Soi searching

Hidden gems tucked away amongst Chiang Mai's labyrinth of 700 sois.

By | Fri 1 Mar 2019

With over 700 sois in the municipal area alone, this is a labyrinth well worth diving into, because there is a wealth of hidden gems to be found…if you can (or cheat and use GPS, we won’t tell).

Early Owl

Located in Suan Chang Puak, a community venue in homage of nature and art, on eight whopping rai of greens in Chiang Mai city centre. Early Owls is a home-cafe in a renovated 60 years old teak house where dishes are rich in organic supplies. Vegetables are home-grown, cheese and yoghurt are freshly farm-made. Serving selected organic loose leaf tea, coffee, healthy western style breakfasts, salads, paninis, vegan and gluten-free sweets. Early Owls is an eco-friendly cafe targeting to be “greener everyday”, offering bamboo, stainless straws and 100% bio-degradable cups. For takeaways, we recommend you “BYOC – bring your own cup.” Apart from cozy cafe by Early Owls, indoor and outdoor wedding receptions, private events, art exhibitions can be held at Suan Chang Puak. For more information, please contact Early Owls.

13/1 Muen Dam Phra Khot Road, T. Chang Puak
Open 8am – 5pm (breakfast until 11am)
Tel: 095 224 6590
Facebook: earlyowls

Gemoi Lifestyle Cafe

Just down a soi off bustling Nimmanhaemin is this nerdy little café set in a high-ceilinged glass building filled with displays of a bewildering number of cartoon figures from Marvel characters to Japanese anime (all locked up tight to keep our grubby fingers off them). A shelf is packed with various manga (Japanese comics) that you — and your grubby fingers – can read at your leisure. But the highlight here, for its loyal fans, is the number of board games which you and your friends, or indeed strangers, can play. Games range from fun party times to serious strategic challenges. There are boxes on sale if you are really into it. Otherwise, this is a nice place to just work remotely with your laptop.

34/1 Sukasaem Road, T. Suthep
Open 10am – 10pm
Tel. 080 583 7227
Facebook: gemoicafe

Le Charcoal Hotel

Tucked away down a small soi in the old city, this hotel’s limited space is creatively utilised. The Tudor-inspired architecture is infused with a Hobbitland fantasy — as you do — creating a friendly, cheerful vibe filled with a sense of humour that is easy to fall in love with. They recently opened a restaurant serving mainly Italian cuisine. Guests can enjoy an open aired terrace under the shades of trees while savouring their homemade pizza. The dough is made daily, so it’s all fresh and light, wafting an aroma that is hard to resist. And faithful to its name, you must try their signature charcoal dough pizza which veers somewhat from the classic.

24/1 Intrawarorot Road Soi 2, T. Sri Phum
Restaurant opens 6.30 – 11pm (A la carte starts at 11.30am)
Tel. 053 326 274
Facebook: charcoahotel