local eateries in the area.  To be honest, you really can’t go wrong.  If you see lots of people eating somewhere, it’s usually a good sign.  We didn’t note down the names of all of the local India places we ate, but here are a few snaps.

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Jalebis are deep fried bater swirls soaked in sugar syrup. They taste little hot crunchy donuts. Joyful.

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India, varkala

A fishing village and a beautiful boat ride somewhere near Varkala…

April 22, 2016

Surrounding myself with dead animals is not my go-to activity.  It took a lot of internal chatter to conclude that experiencing an early morning at a nearby fishing village would be an interesting and enlightening experience and not a morbid one.  Debra warned us that the excessiveness of the daily catch and the disregard for sustainability would be shocking and it was. But I’m still glad I went.  Village culture has to be experienced to be believed and even vaguely understood and we hadn’t yet been let down by any of our outings with Debra.

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We set off at my least favourite time of day – early.  Myself, Tom, Debra and our wonderful new friends Elizabeth and Mo tuktuked our way over to the village.  Our noses told us when we were getting close.  We made our way onto the beach where hundreds of people were selling, buying or butchering fish.

varkala fishing village

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India, varkala

We made it to India! Varkala, part one.

April 7, 2016

Sri Lanka was glorious, peaceful, relaxing and we enjoyed ourselves immensel.  It didn’t satisfy our India cravings though, as we naively thought it would.  And so the cravings grew.

Our first stop in India was to be Varkala in Kerala, where we would stay with our dear friend Debra, who runs Kaiya House.  We had visited there 2 years before and despite only staying for three nights, a beautiful friendship blossomed.  We met up in London a few times and also had the honour of Debra attending our wedding last year.  Needless to say we were all quite excited about being reunited.  Kaiya house is the most popular guesthouse in Varkala.  Every wall is adorned with beautiful artwork, from masks to tapestry.  Each room is themed and decorated lovingly by Debra herself, who has spent years collecting all of the magnificent treasures that fill every nook of the house. There is also an amazing roof terrace which is perfect for relaxing, nattering, doing yoga or in Debra’s case, dancing.  As soon as you arrive, it’s obvious why Kaiya House is the number one place to stay in all of Varkala.  Debra herself is the reason why guests have such a memorable stay.  Her passion for India is infectious and she makes it her mission to ensure you have a comfortable and authentic stay.  The kindest lady you’ll ever meet.

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Our arrival in Varkala coincided with the start of a ten day Hindu festival.  This was a lavish display of all of the wonderful eccentricities of Keralan Hindus. Devotion at its most colourful and imaginative.  Celebration at its noisiest, for around 22 hours a day, every day.

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The festivities at Janardanaswamy Swarmy Temple usually began at around 4am.  If you’ve never awoken to the sound of a nadaswaram accompanied by a small continually clattering cymbal, you haven’t lived.  Ok, so that’s not entirely true.  The sheer relentlessness of this particular style of traditional music offered a lesson in acceptance, shall we say.  Not only were we able to hear the sounds of the festival directly from the temple, which was just down the road, we also had the benefit of a monstrously large speaker attached to the lamp post outside the guesthouse. This combined with the natural reverberations meant that we kind of got to hear everything 3 times in quick succession.

It wasn’t all horns and cymbals though.  Throughout the 10 days there were many styles of music, as well as dancing, chanting, mantras, parades…

On our first day we actually headed away from the nearby temple festival and went to an elephant festival in a small village, where thousands of  locals were gathered to welcome 25 temple elephants adorned with golden headdresses, colourful saddles and of course those lovely big silver chains that shackle their legs together.

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Hikkaduwa, Negombo, Sri Lanka, Tangalle

Tangalle, with our girl Maia

March 29, 2016

Tangalle_29 We took the train to Hikkaduwa where we planned to stay a few nights, but ended up staying for one night and leaving first thing the next morning.  We ordered an avocado roti at a little place when we arrived.  When it came, it had cheese in it.  We sent it back and the cheese was replaced with hair.

As a holiday destination, Hikkaduwa is pretty perfect for anyone wanting to surf, drink, party with other tourists and eat fairly overpriced food.  Everything is in one place.  Hikkaduwa beach is lined with pretty bars and restaurants which blast out western music.  Since we have little interest in any of what was on offer, we scooped up Maia and set off for Tangalle.

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possibly the only photo we took in Hikkaduwa. Beautiful Majalita

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