Rustic and Blue Teashop
With a pretty grassy lawn out front and an icy air-con oasis (all antique wood and calming colours) inside, this lovely little tea and snack shop is the perfect place to get your zen on during the hot summer months. Owner Meen makes all her hot and iced tea blends by hand, and there are dozens to choose from, including black tea from Sri Lanka, green rooibos from South Africa and local fruit and herbal blends from Thailand. Coffee lovers, don’t miss the hazelnut yerba latte, a unique tea blend with a robust, java-like kick. Meen also stirs up a mean cocktail (the spicy chocolate almond marTEAni is perfect for sipping on the lawn at dusk) and plenty of yummy nibbles. Try a cheese scone topped with preservative-free jalapeno, passion fruit pepper or strawberry balsamic jam, or go creamy with herb, sundried tomato or truffle butter. Cheese lovers will swoon over the warm brie plate, served with bread, nuts and fruits drizzled with honey. Everything is homemade, and all teas, jams and butters (and soon Meen’s famous paté) are also available to take home by the jar.
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Nimmanhaemin Soi 5 (just behind De Marche)
086 654 7178
It doesn’t take a detective to notice that Chiang Mai is awash with coffee shops. But few baristas can compare to the level of passion and knowledge that Bay of Bay’s Café brings to the art of java. Using only the finest locally grown, fair trade beans from Akha Ama, which many say are the best in Thailand, Bay employs a highly specialised drip method to individually brew each cup of hand-ground coffee, using top-level equipment gathered from around the world. Choose from a small menu of different hot and cold beverages, including the signature Bay’s Blend, single origin, Bay’s latte, cold brew or chocolate, all made by Bay himself, who can tell you about the intricacies of drip coffee while he works. The cute little outdoor café shares space with the popular new Food4Thought restaurant, which serves up a number of delicious and nutritious organic dishes, including sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups. Reader Special: mention Citylife and get 20 percent off!
Open daily, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (closed Sundays and Mondays)
15/5 Moo.1, Soi Sudjai, Chang Puak (at the intersection of Canal and Huay Kaew, behind V Residence)
086 673 4853
Café de Museum
Looking to combine your dose of culture with a dose of caffeine, cake and yummy eats? This chic new café is located in the centre of the Old City next to the Lanna Folklife Museum. Attracting a young, hip crowd, the café offers both inside and outside dining to match its artistic clientele – large paintings adorn the walls of the main sitting area inside while sculptures and bright umbrellas dot the expansive garden patio. The café is open from breakfast to dinner with a menu of traditional Thai dishes (fried rice, seafood soup) and Western dishes (hearty salads,thick sandwiches and salty French fries). After finishing your meal, make sure to ask for their signature drink , the Coffee de Museum, which blends together espresso and traditional Thai iced tea for a drink that certainly packs a punch, or one of the other delicious and artfully prepared bevvies, including fruit smoothies, sodas and all variety of coffee drinks. Of course, you’ll also need a slice of cake with that; both the dark chocolate and the mandarin orange are divine.
Open daily, 8.30 a.m. – 9 p.m. (10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Mondays)
053 326 557
Looking for a romantic night out complete with a river view? Look no further than Paak Dang, a new restaurant that’s opened up along the Ping River. Paak Dang, meaning “spicy mouth” in Thai, offers up food true to its name: fiery Thai classics, borrowing heavily from the Northern Thai and Isaan styles of cooking. Though the food may be spicy, the atmosphere is soft and romantic, with warm colourful lanterns and flowers filling the space with light and sweet perfume. The music, a mix of traditional Lanna and slower western jams, is relaxing and helps to create a peaceful ambiance, and the friendly staff, dressed in traditional Lanna clothing, will welcome you with a smile and help you through the menu if you have any questions. Definitely try their tamarind soup with snakehead fish, steamed seafood curry, pineapple fried rice and spaghetti with stir fried shrimp in special Paak Dang curry sauce. Most entrees are priced between 120-180 baht and live music plays nightly from 7 to 9 p.m. The restaurant won a 2013 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor so you know it’s worth a try!
Open daily, 5 p.m. – midnight
46/1 WangSim Khum Road
053 232 356, 0946 291 319 (Reservations in English)
Green Curry Noodle
(Kuey Teow Keaw Wan)
Restaurants that specialise in just one dish are almost always guaranteed to impress – that is, if you like the dish. And who doesn’t like green curry? Get your creamy, spicy fix for breakfast, lunch or dinner here at this new shop off Chiang Mai-San Kampaeng Road. The secret family curry recipe, which according to the owner originated in Rama V’s palace and features 15 different kinds of herbs, has been passed down through generations, with the noodles being added as a modern spin on the classic Thai dish. Green Curry Noodle first reached public palates in Nakornpatom, with a second location in Suphanburi; the Chiang Mai shop is the third destination. Here, picking and choosing is the name of the game: select from eight different types of noodles (including rice noodles, jade noodles and wheat pasta) and seven types of protein (chicken, pork, tuna, shrimp, crabstick, mixed seafood, or the impressive pork-stuffed squid). Wash it all down with a number of fresh herb juices and yummy Thai desserts, including fruit puddings and grass jelly in coconut milk.
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
8/7 Moo 5, Chiang Mai-San Khampaeng Rd, T. Thasala
095 548 4846
One of Chiang Mai’s oldest and most loved vegetarian havens, this 20-year-old family business has just relocated from its Nimmanhaemin mainstay to a lovely new spot inside the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre on Wualai Road. The all-day buffets (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are back and better than ever, with tables of delicious meat-free offerings dotted all over the spacious antique Lanna teakwood house. There’s a salad bar at the front, a fruit bar, a khao soy and soup station, a variety of herbal drinks (add your own organic sweetener), Thai desserts and a long table lined with yummy hot Thai specialties, like morning glory in red curry, minced tofu deep fried with basil and Thai chilli, and yaki soba. Everything is local and the rice comes directly from the tiered paddies of Mae Chaem. Milled onsite, you can choose from one of four different types of organic, local rice (far healthier than the average lump of white), including brown, black and red. A la carte meals are also available, – including hoy-tod (crispy mushroom and seaweed omelette served over bean sprouts with Sriracha sauce), American style breakfast, or one of the yummy old fashioned lemonades, which come in a variety of flavours, from watermelon to beetroot, along with fresh smoothies and a selection of imported beers.
Open daily, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre, 185/3 Wualai Road
053 270 071
The B&M Boutique Villa and Cuisine
This small stretch of land just outside the city is home to stylish self-catering apartments, a remarkable restaurant offering international and authentic Thai favourites, and a beautifully-designed garden complete with swings, sun loungers and fountains. The restaurant beckons couples and families for special occasions, with an extensive menu including everything from mushroom pizza and Mediterranean chicken wings to classic Massaman curry and velvety silver bass served with stir-fried aubergine and Thai basil. Vegetarian diets, allergies and other special requests are happily catered to by the perceptive staff. Other highlights are the bar, which houses B&M’s bargain wine buffet, and the bakery, which is filled with homemade cookies and cakes on a daily basis. For a night (or a few) of relaxing ambiance amidst world-class hospitality and a refreshing mix of old and modern decor and cuisine, visit The B&M.
Restaurant open daily, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (room service available 24 hours)
9/5-6 Moo 5, Ban Kau Ko, San Phi Suae
088 954 2265, 088 946 9565
Kailash Akhara Retreat Centre
Attention yogis and spiritual seekers! This lush retreat centre in the mountains of Northeastern Thailand, an easy bus ride from Chiang Mai, features 50 acres dotted with ponds, gardens, and stunning views. Home to one of the largest yoga temples in Asia, the centre also includes an open-air gym, swimming pond and solo meditation retreat huts. With retreats and trainings in physical health cultivation, yoga, Ayurveda, Tantrik philosophy, permaculture, natural building and meditation, people from all over the world come to find vibrant health and personal growth with founder and teacher Dharma Bodhi, who has decades of experience as a doctor, teacher and spiritual advisor, and has studied extensively in the mountains of Northern India. Renowned for his Tantrik healing methods, Dharma is the creator of Primal Ayurveda and Sauhu Energy of Mind Therapy. For those looking to explore another side of Thailand and awaken their spirits, Kailash Akhara is a must-visit.
134-135 Moo 3, T. Rongjick, Phu Ruea, Loei Province
087 220 2384 (English), 083 358 3662 (Thai)
Siripanna Villa’s Slee Banyan Buffets
When it comes to the art of the buffet, the award-winning Siripanna Villa cannot be beat. And now, they have added several new all-you-can-eat extravaganzas to their line-up at the Slee Banyan Restaurant. Mondays through Saturdays, you can feast like royalty from 6.30 – 10.30 p.m. in their beautiful dining space, complete with indoor, outdoor and covered patio seating, trickling fountains and live music. The Night Buffet is just 389 baht per person, with 50 percent off for children and free for those under three. Pamper your palate with a huge array of spicy Thai foods, delicious Western specialties, salad bar, sushi and fabulous desserts, along with a live cooking station serving up specials ranging from Vietnamese steak to Mexican nachos and tacos. On Sundays, don’t miss the decadent Sunday Lunch Buffet in Slee Banyan’s peaceful garden (noon to 3 p.m., 599 baht), featuring live jazz and live cooking and sushi-making stations, along with fabulous cuisine spanning from fresh seafood to barbeque to homemade ice cream. There’s also a daily Business Lunch Buffet from noon to 3 p.m. for only 189 baht a head, and high tea in the garden daily, from 2 – 6 p.m. for 450 baht. Bon appetit!
Open daily, 6.30 a.m. – 10.30 p.m.
36 Rat Uthit Road, T. Wat Gate
053 371 999