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Chiang Mai is a city that offers the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. After a couple of exhausting day trips into the mountains or other thrilling, action-packed activities, there’s nothing better than taking a deep breath and just do – well – nothing.
Sure, a spa day with massages, manicures, pedicures and facials is great, but spending some you-time with a delicious cup of coffee in one of the many, beautiful coffee shops in Chiang Mai can be just as vitalising. Plus, the mountains around Chiang Mai are home to many coffee plantations, which means you will often get to enjoy the taste of some freshly roasted beans from the region.
These are the most beautiful coffee shops in Chiang Mai.
Forest Bake is probably the most beautiful café and bakery in Chiang Mai. The interior, as well as the pastries, feature such an amazing attention to detail that you might think you just entered a film set. But you didn’t. And everything at Forest Bake tastes as good as it looks. The bakery is very small and doesn’t have indoor seating but you can enjoy your delicious choice of pastries and beverage outside in the garden when the sun is shining. Oh, and while you’re there: Don’t miss out on an amazing lunch or dinner at Hinlay Curry just next door!
Taxidermy Café is conveniently located just at few meters from the southern end of Nimman Rd. in a quiet and secluded alley. The café consists of two small rooms with great vintage decor and lots of green ferns which creates a beautiful, garden-like atmosphere. Although this coffee shop got its name from the art of preparing and stuffing animal skins for display, they use this kind of decoration very sparely, so you don’t have to worry about entering a scene from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.
While it might appear a tad too clean for many people, The Baristro still is one of the most beautifully and uniquely designed cafés in Chiang Mai. The ridiculously high ceilings combined with the almost exclusively white interior is what makes this place stand out from the usually more vintage-styled coffee shops in the city. The entrance area of the ground floor can be pretty lively with a constant flow of Asian girls taking photos for their Instagram galleries. The back, as well as the upper floor, are usually more quiet and perfect to browse through one of the Kinfolk magazines that are available at The Baristro.
Kumo Bake is as cute as you get. It’s a little white and blue hut, which stands by the side of the country road. Inside you will find one table, where you can sip excellent coffee and try home-made cakes. There is a space upstairs, too. And if you need a bigger table, you can sit next door, in a much wider space.
Art Roastery is a small oasis hidden on the way to Chiang Mai’s Suthep mountain. It’s hard to make out from the street but once you’ve found it, you won’t want to leave. The café resembles a greenhouse (Don’t worry! They’ve got aircon!) which means bright, natural light all day long. If you’d rather sit outside, venture out into the backyard that comes complete with a small garden and pond as well a half-open garden house with two storeys.
If you’re looking for a peaceful place, far away from Chiang Mai’s busy city centre, you will definitely enjoy your time at Cafe no.8. The café is located between Chiang Mai train station and the super highway in a small and quiet alley. It offers indoor seating as well as small tables on the patio and the garden. The interior features high ceilings and comfortable chairs as well as sofas. There’s also a secluded space in the barn-like attic which you can reserve for meetings or other events.
Chiang Mai has many more amazing places, where you can drink coffee and enjoy beautiful surroundings. The best way to discover them is to check your Instagram under #cafechiangmai, or simply wander around the streets and look out for some gems.
Chiang Mai: Useful Information
Going to Chiang Mai? Here’s what you need to know!
How to get there?
You can take a flight from Bangkok or Krabi straight to Chiang Mai. There are also buses and trains going straight to the city. Try 12GoAsia, my trusted partner, for some ideas on how you can get there quickly, safely and cheaply.
From the airport you can take a taxi. Just get out of the terminal and on the left hand side you will have a cashier that will book you a taxi. It shouldn’t cost you more than 200 Baht if you’re going into the city.
From the train station you can get a taxi just outside the building.
When you take a bus, you will stop outside the city. There you will be approached by taxi drivers. They usually take around 50 Baht per passenger to get to the city centre.
Transport in Chiang Mai
In Chiang Mai you will find songteaws, red cars that drive around the city. A short trip costs 30 Baht.
Grab, a Thai Uber, works really well in Chiang Mai. Download the app and you will be able to get everywhere for a very low cost.
You can also rent a motorbike. This option is great if you want to be independent and visit a lot of places in a short amount of time. Just be careful on the road!
What to see and do?
Chiang Mai is really an amazing city and I would encourage you not to miss: markets, cafes and day trips. I have written a whole ebook about Chiang Mai, which has everything you need and more if you want to see everything what’s there to see and experience some really local places. Check it out!
If you need extra activities, my friends from Take Me Tour have you covered. They provide a lot of amazing trips around Thailand with local guides. Check some ideas below and visit their site for more.