#2146 | Dream Dinner Destinations: Camp Meating, Chiang Mai


Camp Meating, Chiang Mai

Hey guys,

I don’t use facebook much, but when I do, I get super lucky. Camp Meating popped up on my facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, one of those re-shared photo albums with an attached comment from an acquaintence, something along the lines of, omg, goals, ded, etcetera. Normally, I would have browsed and forgotten all about it, but as it happens I had just gotten booked for a travel campaign in Chiang Mai with Klook and Tourism Authority of Thailand. I cross-checked it against my itinerary and realised we had no scheduled dinner plans, so a hop and a call later, we found ourselves booked in at Camp Meating for our last dinner in Chiang Mai!

Despite the name, Camp Meating isn’t actually a glamping location nor an accomodation option. It’s a weekend outdoor dining experience styled like a glamping site, which is why the entire place looks so dreamy. When I ran a search on it online, many reviews mentioned that it was a hidden gem, but I didn’t realise they meant it quite so literally. As it was, getting there was an ordeal. Located half an hour by car from Chiang Mai city in the Mae Rim district, I 100% suggest you get a taxi or uber, or if you have a car, drive. I cant even begin to imagine what it would have been like if we’d tried to tackle it by public transport. We booked an uber that flat out refused to take us (are they allowed to do that?!) because it was too far, and then we got another uber which struggled to find the location. On Google Maps it actually pins the place as Unnamed Road, which as you can imagine, is pretty worrying. It’s buried deep in the recesses of what looks like a miliary camp, and driving in, you’re constantly like, is this correct?? Well, it is. And when we tried to get an uber home afterwards, the driver asked us to give her an extra tip because the drive in was so scary and dark (we gave her 150Baht extra). So yeah, it’s not easy to get it. But I think the isolation of the place is half of what makes it so incredible once you do get there.

Aside: We paid about 170BHT to get there by uber, and gave an extra 40BHT as a tip. Then the ride back was 180BHT, with an additional 150BHT tip.

The place is buried so deep in the foilage that we only realised we’d reached when we were about five meters from the entrance. Once we got out of the car, we could the faint sounds of old school American swing music drifting towards us, and see the glow of lights somewhere down the road. As we walk towards it, the foilage suddenly cleared up, and suddenly I forgot all about how difficult it was to get there. Because, look at this:

UntitledUntitled

GORGEOUS

INSANE. IN-SANE! I heard a gasp then realised it came from me. Before I could start to feel embarassed I realised my companions all had their mouths open too. It was just so damned magical, it was like it emerged from the pages of a storybook. Lights everywhere, lakeside tables, and the smell of barbeque, all to the background soundtrack of American swing music. Someone designed this experience and designed it well.

We had reached just as the sun was about to set, because of our filming schedule for the day as well as the delays in getting a ride there. So we’d missed golden hour, but we caught the last vestiges of dusk. It was so, so beautiful. As we made our way to our table, we were handed vouchers for the different food stations, and then left to take pictures and explore before starting our dinner. After we’d finished a round of exploring the campsite, the server magically reappeared and started explaining how the dinner worked. Each table came with its own cook, like a personal chef. You could go to three different stations to get your food: the main tent for your main dish and sides, a bar counter, and the smokehouse, for sausages and bacon. The sides and smokehouse were unlimited, and dinner came with a standard chunk of pork and a welcome drink (punch or water), with the option to upgrade to beef or lamb for 500BHT more.

Pictures from the area!

UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled

Snippets from the main station, located in a giant tent!

The set up is super cute. At the main tent, you get a little basket which you can fill with sides – sliced bread, chips, different kinds of veggies like asparagus, capsicum, corn, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and baked potatoes. You can also collect your main meat there – Mabel and I stuck to the original pork option, and Lock upgraded his to a beef steak. Then you season your food the way you like it – there’s a table with a bunch of herbs and spices you can use, and if you dont know what to do, the staff are on hand to help you. Then you hand it to the staff and they take it to your table to barbeque for you!

The drink station lets you have water or punch for free as a welcome drink, and you pay extra for anything else you want. Soft drinks are an additional 40BHT, and I got a hoegarden, which was 160BHT. Super pricey for thai standards, especially since in the city center you can get a beer easily for 50BHT. But, yknw, it’s still cheaper than Singapore so I still went for it anyway.

Untitled

Drink station, but the punch was nearly all gone by the time we got there cos we were so late!

And the smokehouse station is literally a little smokehouse where sausages and thick cut bacon strips are slowly being smoked. When you go to this station, they fill a little wooden tray of sausages and bacon for you, and you can head back to your table and have it while waiting for the rest of your food to cook.

Your table’s personal chef starts cooking once you’re ready, and everything goes in – ours chopped and roasted our veggies, did our steaks of meat perfectly, and even buttered and toasted our bread slices for us! After she’s done she kind of just goes back to chill at one of the stations, so I assume if you need more help you can either ask her again or do it yourself. We were super stuffed just from whatever we had though, so we didnt go for round two, I cant imagine how hungry you have to be to get a sausage and bacon refill because it’s just so much food. But the option is there, I guess. The pork was a really good cut, very tender and juicy, and the beef (I tried a mouth from Lock) was really delicious too. And the portion was pretty generous – each slab of meat wasn’t just big, it was thick. Same goes for the bacon – it’s like British bacon where each slice is thick and meaty, not like the American variation where it’s all crispy and crackly. Anyway, the point is, there was a lot of food, and it was all delicious.

UntitledUntitledUntitled

delicious. one of the rare times i enjoyed pork more than beef, even.

We were left to have our dinner in peace, then as we were finishing up, the chef returned with a pan of s’mores that we could DIY roast over the barbequeue. I havent had s’mores for so long – and they were really the perfect way to end the meal, especially fitting since the entire place was decorated like a campsite.

Untitled

WHAT THE HECK THIS WAS DELICIOUS

The dinner cost us 1,200BHT per person (without upgrades), which is about 50SGD, and I think it’s so, so worth the money. Everything about the night was perfect. The only thing I would do differently if I have the chance to come back is to arrive earlier – the campsite opens from 5-930pm, and I can only imagine how beautiful it would be during golden hour! Apparently sometimes they also have the option for you to try canoeing and horseback riding before dinner, though that option wasnt available the day I was there.

Hands down the best meal we had in Chiang Mai. It wasnt just that the food was good, it was also the whole experience – the setting, the music, the atmosphere. Despite the climate in Southeast Asia it wasn’t humid at all, and we didn’t break a sweat sitting there all night even though we’d mentally prepared for the outdoor dinner to be a sweaty affair. That’s thanks to the lake, I think. I recommend this so, so hard.

Camp Meating
Reservations required – I did it by phone 2 days in advance.
Cash only
Weekend dining – Friday, Sat, Sunday

IMG_6992

X
Jem

#2142 | A Weekend at Sea / Genting Dream from Dream Cruises

Untitled

On board the Genting Dream

A weekend at sea thawing out after a month of cold. I have to say, my first time on a cruise in what, ten years? was pretty unexpected, and mega fulfilling. I’m not going to say that I nailed the whole how to do a cruise thing best, but I think given the fun we had, I did it pretty damned well. See below for: our recipe for a superb weekend..

– a group that has the capacity to be totally ridiculous
– a willingness to make new friends
– 2-3 day cruise
– ability to source out GOOD DEALZ aka unlimited fine wine, thank you very much!

Lemme elaborate. You see, after my weekend on the Genting Dream, I realised that a cruise holiday is totally different from a normal holiday. When you fly to Phuket for the weekend, for example, you’re looking for a break, yes, but also to see somewhere new, to explore, etcetera. More likely than not you already have an itinerary or something vaguely resembling that. So yes, there is a sense of relaxation, but also a sense of adventure and agenda. Whereas on a cruise, you’re 100% there to relax. The only exploring you’re going to be doing happens within the confines of the (admittedly very large) ship, and there’s really very little that can go off plan when the plan is just to relax. It’s for this same reason that I suggest taking a 2-3 day cruise which can be easily slotted into a weekend – over the 3d2n cruise-to-nowhere we had (literally, the ship sailed out to open waters, then turned around and went back to Singapore), all I did was live my best life at a mega leisurely pace, to the tune of crashing waves and lime-fizzled corona. It was just the right amount of time too, for us to relax and yet disembark at the end of the weekend feeling as though we had not yet exhausted all the permutations of relaxation methods on the ship yet.

2018-02-10 06.07.37 1

Amanda, our coronas, and meeee

We were invited on a girlfriends weekend aboard the Genting Dream from Dream Cruises, so full disclosure, we didn’t have to pay for our trip (except for expenses, which i’ll talk more about later). I know people who have done full on stag parties on cruise trips, and my last cruise experience (>10 years ago?) was a family vacation, so I think as a vessel for holidaying cruises are pretty versatile. See what I did there? Ha, ha. Anyway, I checked the prices and the two night cruise that we did starts at about 400 bucks per person, although we got a nicer room that had a sea view so that goes up to 600/pp. This price doesn’t seem to be super fixed though, because there’s also a bunch of credit card promos I’ve seen for the ship online prior to my trip, and right now if you sail during your birthday month you get 30% off as well as free wifi for the duration of the cruise. I got all my information from the website, so if you want to double confirm the prices for your dates, check here: dreamcruiseline.com/

Anyway! We boarded, checked in to our room, and did a quick ship tour. After which we were free to explore the place and basically relax. Melissa and James were on the ship too, which was a nice surprise, because that totally played into my theory that group cruise trips are the ideal permutation because you can PLAY PING PONG AND GIANT CHESS TOGETHER! Okay, if you laugh at that, then you obviously havent lounged around in your swimsuit with a beer in hand all afternoon while meditating upon whether to move your Queen or Bishop, okay??

Untitled2018-02-10 06.07.40 12018-02-18 05.13.56 12018-02-18 05.13.59 12018-02-18 05.13.51 2

Checking in to our room

A quick aside regarding our room: I was pretty impressed by how similar it was to a hotel room. It was super spacious, which I guess makes sense given that Dream Cruises brands itself as a luxury cruise. The cruise itself is only about a year old, so everything in our room was very new. I was particularly impressed by the fact that there were two USB charging ports next to each side of the bed, because I am practical about what I need and what I need is power!

2018-02-18 05.13.55 1

Didn’t need to use the main powerpoint at all – all I needed were the USB ports

2018-02-18 05.13.57 2

Also, cant believe there was a bath tub in our room?!?!?!

Note: The bathroom’s tap water is drinkable, and there’s a sign telling you so as well. The cruise provides bottled water per day/room, and anything above that is chargeable, so just refill your bottle at the tap if you need.

Okay, so. On to the rest of the ship!

Amanda and I are particularly proud of how we spotted this great deal. Fine, we didn’t spot it, it was pointed out to us by a bartender on one of the decks when we tried to buy a beer. But whatever. Basically, there was a two day drinks pass available which meant that you could have unlimited selected drinks at any of the ship’s many bars, like coffees, teas, juices, soft drinks, any beer, and the super yummy house red and white wines. I mean, score!! There are several tiers of this drink package, but we got the cheapest because all the higher tiers included like whiskey and gin and all that.. and we’re happy with coffee, beer, and wine. Hoho. That’s 70 bucks each for two days of unlimited drinks, and I say with some sense of pride and amusement that we broke even within the first two hours. Everything after that? We counted as profit.

2018-02-18 05.13.48 2

Cheers!

We were so amused at our own bargain that we started wondering if the ship would raise prices after we disembarked, citing two azn girls who helped them realise how they might be making a loss on drinks.. But at the same time, we were also impressed by how the bartender happily pointed out this deal when he overheard us discussing what drinks to get. It kind of fit in to our later realisation that all the staff on this ship are mega friendly – at least the ones we ran into. Amanda and I made friends with some of the pool staff (who then delayed closing the particular hot tub we were in, hoho) and she even made plans to play ping pong with one of the other deckhands after he knocked off at ten. And speaking of staff – the ship is full of them. There’s literally personnel at every corner, which I suppose is mainly to enforce safety measures and facilitate check in and out processes, since we didn’t have to queue for a single thing the entire weekend. The Singaporeans in us didn’t know what to do with ourselves!

We spent a majority of the first day roaming the ship and watching the live deck band from the hot tub. This is mainly because the ship only started boarding at 4pm, so when we got on there was just over an hour of sunlight left. After checking in and having dinner, we basically went straight to the pool and didn’t move for 2 hours. It was hilarious, actually, because at some point the ship was leaning heavily on the right, and all the water in the pool swished to that side, leaving me sitting on the shallow end of the pool wondering where all the water had gone. The pool staff actually convinced me that they’d been pranking me by pressing some control system, but halfway through I figured out that it was the ship’s movement. NICE TRY!

2018-02-18 05.13.45 12018-02-18 05.13.43 1

Hot tub! Plus there’s a main stage on the deck where a band performs at night, so if you time it right, you could watch them play while in the tub.

Oh – a note on safety. For safety reasons you cant bring alcohol into the pools. And also, the floors around the pool are made of this totally awesome weird material which felt slightly absorbent and bouncy. I couldnt figure out what it was, but amanda and I bounced on it a lot, trying to figure it out. It’s also super anti slip, but the staff are always on hand to wipe up any water so that puddles dont form and lead to accidents. There are seriously a lot of staff, we timed it and if you bring a beer into the tub, you have about two seconds before someone blows a whistle at you. Oh well. At least we know we’re being watched over, safety wise!

After that we headed to the outdoor movie night, which was quite nice – all these day beds in front of a huge screen. However, they were playing Annabel Creation, so after about fifteen minutes we gave up watching and went back to our rooms to turn in. The in-room TV is pretty awesome I think, because unlike in a hotel, it has free movies. The selection isnt huge but I liked the movies that they had on show – the entire harry potter series, some of the star wars films, and I cant really remember what else because I was freaking out over the harry potter and star wars series!! I tried to watch Star Wars Rogue One, but unforch I was too tired from the day of, yknw, relaxing, so I fell asleep. Hoho.

I dont know what to tell you – the next day was spent in a way that can only be described as frolicking in the sun. Perhaps pictures will explain what can only be interpreted one way. See:

Untitled

Here i am, just after waking up, enjoying my unlimited white wine on the private pool deck

2018-02-10 06.07.35 1

Here i am, confidently challenging JamesBabsChen to an hour long game of chess because he said he hadnt played since primary school which led me to be stupidly cocky, when that was actually a MIND GAME and he was actually A PRO! Aka he won, okay, end of story, i dont wanna talk about it anymore

2018-02-10 06.07.34 1

Here I am, corona in hand, watching Mel and James play ping pong because I have no sense of coordination and so did not deign to try my hand at ping pong. This was pretty funny also because sometimes the ship tilted and the ball rolled off the table, and I did not get up to help, and just sat there and laughed. The life!

2018-02-10 06.07.38 1

Here is a rock climbing wall, which i did not try because i did not want to go back to my room and put on proper shoes. Anyway, it’s there if you want to try it.

2018-02-10 06.07.39 1

Here is the ziplining area, which I also did not try, because of above reasons. You need to wear proper shoes for this, and have proper clothes too, the ship personnel are super serious about safety and dont want you to get roper burns or anything. Anyway, this is the first zipline at sea AND part of the 35m zipline goes out of the ship and over the sea so that’s pretty hard core!

Untitled

This is Amanda being weird on the sundeck, apparently it gives you a better tan? Who knows.

Untitled

Here are the butts of Amanda, Melissa, and I, also known as the super basic I’m on a ship! pose.

Untitled

Here I am, being totally extra under the water slides. Again on safety: no jewellery or handphones or go pros or whatever on the water slide, they dont want you to bump it and hurt yourself, and when you get on the slide you will understand why.

Untitled

Here is the top view of the ship, which I took from the viewing deck on the 19th floor.

Sorry I just need to also point out that the water slides are intense!! I thought they were for kids because all these children were just flinging themselves down like it was no big deal, but now I realise that is because kids are crazy. There are two types of slides, the longer kind (stripes, on the right) and the shorter ones (solid colours, on the left), and the longer ones actually have a transparent portion that goes out of the ship and over the sea because, yolo, I guess???? And the shorter slides are EXTREMELY STEEP. Look at that purple slide!!! I sat down, looked in, and wanted to chicken out, but couldnt because I did not want to be embarrassed. And then i was like yeah okay, here goes nothing, and pushed off, and gave out a slight oh! squeal, and basically had all the air robbed from me. GOODNESS. THEY SHOULD PUT A WARNING SIGN ON THOSE THINGS: EXTREME THRILL OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Okay, moment over.

Onwards.

Untitled

Here I am with a sign that warns you not to eat the fruits on display. Hur Hur.

Untitled

Here is a mini performance area, where they have performances and screen movies. The performances are pretty good, mainly western hits. And then there’s another performance area at the Bar 360 that’s mainly chinese hits. And there was also a pool party during our cruise that was all Bollywood hits. So I’d say they got their audiences pretty thoroughly covered?

Untitled

Late night menu! Just had to put this here because I made a mental note of it (i love soya bean milk) and wanted to come.. however I showed up at 230am when the special menu was over :(( So this photo is in memory of my non-soya-bean-moment. Melissa had the $2 porridge though, and said it was GREAT.

Untitled

Here’s one of the shows we caught on our second night. It’s called The Voyage of a Lover’s Dream. It’s basically an acrobatics show loosely tied together with a storyline, although I’d call it more a thematic show than anything else. The idea is that an astronaut and mermaid fall in love, aka the sky meets the sea, aka the Genting Dream. Get it??? Haha. I think it’s their origin story but basically the entire show is fancy acrobatics that are extremely intense. This show is free to watch, just make sure you reserve a seat first.

Untitled

Here we are posing for a photo. After this we had to scramble out of the tub to actually drink the wine, due to aforementioned pool rules.

Fun times. So that was day two, basically, and we stayed up till 3am – Amanda just could not stop playing ping pong with every single person she met, stranger or not, and I went swimming then headed off to look for a sauna. Then we reconvened for drinks and chit chatted for awhile before falling asleep. The next morning we woke up for breakfast then had to disembark in Singapore already! So it was literally a weekend trip – which I can imagine works pretty well for corporate adults/ families, since this place is also a wonderland for children.

Final points to note:

– I dont think I would pay for wifi because no ship in the world is going to have strong wifi in the middle of the ocean. At least, not to my knowledge. So if your cruise package includes free wifi (like the birthday one), then good for you. Otherwise, I’d say just take the chance to disconnect and unwind! If you really need to contact your other friends on the ship, the Dream Cruises app (which I suggest you download before getting on the ship) has an in-app chatting function so you can contact other people on the ship. You can use the app for other things too, like keeping track of your bookings and the day’s schedule on the ship

– When in doubt, always choose the chinese restaurant! It’s included in the list of free restaurants. Maybe I’m biased because I think Chinese food is the bomb, but it’s really quite a good one. It’s not buffet style, it’s more like a set meal you get, and the dim sum breakfast we had was pretty yum. Really nice setting too.

2018-02-18_06-16-22

Chinese restaurant breakfast is included in your stay

– If you like having a drink with your meal and the option of having it anytime from morning till, well, 3am, get the select drinks package. 70SGD for 2 days is super worth it for unlimited drinks, and if you frequent restaurants and bars in Singapore, you’ll agree! The house wines they serve are pretty good too, and light enough for easy drinking, so its not like they serve bad stuff on the cheap packages. Overall I think this is fab and would super recommend this haha.

– Electronics like travel irons, multiplugs, etcetera, are not allowed on the ship. I think its because they’re all subject to Marine safety standards. My hair curler was fine though.. Anyway, just be safe, and dont bring it unless you absolutely need it. All staterooms have a kettle and hairdryer anyway!

– There are extra activities you can pay for, like bowling, karaoke, arcade games, and a spa. But I do think that for a 3D2N cruise, there are more than enough free activities to occupy your time. Perhaps if we’d stayed longer we might have tried it out, but as it was, I think we didn’t even have enough time to finish the free activities!

– In the middle of the afternoon they hold free dance classes on the pool deck. This is actually pretty cute, they teach latin dance and all that, and a lot of the older folk on the ship join this enthusiastically, which is nice.

– Another thing you can do is head to Zouk – they actually have a Zouk nightclub on board. But I only just peeked in. Tts really not my scene, and I think its funny to dance with people youre going to share a ship with for the next couple of days. So ping pong and giant chess it is!

– The ship is huge, 19 decks in total, and it was running at full capacity when we were on it. Despite this, it never felt over crowded, so that’s nice. There’s definitely a healthy number of people everywhere you go, but it’s not overwhelming, probably because the ship has so many spread out things to do.

– I really think the best things to do on a cruise is be on a cruise, so if I were to do it again, I’d probably still pick the weekend cruise to nowhere. I basically like being at sea, and I think if I wanted to get to a destination I would just fly there – when a ship docks, they’re bound to the laws of the land, which means that many things on the ship probably would close while the ship was docked. So my preference is still purely spending time at sea, in a group.

Untitled

Lastly: the ship is mega grammable.

Haha! What a weekend. Thanks for having us, Genting Dream! Till next time.

Dream Cruises:
www.dreamcruiseline.com/en-sg
Facebook
Instagram

x
Jem

#2141 | March’s To-Listen: 36 Questions – A musical revival of the podcast?

07-36-questions.nocrop.w710.h2147483647

Hey guys,

So I’m perpetually obsessed with finding new and more efficient ways to manage my time, and a big part of that is carving out time to consume content that i enjoy or that I feel enriches me creatively (see: Five ways to read more daily). And the most recent way this has manifested in my life? Podcasts.

Most podcasts are informational (I like the Freakonomics one) or funny (Weird Work), and I enjoy listening to them so much even if the subject matters have absolutely nothing to do with my life. It’s become so natural for me to tune in to a new podcast episode while getting ready in the morning or to plug in while on public transport. But very few of them have a narrative thread, and that’s something I greatly miss from radio stations in the UK – whole stations dedicated to people just reading stories to you in a comforting, grandfatherly voice.

So naturally, 36 Questions had me at three part musical podcast. It popped up in my recommended podcasts list, and I was like, are you SURE THIS IS FREE. Because how can such amazing content be free?! But the internet never ceases to amaze me.

We’ve become so conditioned to assume that content associated with high culture (art, music, etcetera) comes at a high cost – havent we all complained about Hamilton tickets being prohibitively expensive? – that i think when something similar is offered for free, it just blows our collective minds. When I was backpacking across europe I loved scouring forums for ways to get cheap tickets for musicals and plays, and it was also then that i really started being able to watch and enjoy theatre. That opportunity to really get into theatre would never have been afforded to me in Singapore because shows that travel here are mad expensive, and it’s just not within the price bracket for most people’s (semi?)regular weekend fare. I dont think there’s one easy solution for this because of the differences in cultural priorities for Singapore vs the States/Europe, but I do think that it’s a pity because it is a whole universe of joy and color and texture and magic and it comes at a cost that many people cannot afford.

That is a big part of the reason why here, especially, in the tiny island of Singapore, I appreciate what 36 questions aims to do.

The three part podcast is kind of like listening to a radio drama that occasionally breaks into song – it stars Jonathan Groff (Frozen, Glee, and Hamilton) and Jessie Shelton (theatre trained, but generally a media newcomer), and was written and directed by indie studio Two-Up. The story thread is relatively straightforward, with an interesting premise – a couple falls in love while doing the 36 questions (a psychologist-developed questionnaire that was popularised by the New York Times) and two years later, tries to fix their broken marriage by doing the 36 questions together again. There’s drama in the middle, a lot of rain, a lot of cheesiness, and also, a duck (throwback to season 4 of FRIENDS, anyone?). They often break into solos or have their dialogue phase into vocal harmony, which fires up a little frisson of delight in me whenever it happens.

There are two filmmakers who sit on the production team of 36 questions, and this works very much to the benefit of the podcast because it requires an intimate understanding of cinematic space, and subsequently how that has to be converted to an audio form without losing the lustre that comes with visual spectacle. As a result, listening to the podcast creates the sense that you’re sitting in on an intimate conversation between two people, privy to the tears, the heartbreak, the sighs, the drama, all up close. It’s a whole world carried around and transmitted to you through your headphones. And it’s extremely charming, which makes up for the dips in narrative, which does happen here and there. At some points the plot / acting becomes so cheesy I want to reach through the headphones and smack one or both of the characters, but this feeling is few and far between, and easily forgivable and glossed over by the charisma of the actors.

Overall a solid recommendation. I initially started on the series thinking it would be a great entry point to the world of musicals, but very quickly realised that it holds its own well as an entirely new musical form. You can download/stream/listen to 36 Questions here.

x
Jem

#2140 | Random things I’ve learnt from a week doing Snow Sports

UntitledUntitled

1. Lessons are expensive

2. Take a lesson anyway. It is more expensive to waste time during your extremely pricey trip trying to figure out how to stand on a snowboard, just because you wanna save a hundred bucks.

3. Waterproof clothing – so important

4. You eat snow a lot when you first start learning to ski/board

5. Bring muscle ache patches – whiplash in your neck from falling on your face is REAL and PAINFUL

6. Actually, scrap that. Your whole body will be in pain.

7. Snowboarding is more of a cardio workout than Skiing

8. Everyone says skiing is easier but I find the opposite to be true

9. You eat like a monster when you do snow sports. You get so so so hungry everyday. Give up any no/low carb diet youre thinking of embarking on before the trip.

Untitled

10. Fleece is water resistant, kinda

11. Snow sports are a really expensive hobby so pick it up only if you have a stable job
Eg. A daily ski pass is about 50 bucks. Then you pay for gear rental. Then you pay for jacked up food prices. Then you pay for beer, because you think you deserve it everyday.

12. Snow sport attire – turtleneck heat tech, water resistant hoodie, waterproof ski jacket, heat tech leggings, waterproof ski pants, face mask, ski goggles, beanie, snoot.

13. A big appeal of snowboarding is the fact that your board doesnt pop out when you fall down. It is a pain to retrieve and put your skis back on, especially on a slope.

14. A big con of skiing is the fear of snapping your leg, which apparnetly happens a lot to people who fall on their skis or ski into trees

15. However, a big appeal of skiing is many people can stand and kind of move immediately, whereas a lot of time on the snowboard is spent on one’s ass

16. However however, snowboarding is cooler, lol

17. Skincare is so important on the slopes

18. Sunscreen is even more important on the slopes

19. Metal is kind of sticky to your skin at very cold temperatures, and painful to touch, and I learnt this the hard way trying to grab my ski poles without gloves on

20. Normal gloves wont do, you need water resistant gloves

21. Actually, the term ‘water resistant’ will be your best friend in the snow

UntitledUntitled

22. There is no better feeling than soaking in an onsen after a day on the slopes

23. The sooner you embrace that you’ll fall on your face a lot, the happier you’ll be. Everyone falls down when learning. It’s fine.

24. You learn to appreciate pockets a lot

25. It’s almost impossible to look good when learning to ski/board, no matter how many photos of instagrammers looking glamorous on the slopes you see

26. Dont bother bringing your camera, you’ll break it. Use your phone for photos if need be, otherwise, just enjoy the view.

Untitled

x
Jem

#2139 | Mocha Mondays: Graph Cafe, Chiang Mai

UntitledUntitledUntitled

Graph Cafe, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Hey guys,

I must say, for all my food / cafe related posts on the blog, I’m not particularly a cafe person, which comes as a surprise to most people. I’m just not that kinda girl – I dont see the point of cafe hopping, your stomach fills up so fast, especially with coffee, it’s expensive, and I just dont get how you can see five cafes in an afternoon; it seems like a very practical exercise in the law of diminishing returns. But when I do find something I like, I never just like it, I love it – as seen from my affectionate odes to cafes and bars in Melbourne, Taipei, etcetera. And in Chiang Mai, the place that really hit the spot for me was an eleven seater hole in the wall called Graph cafe.

I was in Chiang Mai filming a travel video for Klook and Tourism Authority of Thailand, and part of the itinerary necessitated exploring cafes. Cafe culture is huge in Chiang mai city, and it’s only getting bigger. A lot of this, I think, is linked to the growing expat population in Chiang mai, and when I tried running searches online, I realised that said expat population had a huge hand in writing overly enthusiastic reviews for multiple places on Google and Tripadvisor. One could tell by the number of times the words “quaint” and “authentic” were used. As it was, I visited three extremely highly rated cafes in Chiang Mai, two of which I thought were disappointingly average. So much so that I nearly gave up – Chiang Mai has so many other things to offer, I thought, that it didnt need to have great cafes to stand out as a bucket list destination. But my flight back home was delayed, so onward we walked to the last cafe – it was in the area, no harm having an extra cuppa, at the very least it’d make for a nice break from walking in the hot sun.

On a tiny side alley sat Graph cafe, and it was full. I was super close to giving up and going back, but we were too tired to walk on, and really wanted to rest. So we perched on the little seats outside the cafe, waiting for a table to free up inside, and looked through the menu. This entire time there was a steady stream of people coming up to the cafe and being turned away due to a lack of space, but the sustained interest seemed a good omen to me. Also, another hopeful sign – the fact that there was no food on the menu, just different permutations of coffee. Good, I thought, grumpy from disappointments earlier in the day, coffee places should just focus on coffee.

The menu was fascinating – it read like a cocktail menu, but with coffee instead of alcohol. Between the three of us we ordered two coffees and one iced chocolate (Mabel doesnt take coffee), and then I got an extra to takeaway. I usually go straight for an Americano or cold brew if they have it, but I was so intruiged by the other options that I opted for something called a Monochrome, which is a short of espresso with activated charcoal, vanilla, and milk.

UntitledUntitled

135 BHT – 5.60SGD. Pretty standard coffee price for a cuppa in Singapore.

First impressions – IT WAS DELICIOUS. I actually am a huge fan of goma, and I personally think charcoal comes pretty close when it’s done right. The coffee was creamy but not too sweet, with a mild sweetness that came from the milk used. It wasn’t super strong too – I’m used to very, very strong coffee, so at first I couldnt taste the coffee in this, but it prevailed in the form of a lingering aftertaste. The best way I can describe it is it tasted like a very yummy melted ice cream without being cloying, and it was extremely drinkable. I downed nearly half of it in one go, and had to pace myself after that so I wouldnt be left with no drink whilst the rest sipped at theirs!

I also asked the other two to let me try their drinks so I could include them in my review. Aka an excuse to steal some of theirs. Well, it worked, so here we go!

Untitled

130BHT – 5.40SGD.

Lock, our videographer, got a GRAPH No. 29. It’s nitro cold brew mixed with pineapple and lime, mixed and served like a cocktail with a sugar-salt mix on the glass rim. Nitro cold brew features quite heavily in the GRAPH menu, and I think it’s a specialty of sorts. I love nitro because I think of it as the beer of the coffee world when done properly – smooth and golden, with a real kick. (The nitro cold brew from Starbucks is my to-go drink in Singapore.) And GRAPH is really on to something here, using Nitro as a base for a cocktail styled coffee! The drink was incredibly refreshing, and you had to have it with the salt rim and a mouth of coffee foam to really taste the different elements of the coffee harmonise. Yum. The cold brew method also shaved off the bitter edge of coffee that many non-coffee drinkers dislike, so I think even non habitual coffee drinkers would enjoy this!

Untitled

100BHT – 4.20SGD

Mabel doesnt drink coffee at all, so she went straight to the non-coffee section of the menu. There’s basically four things you can get – a matcha latte, a chocolate, a redberry secret, and a yellow glass weekend. Dont ask me what those last two things are because I dont know. She got an iced chocolate, and I had a sip of it. Theres not much I can say about iced chocolate – it’s either totally horrible and watery, or it’s really great, thick and frothy, like the ones from specialty chocolate shops. This one was a solid iced chocolate, definitely more towards the great end of the spectrum. Undiluted, chocolatey, and not so thick that you’d get sick of it in a couple of mouths. For a place that doesnt specialize in non-coffee drinks, I think this was a pretty damned solid iced chocolate!

I was so impressed by the quality of the drinks that I decided to get another drink to go, just so I could try more. It had taken me a ridiculously long time to settle on the Monochrome when I was ordering because there were just so many interesting things on the menu, so just as I was leaving I ordered something else I’d been considering – a cold brew coffee.

2018-02-24 09.00.55 1

This is the No. 8, Roses Stuff Coldbrew Coffee. 220BHT – 9.20SGD. Pricey, even by Singaporean standards.

It came in a little glass bottle that you could keep, I’m suspecting that adds to the cost. The cold brew’s claim to fame is a slow drip 24 hour brew, and it was very, very smooth, at a super low acidity. It had an incredible kick too, I was feeling the caffiene long after I’d finished the drink. I think the low acidity made it feel like there wasnt very much caffiene in it, which was the total opposite of reality because the cold brewing method creates an extra caffienated cup of coffee.

And the floral flavor really elevated the drink to a whole different level!! I know this is going to sound very, very weird, but it reminded me of my toner from Laneige’s calming skin range. The skincare line has litchi extract which calms the skin down and gives it a wonderful smell, and this rose cold brew was almost like someone bottled up the smell and gave it a taste.

I told you it would sound weird. It didn’t taste like roses, per se, more like a light lychee drink, and it left a pleasant cooling aftertaste on the tongue. It was so drinkable that I downed it in one go, which gave Mabel and Lock a huge shock because they were like, isn’t that too much coffee at a go? To which I replied, THERES NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH COFFEE! In retrospect I think the caffiene had already kicked in. Ah well.

UntitledUntitled

Pretty exterior!
Wearing: Her Velvet Vase dress, Fitflop sandals

The cafe is cash only, and has a few outlets around Chiang Mai city. The particular one we went to was tiny, I think the total combined capacity couldnt have been more than 15 pax with both indoor and outdoor seating, and it was pretty crammed inside. But I adored it! I only wish I had the chance to try more of the coffee combinations – I would have gotten more to go, but I was limited by the amount of cash I had left. Next time, next time. For now, I think: if you’re a coffee lover and visit Chiang Mai, you’ve got to check out Graph. You’re welcome.

Untitled2018-02-26 05.01.14 1

Haha self awareness level very high

Graph Cafe
25/1 ถนน ราชวิถี แยก 1 ตำบล ศรีภูมิ อำเภอ เมือง
Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Recommended: 10/10
WIFI: Yes
Payment: Cash only

X
Jem