A mere six years ago you probably hadn't heard of a little known app called Instagram. Now a global phenomenon, the picture based social media platform revolutionised the ways we share fun moments, often including food and travel.
Though wouldn't it be great if a user driven app showed you not only pretty pictures of meals and places, but information on those spots in the form of a travel guide? That would be Townske.
Named 1 of 5 Australian Startups to Watch in 2016 by Business Insider, Townske was born from the futile search for good coffee. Aussie mates Joe Vuong and Daniel Clark were in NYC and even with all the guides and apps available at the time, they still couldn't find a decent cup.
Within Townske people create mini-guides to any city in the world. What sets it apart form other 'review' type services is that you choose to follow like minded users and call on their guides to find venues such as local coffee shops, restaurants and bars, hidden galleries and secret beaches.
Here, Vuong and Clark offer their best travel spots, all in the name is 'research for the app', we're sure.
The best place to get coffee in New York City
Vuong: "La Colombe Torrefaction. These guys teamed up with Leonardo DiCaprio to supply a range of sustainable organic beans with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Leo’s charity. It’s a great initiative. They have a few stores throughout Manhattan and the fit outs are good too. The coffee, needless to say, is amongst the best in NYC."
Clark: "Abraco Espresso. This is just a tiny hole-in-the-wall place. There’s a four person standing area inside the store and a few stand up tables outside if the weather is good. It’s friendly, no nonsense and great coffee."
The best city in the world for nightlife
Vuong: "Tokyo. There are so many little hidden bars to explore, most of which you would never know about unless you were told. I once stumbled into a karaoke bar by accident and was greeted by a small group of patrons who were already there having a great time."
Clark: "London. It’s such a fun city and there’s so much variety in the nightlife there. There’s just a vibe about it that I like."
Favourite coffee spot in San Francisco
Vuong: "Bluebottle. I’ve watched these guys grow from just one cafe to nine shops around the San Francisco Bay area. I’ve only been to two of them, one in the Ferry Building and the other one on Mint Street near the Powell Street - Bart station. You can always get consistently good coffee with some easy breakfast choices."
Clark: "Sightglass. If I were to open a cafe I would love to have a similar rustic look and feel to their flagship space in the SOMA District. This is a truely interactive space where they not only roast the coffee but can hold public cupping classes to engage with their customers."
City most worthy of a million happy snaps
Vuong: "London. There’s so much amazing historical architecture juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers and infrastructure, it makes the city very interesting to photograph."
Clark: "Manhattan. I enjoy exploring all the little pockets of the city, and every area is so different from the others. Even the people are different, giving me a very broad range of subjects to aim for."
Favourite spot for a relaxing holiday
Vuong: "Croatia. There are some great resorts to relax and totally zone out. The food is good if you know where to go, the water is crystal clear and the weather is just spectacular. Although there are tourists there, it’s not as overwhelming as some of the other destinations I’ve been to."
Clark: "Koh Samui. I used to love Phuket, but having been to Samui I have had a change of heart. From the moment you land at the open style airport you feel a sense of tranquillity even when retrieving your check in luggage. I thought life on Phuket was slow, well here they seem to turn it down just another 10 notches which is exactly what you need for a relaxing holiday. There’s plenty of great resorts and Airbnb properties to choose from. My favourite place is The Naked House, named after its architectural disposition, not of its patrons."
Place with the most welcoming locals
Vuong: "Melbourne. Whether I’m visiting a little cafe or shop in the city, the service is always warm and friendly. I feel that’s a great way to gauge local culture and friendliness."
Clark: "Taiwan. The people here are so polite and that’s what makes me feel welcomed in a foreign city."
Destination on the top of your bucket list
Vuong: "The Kakslauttanen Igloo resort in Finland. I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights but I am not that keen on the cold, so what better way to see it than snuggled up in a warm bed looking up into the open sky from a heated Igloo hotel room."
Clark: "Tahiti. Who doesn’t want to spend a week in an overwater bungalow, sun baking or taking a quick dip in front of your room with spectacular ocean views?"