I’ll be the first to admit that my previous experience of SE Asia is limited – before this trip I had spent six weeks in India, and only the North-West corner, at that!
However, that being said, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that Chiang Mai is an incredibly easy city to be in. We arrived a week ago on the 7th of January, and the temperature is on average a very agreeable 26° C. Dave and I have both been working as well as relaxing, and for the most part it’s been a pretty smooth transition, aside from the usual adjustment period due to jet lag.
Café culture is huge here, and I don’t think we will ever be short of places to work, eat and of course drink coffee! To give some idea of the amount of cafes here, check out this list of 30 different coffee shops – enough for a different one every day for a month!
We have also found a few favourites of our own, which I’ll list below:
Bird’s Nest Café
This was actually recommended to us by our Airbnb host Rebeccah, but has become a firm favourite for their breakfast options (including awesome avocado omelette, shakshuka, smoothies and pancakes!) There is plenty of seating on two levels, it’s shady and breezy, offers organic and gluten free options, great coffee, and a lovely relaxed vibe. We often see people working here but it’s also a great place to regroup and have a chat over a relaxed breakfast or lunch….
The relaxed atmosphere at the Birds Nest even made filling out my tax return more bearable!
This is a café, restaurant, gift shop, and guesthouse all rolled into one, and in terms of food and drink alone, it’s nothing special.
That being said, the view overlooking the river, the beautiful old teak building, the wonderfully rustic garden, and the cats, all make this one of our favourite places we’ve been to so far in Chiang Mai. It’s a bit of a walk if you’re staying on the West side of the Old City, but well worth it. Be warned – if you don’t like cats, you shouldn’t come here – they pretty much run the place and will climb on your table and lap given half the chance!
Check out reviews and where to find it on the map at Tripadvisor.
Despite the name, we didn’t actually find any cats here (there were a couple of hopeful looking dogs though!) What we did find was breakfast burritos, generous portions, kombucha, good coffee, and a lovely space to work at or just watch the world go by. Great service too, and they sell propro bars which contain cricket protein!
Other highlights have also been visiting the Wat Doi Suthep and nearby waterfalls, and Monk Chat at the Wat Chedi Luang (more on that to come!)
That’s all for now – I’ve written a brief happy list with similar pictures, which you can find here.