One of Chiang Mai attractions are its coffee shops. Digital nomads, who live here, know about it all too well. Here you can choose between small, Thai-style cafes with no decor at all, except wooden chairs and small, round tables, selling overly-sweet, cheap coffee and bubble tea in different colours. You can also use free wi-fi and work away from one of the co-working spaces, which pose as coffee shops, so they don’t get into too much trouble with the Thai immigration office (check out CAMP).
There are also many stylish, quiet places that offer great coffee and tea, and are frequented by those, who just want to meet their friends, or read a book (my personal favourite is Akha Ama). Finally, there are also some cafes that are a little different, either located in an unusual place, or offering something extra, except just coffee and nice atmosphere. One of those places is the Baan Kang Wat – a new concept art community. It has not been so popular, but it is slowly picking up and becoming one of the Chiang Mai attractions.
I am not sure where I heard about Baan Kang Wat, but it doesn’t really matter now. I had known about its existence for a while, but never got around to go there. Recently, however, Chris and I have been discovering Chiang Mai attractions more often and trying to fill up our weekends with some day trips and activities. Last Sunday my friend Cel mentioned she wanted to visit Baan Kang Wat and, not thinking too much, we jumped on our scooter and followed her to check out the place.
Baan Kang Wat is located off the Suthep Road and pretty well hidden from the traffic and chaos of the city. The area is full of small, lovely shops ran by crafts makers, coffee shops, serving amazing drinks and some light snacks, and art galleries. There is even a stylish looking hair salon, which unfortunately was closed during our visit.
The place is truly beautiful. There is grass, trees, different plants everywhere you go. If you wander to the very back of the Baan Kang Wat Artist Village you will find a small vegetable garden.
You also cannot miss the Pa Cha Na ceramic studio, which offers open workshops. You can either admire what others have created, or get your hands dirty and try out something new. If you are interested in participating in one of their workshops, visit the Baan Kang Wat’s Facebook page for more information.
The first place we checked out was the Library Cafe. I love coffee and I love books and this place brings both things together and creates something really nice. I dragged Chris and Cel there, hoping that I can find a book and read a little bit while sipping a coffee. Unfortunately, I only could find one magazine in English. The rest of the publications were in Thai. I didn’t mind though.
The place was airy, comfortable and with some lovely views on the green yard. The Thai coffee, which they offer, wasn’t bad, but was too milky for my taste. I did however love the lime soda, made out of freshly squeezed lime. It didn’t even have that much sugar, which made it a perfect drink for a humid afternoon. Cel had a Thai tea with passion fruit, which I had never had before, but I must say it was a great combination.
This was also the day when I discovered americano at The Old Chiang Mai Espresso Bar. Finally I had a coffee that was so strong and bitter that it was hard to swallow – and this is exactly how I like it! If you are not as crazy about strong coffee as I am, don’t worry. This cafe offers other lovely drinks. Besides, there are more coffee places to try out at Baan Kang Wat.
I actually didn’t want to leave the place. I absolutely fell in love with it. It is large enough to accommodate a small crowd, but cosy and atmospheric at the same time. I could have spent ages just looking at the beautiful houses and try out coffee at each of them, but it was time for us to go.
Before we headed back home we visited the Loudspeaker Community Art Space, which seemed like it had been abandoned. However, we found it to be a very interesting place and if you are in the area, pop by to see some art and take some photos.
The area around Baan Kang Wat and the art community itself will become very popular really soon. There are more and more people coming here, especially during the weekend. So, hurry up before it will become yet another one of Chiang Mai main attractions.