Beer Lab Review in Nimmanhaemin, Chiang Mai!

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This is my 3rd week in Chiang Mai, Thailand and mostly I’ve been eating out at Western/American places along with a bit of Thai food since I cannot have spicy Thai food everyday.

One of my new favorite places to go at Nimmanhaemin district in Chiang Mai, Thailand is the Beer Lab.  This place has a great selection of your favorite beer from all over the world including America, Europe, Asia, and much more.  They do have some nice selection of draft beer on tap and I got to try out some nice German unfiltered beer.

Now since I have my family here with me on my trip, I usually like to go to places that also serve food and boy am I glad I found the Beer Lab.  They don’t have a big selection of food but they serve some great steaks to go along with your beer.

Price is definitely one of the highest you will find but the atmosphere is definitely worth it and this is a place for those of you who want to have a good time, not those of you backpackers on a budget.

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This is the page with all the current draft beer.

 

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On my first day, I tried one of the steaks, I think this is the Prime Rib.  Now, I ordered medium rare and I do recommend ordering medium if you actually want medium rare as it was a bit too rare on the sides.  But overall very good steaks!

 

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In my last trip to Barcelona, Spain, I drank a lot of Voll Damm, which is Spanish beer and I was so glad they had it here so I can try it without a trip back to Spain.

 

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Beer Lab is huge with lots of seats.  They get busy starting around 8PM and if you are coming with a family, just come early around 6-7PM and there’s plenty of seats including a few air-conditioned seats inside.

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They’ve got literally beers from all over the world.  They don’t have my favorite American beer like Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada, or Anchor Steam but the selection is great along with plenty of draft beer to enjoy.

 

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They’ve got some excellent cocktails also, this one is “Lady Lychee” served with dry ice to keep it cool so you can enjoy it surely and slowly.

 

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My daughter had a blast playing with the dry ice from the cocktail (obviously).

 

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My daughter Peony ordered the burger, which she rated 7 out of 10, which is really good score since she is a tough food critic and has pretty high tastes for an 8-year old (mostly because her father spoiled her with good food).

 

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On my second trip, I ordered the other steak (I forget what it’s called) but I loved it.  This time I ordered it “medium” and came out a perfect American “medium rare”.  So juicy and yummy.  not quite up to the standards of America but for Thailand, very very good and delicious.

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I also got to try some of the special cocktail of the month, the Ghost Rider which has fireball coming out of some fruit.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Beer Lab for anyone who wants to enjoy some young vibes/atmosphere in Nimmanhaemin, great beer selection, and bar food to go along with it.   Oh yeah, they also do accept American Express which is great for me since I hate using cash in Thailand as my U.S. banks charge me $8 surcharge every time I take money out of the ATM.

Note: These reviews are purely my own opinions, I find reviews on Trip Advisor are sometimes not very accurate and filled with fake reviews.   But I do agree review of Beer Lab on Trip Advisor seems pretty accurate on this one, which is how I found this place.  I will try to keep updating my blog often with my own experiences so you can find more good places to eat in Chiang Mai.

I used my Nexus 6P for all the photos in this blog post, I love my 6P!

The Food Factory at Kad Farang!


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For those of you who want to try some fusion food, one of my favorite places to go in Chiang Mai, Thailand is Kad Farang, which has a lot of restaurants made for westerners.   This place isn’t as touristy as downtown and many of the local foreigners who live here go.

Anyways, today I checked out The Food Factory, which sells Thai/European fusion food.   Surprisingly, I ordered the Thai style spaghetti with seafood which I really liked.  While many spaghetti dishes served in Thailand are a bit on the thick side, this dish tasted really light while giving me some spicy flavor of Thai food.

As someone who lives in the U.S., I do enjoy Thai food ofte  but not prefer to eat it on a daily basis as your stomach needs some time to get used to.

This spaghetti dish was perfect for the occasion, also the seafood was very fresh, not the frozen type.

Also if you are trying to find a place where they sell both westerner and Thai food, this place may be perfect as your Thai wife will be able to enjoy good Thai food while you enjoy some fusion food that is easy on your stomach.

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Lastly but not least, having air conditioning is certainly one of my requirements to a good restaurant since my body is not used to this weather.  The Food Factory has great AC and it’s really a hidden gem that is literally hiding at the back part of Kad Farang.  So definitely give this place a go when you are fiening for Thai European fusion food.

Google Maps doesn’t have a location of this place as it’s brand new but it’s right next to Thin Thin Pizza in Kad Farang.

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Smoothie Blues Chiang Mai – Best Breakfast in Nimmanhaemin!

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Looking for American-style breakfast on Nimmanhaemin Road in Chiang Mai, Thailand?  If so, you may want to check out Smoothie Blues.  While the name of the place sounds like they only sell smoothies, I found out in my recent stay at Nimmanhaemin area that Smoothie Blues sell a ton of other stuff like American style breakfast, Mexican breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and much more.

This is probably my 3rd year visiting Nimmanhaemin and I am so glad I found a great breakfast such as Smoothie Blues.   On my first day, I ordered a breakfast Panini, which was absolutely delicious with taste you wouldn’t believe you are in Thailand.

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I didn’t order the below breakfast burritos (will try next time I go) but it does look pretty delicious.

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They had pancake with scrambled egg inside which was very interesting, most dishes also serve with small salad.

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Don’t like heavy meal?  Then try their breakfast oatmeal with fruit which is definitely one of the best in Chiang Mai.

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Smoothie Blues is located in the center of Nimmanhaemin Road right next to 7-11 so it is really easy to find.  (Click Here for Google Maps)

Also, just another tip for travelers in Chiang Mai, a lot of restaurants with 5 stars on TripAdvisor are mainly filled with fake reviews or tourist traps so I would not rely on TripAdvisor to find good food.  Unlike my experience with Yelp back at home in SF Bay Area, TripAdvisor has been pretty much hit-and-miss every time as many restaurants I checked out were nowhere near what TripAdvisor indicated.

Best way to experience Chiang Mai is really to try different restaurants yourself.  And an easy way to tell if a restaurant is good is to see how many customers are eating there when you enter.  Just avoid any restaurants that are empty or you just have a bad feeling about it.   Some of these places are tourist traps and all they care about it making money.   But Smoothie Blues is definitely worth every penny and I highly recommend to check them out if your tastes buds are of a sensitive westerner like myself.

Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand Timelapse in 4K!

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Wow, it’s amazing what you can learn while traveling.  Over my month long vacation in Asia (I have another week left), I have learned how to capture timelapse and hyperlapse videos using my Panasonic GH4.  Well, during the trip I realized a full-frame camera would be best for low-light timelapse videos so I picked up a Canon 6D and even learned to use Adobe After Effects.

Over the trip, I realized that most timelapse professionals were using Adobe After Effects to post process their photos and also add in virtual panning/zooming effects.   I have just mastered those skills (you will see some of the zooming/panning in the latter part of the video) and boy, it’s refreshing to touch on my editing skills and I really believe taking some time off Android videos have allowed me to actually get better at making videos.

Of course, my new Android videos will feature a ton of timelapse when I get back as I have new ideas for refreshing, unique videos.  I just need to find a new way to review gadgets and I think I may have just found it.   So stay tuned while I finish the rest of my vacation in South Korea next week and I will be back with more cool videos.

FYI, I used my Panasonic GH4 mostly in Phuket and picked up a new Canon 6D in Bangkok, some of the Bangkok shots were taken with Canon 6D.  I am now playing around making timelapse videos using the LG G4’s raw image mode, that should give you some excellent footage by working with raw images, I should have an update on that soon over at HighOnAndroid.com.

Asiatique in Bangkok, Thailand! [Long Exposure Photo][Canon 6D]

 

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I did get to visit Bangkok for my second time couple days ago. Bangkok is definitely one of my favorite cities in Thailand as there’s plenty of city life.

One of the places you should absolutely visit if you plan on going to Bangkok is this place called Asiatique Riverfront. It’s basically a riverfront hangout area with a bunch of restaurants and shops by the river.  Last time I was in Bangkok, this place didn’t exist but I guess they’ve built it just over a year ago.

You can find plenty of wind here at Asiatique to cool off your built-up Bangkok heat during your day travels.  Also, there seems to be a river cruise you can go on which I didn’t have time for this trip but next time will definitely check it out.

I also picked up a Canon 6D at MBK shopping center for about $1200.  Due to the currency, I actually saved almost 20% over buying on Amazon at home in the U.S. That was rather surprising so if the currency exchange is right, you may actually save buying gadgets overseas.

One of the new reasons I bought a new Canon 6D is because I wanted to take better low-light photos.  My Panasonic GH4 is great for most things video but its smaller sensor size doesn’t do as well in low-light situations, especially for photos that I really wanted to take.  Also, I was thinking of getting the Canon 5D Mark III but the Canon 6D does offer the exact same sensor and according to some, even better low-light performance.  Regardless, I didn’t want to spend the extra $1000 on 5D Mark III and also the 6D offers GPS/WiFi capability which I absolutely need for posting photos on the go without my laptop.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the Canon 6D, and below are some of the long exposure photos I took at Asiatique in Bangkok, Thailand. (click to enlarge photos!)

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I have also used the 6D on my timelapse videos (which I am still editing) and I have started using Adobe After Effects to make timelapse videos using RAW images. The result is definitely much better than my previous GH4 setup since I can really play with the images before making timelapse videos.

This vacation has really given me time to re-energize and work on my photo/video skills, especially now I have a new full-frame camera and learned how to use Adobe After Effects. So, don’t worry if I don’t post enough Android videos as when I get back, this will all translate into better/more interesting videos.

Tomorrow I am headed back to South Korea for another week, I will try to get some more interesting photos/videos.  In the meanwhile, let me know what you think of my long exposure photos with the Canon 6D.

 

 

 

 

Ice Cream in Thailand! [in 4K]

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abu-FPiR-U4
You would probably imagine having ice cream on the streets of Thailand doesn’t involve actually making it as it is one of the hottest countries in the world.  In fact, the ice cream would probably melt in the process.

The other night at Night Bazaar I noticed a big sign with YouTube and 2.6 million views (see original video here).  This is the YouTube’s most famous ice cream in Thailand.  Well, since I brought my Panasonic GH4 with me, I figured I would make a quick 4K video for y’all.  Now, if I can just get Peony to share me some of the ice cream…

 

Elephant Painting at Maesa Elephant Camp!

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2 years ago, me and Peony went to our first elephant camp somewhere north of Chiang Mai.  It was an eye opening experience riding elephants but I saw many elephants chained to the ground and felt the elephants weren’t being treated right.  I forget which camp that was but this time around, I was going to check out the Elephant Nature Park, which was supposed to be a free environment for elephants.   But it seemed that you need to make reservation way ahead of time and our schedule didn’t fit any of their openings.

Instead, we decided to check out the Maesa Elephant Camp, which is supposed to be the biggest elephant camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand.   It was actually a pleasant experience to see the elephants bathing and doing cool tricks including painting.  Of course, I did read a ton of horror stories/rumors about how elephants could be trained to paint but I felt like there was actually no proof behind it.  It’s still made for tourists but I do also feel that these elephants would hardly survive in the wild unless they were in Africa.   Can you imagine running into a wild elephant while trekking the mountains of Thailand?

I do want to visit the Elephant Nature Park next time though and spend a whole day with an elephant but in the meanwhile, Maesa Elephant Camp seemed to be pretty good, at least 10 times better than last elephant camp we went to.   The elephants seemed to be having fun, I mean I can tell they weren’t faking it.  The trainers do carry bull hooks but that may be necessary since there’s a large crowd involved and you don’t want dead people due to angry elephants.  But I did not see any cruelty to animals that some people were talking about online.

As for painting itself, I felt like the elephants actually do follow a set of rules perhaps but they are making the painting variations themselves.  And I believe they are perfectly capable of that.  It’s amazing what elephants can paint.  Just the fact that they can paint the whole thing themselves is amazing.

Overall, I do highly recommend the Maesa Elephant Camp for first timers.  I will try to stay out of the rumors about how elephants learn painting though.  Seeing them in person and in real life makes me think those are probably just rumors.  But if there’s any real proof to that, then it will definitely make me think twice.

Peony also had a lot of fun, the elephants kept playing with her hat and gave her many hugs.  Peony tells me elephants are her favorite animals out of them all because they are very intelligent and she’s half Thai.  I am so happy to have a daughter who is learning so much about the world out in the real world, not just with textbooks.  If you have kids, you should definitely take them out of their safe zone(country) at least once before they hit teens, they will thank you for it later in life (I predict).

Lastly but not least, I feel this is amazing experience in comparison to any zoo in the U.S., to get so close to such massive animals and touch them with your own hand.  And did you know you can make paper out of elephant dung?