City Buzz: May 2013

 |  April 29, 2013

Welcome to Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is abuzz with creativity, and with that comes a variety of exciting new places to eat and drink. Here are a few new hotspots to get you started.

Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House

Welcome to your new happy place. This lovely and unique little coffee house, café and day spa sits primly on the banks of the Kok River, easily reachable by boat or tuk tuk. A large white house with a spacious back porch reminiscent of a Charleston estate sits amid a lush green garden dotted with white wrought-iron tables. A wooden swing hangs from a large shade tree. A violinist plays by the water as regulars and travellers alike shoot the breeze over a tasty cup of coffee, beer, baked goods or a light and tasty meal. At least four fluffy little dogs laze about the porch, and inside the setting is a cross between an old-fashioned soda fountain and a child’s sunny playroom, with a fun mix of games, books and musical instruments to keep you amused. For a real sweet treat, try the Trio, a layered blend of coffee, Thai tea and mocha topped with whipped cream and caramel. Want a dessert you can chew? The ooey gooey Bananoffee pie will not disappoint.

179 Moo 2, Rim Kok
081 984 2925

Gusto Bar and Restaurant

Giant Hoegaardens, live music, tasty Thai food, and a sleek and spacious outdoor setting on the banks of the Kok River make this place the perfect gathering spot for friends looking to drink into the wee hours. Gusto is the new ‘in’ place in the ‘Rai, where young yuppies sip on an impressive selection of European beers, wind blowing their hair as they sway to the live pop-cover bands. It is the place to see and be seen and is a sign of the changes sweeping Chiang Rai. Long gone are the days of pubbing in sleazy bars by the Wang Come or clubbing in the awfully named ‘Sperm Club’ – today’s up and coming Chiang Rai residents have imported beer pubs and wine bars to spend their cash in.

Open Daily, 5 p.m. – Midnight
211/7 Moo 20, Kwaewai Road
089 855 5546

Le Petit Café Wine Club

Simultaneously quirky, classy and oozing with charm, this adorable little cafe and wine bar is the perfect place for a romantic few hours or a relaxed night out with friends. The fact that it’s only open for a very limited time on weekend nights only adds to its mystique. By day, this is the cafe to beat, where cakes, cookies and aromatic locally grown coffees are served up in the cool glassed interior or shady garden. By night, and on weekends only, live music plays in the small but vibrant interior, decked out with all kinds of colours and art pieces, while outside on the quiet patio fairy lights twinkle and small tea tables make for a perfect place to enjoy a chilled evening over a glass of fine wine. Frequented by Chiang Rai’s trendies, this venue is where people go to meet, dance, jam, and have fun. The quirky and stylish owners add to the fun-filled vibe, and on occasion, get up for an impromptu performance.

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays – Saturdays
7.30 – 12 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays
194 San Khong Noi
053 756 761

Shared Workspaces

Working from home has many perks. You get to spend the day in your pyjamas and make your own schedule. But eventually, that feeling of isolation starts to sink in and the perks lose their novelty. That’s why shared workspaces are fast becoming a popular alternative for freelancers and contractors from a range of sectors, from writing to IT to marketing. On page 51, we introduced you to the brand new TCDC, but that’s not your only option. Here are three more of Chiang Mai’s best shared workspaces for you to check out.

Pun Space

Pun Space is a collaborative workspace that has all the office amenities you need to create an atmosphere for your personal or professional business. It’s got high-speed internet, office supplies, private meeting rooms, a coffee machine, and even a modern shower for the occasional all-nighter or the post-bike ride sweat. Non-members can purchase a day pass for 179 baht, or flexi passes starting at 1,709 baht. For the more committed, membership rates vary depending on length of stay. A monthly membership runs for 3,149 baht. Oh, did we mention the fridge is fully stocked with cold beer costing as little as 30 baht a bottle?

Open Daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
14 Sirimangkalajarn Soi 11
081 875 0900


Who doesn’t love the comfort of a library and the warmth of a coffee, especially at the same time? Librarista is a popular spot for book lovers to drop in for coffee or cake while catching up on the latest popular fiction. It’s also a great space for those looking to stay for hours on end without getting the boot. For 1,000 baht a year, you get a membership that includes access to two meeting rooms, one of which seats up to eight people. You also get discounted coffee and up to five books to take home each month. The Wi-Fi is priced at a per-use basis though, at 50 baht per hour. If a studious setting is important to you, this might make the perfect office.

Open Daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
16/2 Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 5
053 895 678

Meedee Depot

This is probably Chiang Mai’s best-kept secret workspace. It’s not a typical space to bring your laptop and get work done. Meedee Depot is first and foremost an arts and crafts learning centre for children as young as two years old. Workshops are held on weekends to teach kids how to apply creative skills through drama, painting, cooking and puppetry, among many other things. But when the kids are away, Meedee serves as a quiet and creative refuge for just about anyone who wants a space to check off the day’s to-do list. Wifi is free and a fully-equipped kitchen is available to store and heat up your lunch. Eventually, a private room with a boardroom table will be set up, perfect for group meetings. Meedee also makes a great space for parents who want to work without a restless child on their lap. The second floor has amenities to keep kids occupied, such as board games, toys and books in Thai, German and English. Meedee also welcomes anyone with a creative streak to organize arts-related workshops for groups of all ages.

Open Daily, 10 a.m. -6 p.m. (Closed Wednesdays)
17 Sirimangkalajarn Road, Soi 5
084 541 0014 

What’s Hot in Chiang Mai?

There are plenty of new exciting places to eat, drink and get pampered in Chiang Mai. Here are a few not to miss!

Rim-Na Restaurant

Need to escape the city but still be home in time to tuck the kids into bed? Rim-Na Restaurant is your answer. This brand new eatery, which will soon accompany luxury villas and a basement bar, requires a bit of a hike to get to, but is totally worth the journey. Drive past water buffalos and friendly dogs down a dirt path not far from Mae Rim Road and just when you think you’ve surely passed it, there it is, a stone palace right in the middle of the rice fields. Inside the beautiful high-ceilinged, open-air dining room, settle in and watch the sun set over an expanse of tiered rice patties dotted with small ponds and surrounded by beautiful blue mountains. Sip on fresh watermelon juice or an ice cold Heineken and browse a menu of mouth-watering Northern Thai dishes. The rice and much of the produce served is grown onsite. We particularly loved the banana blossom salad and grandma’s spare ribs, falling off the bone onto a bed of perfectly roasted seasonal vegetables. The menu is apt to change, but you can guarantee that pretty much anything you order will exceed your expectations, in both taste and presentation.

60 Moo 12, T. Mae Ram, A. Mae Rim
Open Daily, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
086 510 0662

Mamory Delicious

Maybe delicious is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word mammary…on the other hand, maybe it is. But in this case, get your mind out of the gutter and your behind right over to this brand new restaurant. Named after its beautiful Thai owner, Mam, the name is actually a play on the word ‘memory’, and dining there is certainly a memorable experience. Situated on a street full of guesthouses and tour companies, Mamory Delicious is poised to become a popular hangout for backpackers looking to schmooze and booze on the cheap. The restaurant’s patio boasts several cool mist fans while the inside looks like a mini museum. Mam is a big supporter of local art and has smothered the inner walls with a plethora of lovely paintings produced by Chiang Mai artists. The menu itself serves up a mix of Thai and Western food at affordable prices, including beef bourguignon, spaghetti bolognese and all kinds of curries. If you’re lucky, you may get to try one of the chef’s experimental dishes, such as escargot or sirloin steak with red wine sauce.

Open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
11/2 Ratchamankha Road
089 435 2331

Kadee Nails

A lovely set of nails is important when it comes to first impressions, so why not leave the care and keeping of your hands and feet to the experts? Kadee Nail Studio was born from the passion of a young businesswoman who dreamt of opening up her own nail salon. Using high quality, safely selected products imported from the United States – including both colours and nail cleansers – Kadee boasts an array of unique and exquisite nail designs. The friendly staff members come from certified nail institutes and are all experts in their chosen field. At Kadee, you will be able to select from a variety of salon services, including manicures, pedicures, hand and foot spa, paraffin wax treatments, gel and acrylic application and removal and more. As a result of the great quality of the products used, whichever design you choose will last for weeks. So pick something that fits your personal style and show off those sexy new digits to the world!

Open Daily, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
82/5 Moo 3, Mae Hia
053 111 397, 089 924 5647