Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

People visit Thailand’s 7th largest city for three reasons: the temples, the digital nomad scene and to sit in a cafe in Chiang Mai. Seriously, Chiang Mai is a haven for foodies – no matter if you actually are a coffee connoisseur or not (I am not). In fact, Thailand is known for its affordable and delicious meals, and Chiang Mai certainly doesn’t disappoint and instead goes above and beyond.

Here, food isn’t only served to treat your tastebuds, it will also appeal visually. So where should you sit down your bum for the cutest and most instagrammable spots that serve top-notch cuisine? Here’s my personal list of favourites. You just gotta pick one cafe in Chiang Mai to get started. (Watch my short video on coffee shops and restaurants in Chiang Mai for starters.)


Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

Baan Por-Dee

A little bit hidden in the backstreets of Nimman and just five minutes from Maya shopping centre, the bright yellow building with blue windows draws immediate attention. And still manages to be a local secret. You will feel so far removed from the city noise and busy streets of Chiang Mai.

Seat yourself at Baan Por-Dee in the midst of a lush garden and cuddle up with four adorable kitties and their cat momma while you wait for your order. A must is the home-baked avocado toast with the fresh side salad, paired with the best iced Thai or matcha tea I have tasted in Thailand. By the way, the cafe name translates to “everything is enough” and being utterly content is certainly a pleasant sideproduct here.

Address: Baan Por-Dee, Huay Kaew Soi 2, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Sunday-Friday 8:30AM–3:30AM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

Library Cafe

Whenever I strolled by, there was always a group of Thai teens hanging out on the pillows between the books. The Cafe has several floors and rooms to lounge in, the first one – where you order – also being a salad bar at certain times of the day. For the actual, name giving library, you pass through a glass door and enter a separate part of the building.

Bring your own book or grab one from the shelves (mostly in Thai) and enjoy your coffee/tea and cake while watching the people on the streets upfront. If the weather is nice and you are more an outdoor reader, you can also lounge next to the rainbow coloured balloon animal sculptures next to the small water pools. The Library Cafe is a nice little cafe in Chiang Mai.

Address: Library Coffee & Salad Bar, Nimmana Haeminda Rd Lane 5, Thesaban Nakhon Chiang Mai, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

Pencil Lucky Cafe

How grown up are you? And are you dead set on having left the inner child behind? This cafe in Chiang Mai will definitely tempt you with its ball pit! Yes, you can sip on Thai milk tea and then dive right in. In a little bit of a stylish twist, the balls are all white as are the walls. The furniture, on the other hand, is bright yellow.

Alternatively, you can sit around the longest aquarium I have seen in a cafe ever or rest your feet from sightseeing upstairs. It all feels like a homely art project, more than a coffee shop. Oh, and did I mention the fabulous light bulb and hanging garden decoration at Pencil Lucky Cafe?

Address: Pencil Lucky Cafe, 2 Nimmana Haeminda Rd Lane 7, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Monday-Sunday 10AM–10PM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

Smoothie Blues

I was lured here with the promise of the best smoothie in Chiang Mai and certainly left with a happy face. It really was delicious! And quite big. Similarly, the food was mouth-watering. (Which was also partly due to the spiciness factor – I am quite the sissy when it comes to spicy food). The cafe/restaurant Smoothie Blues isn’t hard to find as it sits on Nimmanahaeminda Road, where plenty of great dining options and coffee shops in Chiang Mai can be found.

It isn’t hard to spot either with its blue painted entrance and potted plants offering shade and refuge from the busy street. It almost feels like a backyard. Alternatively, you can sit inside and enjoy the air conditioning on a hotter day.

Address: Smoothie Blues Nimman, 17 Soi Hua Min Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Monday-Sunday 9AM–8PM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

Sarah House

I’ll be honest, this is more of a restaurant but it has its own cafe spot. Sarah House looks like the love child of an interior design office and modern gardenscape. Potted ferns are hanging from airy boardwalks underneath shady trees, black iron shelves act as partitions and decorator elements in the large dining room of Sarah House. There are photo opportunities galore!

Sit down and you already have a black and white table set in front of you, food preparation doesn’t take long and staff are constantly smiling. If you want a different take on the typical Thai milk tea, try the rose milk tea. It tastes exactly like roses smell!

Address: Sarah House Cafe In Town, Chonprathan Road Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Monday-Sunday 8AM–10PM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

On Cloud Nine

“Think pink”, that is the motto of this cute little cafe On Cloud Nine in Chiang Mai. The motto is applied very literally because the house is painted in a soft but vibrant pink both within and without. Bright neon lights remind customers that “Ice Cream is Sweet & so am I”. Indeed, there is no way of not being in a sweet mood after being treated to one of the cutest desserts.

Try the name giving cloud nine drinks. Fairy floss sits atop a deep red or blue soda cocktail with colourful raindrops sprinkles. Ice cream is served with “eyes” and different moods, depending on the flavour. While I was nursing my cloud drink, the wall next to me was constantly the backdrop for selfie purposes. This place is the quintessential instagramworthy hotspot!

Address: On cloud nine – a sky full of Desserts, Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Monday-Sunday 11AM – 10PM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

Frosé Yogurt Cafe

If you cannot get enough of the colour pink and all the dessert it inspires, then check out Frosé Yogurt Cafe. Frosé Yogurt Cafe serves you all the froyo you could eat AND you can dig into rainbow cake as well. It sits directly opposite the Library Cafe and is only a three minute stroll away from On Cloud Nine. So basically, you could live off desserts all day in this area. I won’t judge.

Address: Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Monday-Sunday 10AM–9PM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai - Frosé Cafe

Fine Cup Day

A little way out of Chiang Mai’s center, but if you are headed for the Royal Park Rajapruek or the big buddha at Wat Phra That Doi Kham, you might want to stop by here. You can seat yourself outside underneath shady trees or lounge on rose pillows and shoot envious glances at the shelves full of manga. Of course, they are in Thai.

The Fine Cup Day cafe I had a delicious smoothie and the chicken with cashew rice. Both were very good, but if you are feeling more sweet, there is a selection of cakes on display. A big bonus is the fact that you can pay with credit card.

Address: Baan Por-Dee, Huay Kaew Soi 2, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Sunday-Friday 7:00AM–7:00PM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai

DOM Cafe

This one is a little pricier but it serves up a giant bowl of crushed ice cream with watermelon flavour and fruit pieces in the middle. And all that in half a shell of a watermelon. Yes, it is decadent, but so are its dishes generally. Take for instance, the mille crepe cake covered in milk tea sauce. You can find the DOM Cafe in the little market area opposite the Maya Shopping Center.

Address: DOM Café & Bistro, Huaykaew Rd, Tambon Su Thep, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Sunday-Wednesday 8:30AM–9PM, Thursday-Saturday 8:30AM–10M

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai - DOM Cafe

Piccadilly

The whole district around Nimman Street is full of wonderful foodie delights. One cafe in CHiang Mai after another will let you escape into a world of pink ice cream, marshmallow flowers and colourful sprinkles. Some are obvious, others are quite hidden. The latter goes for Piccadilly.

You might walk by it on your way to Pencil Cafe or On Cloud Nine, but this little pink store packs a punch. You can choose from a range of ice creams and then get your scoop all “dressed up”. During the Ping Fai Festival, they even served the tiniest ice cream cones!

Address: Piccadilly, Nimmanhaemin soi 7 Suthep Mueang Chiang Mai 50200
Opening Times: Sunday-Friday 10:00AM–10:00AM

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai - Piccadilly

So which Cafe in Chiang Mai is the Best for Foodies?

Coming in Chiang Mai as a digital nomad means that work might be the top priority but really, what decent digital nomad doesn’t hang out in a cafe in Chiang Mai? That’s work-life balance wrapped in a neat little bundle right there. Sipping on the best smoothies while scouring the internet, digging into fresh papaya salads while ailing out pitches – or just refuelling while sightseeing – Chiang Mai is a haven for foodies!

But finding just the right cafe is an entirely different thing. There are so many different factors to consider: comfort, wifi, food and drink selection, friendliness, style, etc. The trouble with that, however, is that any cafe in Chiang Mai pretty much ticks these boxes. They are all so downright charming. So you gotta visit one cafe in Chiang Mai and stay there unless you want to wander around forever because once you start, you cannot stop. It’s an adventure in itself. And I gladly accept the challenge!

Have you visited one of these coffee shops in Chiang Mai yet? Which is your favourite cafe in Chiang Mai?

Baan Por-Dee
Library Cafe
Pencil Lucky Cafe
Smoothie Blues
Sarah House
On Cloud Nine
Frosé Yogurt Cafe
Fine Cup Day
DOM Cafe
Piccadilly

Why Foodies Need to Visit at Least One Cafe in Chiang Mai - Piccadilly

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Comments

  1. I loved Chiang Mai and would love to go back to explore more of the cafe scene. Admittedly, I was too busy sightseeing and getting Thai massages to try out many cafes. The rose milk tea sounds delicious and the ice creams cones at Piccadilly are perfect for Thailand’s heat.

    1. Reply

      Hi Jackie, haha I feel you on the sightseeing and massages. There is so much to do!

  2. Reply

    Either we were there too early or we completely missed these cool cafes!! This makes me want to go back to Chiang Mai because I feel like it must have changed so much since we were there a few years ago. Those desserts are worth the trip alone!

    1. Reply

      When did you last visit Chiang Mai?

  3. Reply

    Quite an interesting perspective of Chiang Mai. I would have never thought you can find so many great cafés in this city. Wow, each one of these places is worth a try. I’m hoping to visit Thailand next year so I’ll make it a point to go to Chiang Mai.

    1. Reply

      Hi Anda, I was taken by surprise as well. Chiang Mai doesn’t seem like a low key hipster place at first glance. But there is so much going on behind the surface.

  4. Reply

    These Cafes are all so amazingly beautiful, and pink, and cute! I have herd of the library one, but I am liking the looks of those ice cream cones. ahahah yum

    1. Reply

      Hi Kimberley, they definitely are. I like your summary. Have you been to other cool cafes?

  5. Reply

    Oh my! I was in Chiang Mai ages ago and I’m pretty sure none of these places existed back then! There was good food, but I don’t remember the cafes so much. The crepe cake at DOM Cafe sounds amazing!

    1. Reply

      Hi Tracie, that might very well be true. From what I hear, Chiang Mai has changed a lot during the past years. It is my first time here, so I cannot compare. And yeah, the crepe cake at DOM really did look fabulous. I was close to drooling even though I had my giant melon ice cream in front of me.^^

    • Meg Jerrard
    • 17/01/2018
    Reply

    A library and a cafe in one, that is two of my favourite things. Although it would be nice to have English books, I should really brush up on my Thai anyway.

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