When you are looking for a vegan or vegan-friendly restaurant I highly recommend using the website Happycow.net. Some of you might already use it when back home, but it’s just as great while traveling! For those not using it yet; this website shows tons of vegan(-friendly) restaurants around the world, all for free!
WARNING: Although I will still recommended buying the HappyCow-app, after traveling with it for months I found a flaw! Please read this before buying:
So after months using only the (paid) app and it’s handy map I found out that it not always show all the listed restaurants in the area, compared to the website. For example Chiang Mai has only 14 listings (restaurants and stores) in the app compared to the 97(!!) on the website. Koh Pha Ngan has 25 vs 37. So I missed out on a lot of good restaurants just because some wrong bits of code. I hope that people using this app with the same amount of trust as me will always double-check the website from now on. EDIT: I had some contact with the creator of the app, you might want to add ‘center’ behind the place you’re looking at. It has something to do with gps/map-coordinates.
EDIT 2: Eric, the founder of HappyCow, told me that this bug is mostly happing in Thailand. So be aware :)
(Original post continued)
While traveling I bought the HappyCow-app (iOS+Android). This is a paid app but the small price was worth every cent. It is very user friendly and when you are, like ‘flashpacker’-me, traveling with a smartphone or tablet this app can save you a lot of time. It shows all the restaurants on a map so don’t worry about looking up all the exotic and confusing street names! The only downside is that it doesn’t work offline (yet). But I found the perfect solution for that!
You can of course take screenshots of the map page itself. But navigating to the restaurant, with a big possibility that the locals don’t even know the existence off, can be a hassle. Here is my work-around;
Before leaving I looked up Top 10-lists of traveler apps and I found the wonderful free app Maps.Me. This app gives you the possibility to download maps (and routings) offline (all for free since it’s open source). This app helped me out a lot in general; like when the locals didn’t understand me at all or when I arrived at night in the middle of nowhere. Before this marvelous find I was using the Google Maps-app. But back then I had to pre-load where I was going. I definitely recommend downloading this app, especially since their last update which including routing for walking/trails!
Ok back to the point: you look up the address of the restaurant you like to go to in the Maps.Me-app. If you are lucky the restaurant is already registered on the Maps.Me-map, otherwise go for an approximate. Then just pinpoint it and go on your quest for some vegan deliciousness!
And feel free to follow me on HappyCow if you’d like.
Ps. although this post reeks of hidden advertisement (I even made this fancy image down here), it’s definitely not. I just hope with these two apps you’ll have a much easier time finding your favorite vegan foods! (@Maps.Me, if you want to pay more for this article, you are very welcome! ;) )