There’s an upcoming long weekend in March 2016, so it’s time to plan ahead and book your holiday. We suggest Chiang Mai, and we’ve scoped out the city out for its best places. Check out these trending hangouts.
Photo credit: dewy photo
This unfinished barn-like venue is another intriguing addition to the Chiang Mai art scene. It hosts everything from experimental music to poetry nights. When there is no exhibition, you still can go for enjoy a drink at the on the first floor. 88 Thapae Rd., +66 (0) 81-765-5246, open daily 6pm-midnight. Close on Buddhist holidays
2. Huay Tung Tao Lake
This reservoir developed by the army to be aid with irrigation has become local favorite spot for laid-back activities such as boat rowing, fishing, running and cycling. Of course, you can eat papaya salad at the bamboo shacks dotting the bank, too.
Gallery Khang Wat
Baan Khang Wat art village has just unveiled Gallery Kang Wat, which aims to promote local artists through monthly exhibitions. As for food, they just launched Morning Market, a Sunday farmer’s market packed with fine local homemade goods. 191-197 Soi Wat U-mong, Suthep, +66 (0) 98-427-0666
Chiang Mai’s well-established art space Gallery Seescape has rolled out a spin-off, Hern Gallery. It’s run by Torlarp “Hern” Larpjaroensook, the local artist and designer who designed the whimsical arty design hotel The Artel Nimman. Situated right on Ping River, the gallery aims to showcase works from both local and national artists. 1/3 Padat Road, +66 (0) 88-268-3893. Open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm.
Eat and Drink
One of Chiang Mai’s most reputable coffee makers, Graph Cafe, has branched out with a bigger food-focused venue. Graph Table serves mostly fresh homemade Italian cuisine and Western breakfast with organic local produce such as free-range eggs from a farm in Lamphun. They now serve nitro coffee as well. Moonmuang Soi 6, Sriphoom, +66 (0) 86-567-3330. Open daily 9am-6pm
Meena manages to add a new twist on Thai and Asian dishes by substituting some of their staple ingredients with rice–in some cases even the ice in your drink. Try the tempura shrimp (THB120), which is battered and deep fried in rice rather than breadcrumbs or satisfy your sweet tooth with the rice-based roti and ice cream (THB75). Baan Mon Mu 2, Soi 11, +66 (0) 87-177-0523. Open Thu-Tue 10am-5pm
A restored colonial mansion in Anantara Chiangmai has been reimagined as a hidden stronghold of the British secret intelligence service. The kitchen specializes in contemporary Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese dishes while the bar focuses on cocktails with Asian twists, while there’s also a separate whiskey and cigar lounge. Anantara Chiangmai 123-123/1 Charoen Prathet Road, Changklan, +66 (0) 53 253 333. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-11pm
Taking over an old space on Ratchadamnoen Road, near the famous Thapae walking street, this European industrial loft diner offers Western staples like burgers, sandwiches and some Thai staples like khaotang nam prik ong (tomato and pork chili paste with rice crackling). It’s also home to Mini-wall Gallery which features month exhibitions. The floors above belong to Let’s Relax Spa, too. Rachadamnoen Rd., +66 (0) 53-271-339, +66 (0) 52-087-334. Open Mon-Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 8am-noon
Hidden inside the Ramrimna Hotel in Mae Rim district, this restaurant is scenic to say the least. Dishes are served up right next to the rice fields, where lush mountains act as the backdrop. The food is a mix of international and Thai staples such as salads and barbecue with ingredients taken from their own organic farm. Try the miang dalah (torched ginger leaves with Thai herbs and sweet dressing). 60 Moo 12 Mae Rim, +66 (0) 81-033-8181. Open daily 8am-10pm
This American vintage-looking restaurant at Eastin Tan Chiang Mai is led by Chef Prapat Kaewwannee, who used to be sous chef at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi. The kitchen serves both international and local dishes, with highlights like beef burger and the Northern Pinto set, which consists of nam prik num (chili paste dip) and pork crackling and gaeng hanglay (Northern-style curry). They also offer mixologist classes, too. 165 Huay Kaew Road, Suthep, +66 (0) 52-001-999.
Is it a restaurant? Is it an art space? Founder of Chiang Mai’s artsy Yonyang Studio, Silawataka “Kang” Ramyananda, has closed his Krua Ban Kang restaurant at BACC in Bangkok, in favor of this eatery where the theme is everyday art. The menu has a heavy focus on Japanese as Kang is half-Japanese. Malada Home and Resort 232 Moo 5 Nong Kwai, Hang Dong. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight
The six-year-old restaurant Tueng Jiang Mai has closed its old dig to trade with new hut that is praised for the design in admiring folk-living space mixed with modern architecture; think of thatched triangle roof adorned with dangling light bulbs and bamboo rice containers. The kitchen still serves delicious traditional northern food as always. 6NATURE project, 63/9 Moo 14, Soi Wat U-mong, Suthep, +66 (0)91-076-6100, +66 (0)93-970-6885. Open daily 9am-9pm.
Situated inside Royal Thai Army Taksin base in Mae Rim district, about 30 minutes out of Chiang Mai town, this dining experience lets you enjoy a barbecue dinner amid luxurious outdoor surrounds. Set meals start at THB1,000. Bookings needed two day in advance, through the end of Feb. Activities such as horse riding and boat rowing are offered as well. Royal Thai Army Taksin, +66 (0) 90-4040-9500. Open daily 4:30-10pm
This coffee place is like a Pinterest board sprung to life with its hut-in-the-jungle look. Jaiboon serves medium-roast coffee with NYC cheesecakes at B180. 1006 Sankampaeng Road, +66 (0)86-336-3463. Open daily 9:30am-6pm
This art cafe takes its inspiration from a spaceship, but the results are more nostalgic than futuristic. Their treats range from breakfast toast to massaman beef sandwich, with plenty of coffee and soda drinks. Gallery Seescape, 22/1 Soi Nimmanhaemin 17, +66 (0) 93-831-9394. Open Tue-Sun 8am-7pm
C’nual Sweet Cooking has moved to a bigger space in hip Nimmanhaemin. The name is different but the focus is still on homemade sweets such as choux cream and fusion Japanese food. The sweets are priced at a low B29-59 while meals start at B39-179. 22/4 Nimmanhaemin Soi 13, +66 (0)87-304-0478. Open Thu-Tue 11am-10pm
This gallery-slash-cafe not only serves coffee, but also specializes in sugar-free, 100-percent pure cold-pressed juices. With the goal of educating customers about art, all of the drinks are named after famous paintings, with the most popular being the Monet Sunrise consisting of carrots, passion fruit and pineapple. Tucked between Nimmanhaemin Sois 3 and 5, open daily 9am-6pm
Owned by a musician, this red Paris-indebted cafe is decorated with guitars, violins, drums, saxophones and even a piano. Feeling creative? The instruments are all free to play. They serve coffee and pastries. 27 Charoenmuang Soi 1, +66 (0) 98-446-4229. Open daily 8am-6:30pm
Founded by Phuritat Khunurat, an architect who fell in love with coffee, this cafe goes for a distinctly European vibe. Inside the industrial-rustic cafe room, you’ll find bric-a-brac like old cameras and teapots. Grab a coffee and one of the killer croissants. You can also visit their second branch at Oxotel, the newly opened hostel on Wua Lai Road. 18/3 Soi Mengrairasmi, Sermsuk Rd., +66 (0)94-056-1962. Open daily 8.30am-7pm
This cafe-cum-art-gallery is popular among locals for its rustic vibe with hanging ferns. Beyond desserts and coffee, you can also shop for handmade crafts and art from the rotating exhibitions. 80 Charoenraj Rd., Wat Ket, +66 (0) 52-003-717, open daily 10am-10pm
This tiny Scandinavian-style newcomer is run by self-proclaimed coffee snobs who select their beans from dedicated coffee trips around Thailand and abroad. One Day Drip focuses on single-origin drip coffee, baguette sandwiches and pastries accompanied by their own homemade jam, made from seasonal local fruits like pineapple and strawberry. Sriphoom Soi 4, +66 (0) 08-655-42473, +66 (0) 90-127-4560. Open daily 9am-8pm
Arnon Thitprasert, the brainchild behind Chiang Mai’s super-cool Ristr8to, has opened a second even more ambitious coffee shop. It’s centered on the concept of cult coffee, showcasing what Arnon’s learned from various coffee-making competitions and trips around the world. We recommend the coffee-based alcoholic drinks such as the Ethiopian Monkey (hot mocha with Creme de menthe). Between Nimmanhemin soi 3 and 5, +66 (0) 53-215-278. Open daily 7:08am-6:08pm
The owners traveled to coffee farms in Central America to learn more about their craft. This cafe-cum-roaster also offers occasional coffee-making classes. 181/272 Moo 3, Potaram Rd., +66 (0) 89 999-4440. Open Fri-Wed 10am-5pm
Unlike other coffee joints with expensive espresso machines, this small Japanese-style cafe is all about the humble Italian moka pot. They say this brewing method brings out the best flavor from their lightly roasted beans. Better head there early. 29/2 Arak Rd., Sriphum, +66 (0) 81-568-7203. Open Mon-Fri 10am-3:30pm, Sat 9am-2pm, Sun 9am-noon
One of the best baristas in Chiang Mai, Nattapatch Poonprapan, has taken all his experience working at the famous coffee social enterprise Akha Ama, to open his own coffee house. Try their signature Cottontree blend of Thai, Indonesia and Brazil beans. Green Hill Place, 45/38 Moo 5, Chang Phuak, +66 (0) 86-090-9014. Open Wed-Mon 9am-6pm
The owner of Nine One Coffe farm on the outskirts of town, on Doi Saket, transitioned from growing to roasting and opened the Nine-One Coffee bar. Try their organic blends like Homdoi and Lanna Paradis, comprising beans from various farms up north, or opt for the Fruity Flora (single origin). Nimmahamin Soi 11, Suthep, +66 (0) 91-775-8405. Open daily 7:30am-9:30pm
Founded by fashion guru and interior designer Atithep Woralert, aka A Kaber, this coffee shop is packed with vintage wares, from Gothic chairs to leather trunks. Apart from drinks, they also serve easy dishes like burgers and salads. 77/1 Samlan Rd., Phra Singh, +66 (0) 85-037-9824. Open Thu-Tue 8am-11:30pm
Launched this month, Simple Space is a new addition to Chiang Mai’s growing co-working scene. This mix of black metal and floor-to-ceiling curved mirrors is also the setting for tantalizing dishes such as stir-fried squid with salted egg, spaghetti black ink shrimp and chocolate caramel dome. 555/16 Chiangmai-Prao Rd. Sansai, +66 (0) 86 556 4565. Open 24 hours