First and foremost, I need to apologize for my prolonged absence from the wonderful world of blogging. I know it’s no excuse, but I had been so tied up with work that I just didn’t have the time to dedicate myself to some proper blog posts. Oh right, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve landed myself a dream job out here in paradise! I’m working as a guide with a great company called Life Before Work, check out the site here. Anyway, having the next 10 days or so off I’ve come back to Chiang Mai…my home away from home. I’m beyond thrilled to be back in the North, away from the frenzy of Bangkok and the merciless touts in the tourist flocked areas of the South. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of Thailand but there is something special that captivates my heart about this particular city.
What to do with my time off? Well, aside from doing some blog updates, catch up on some reading and do as much relaxing as possible, I’ll do what I do best. Explore the city by foot and wander down every random soi and road in hopes of finding some of the city’s best hidden food secrets. Others might think I’m utterly insane for braving the intense sun and heat just to walk miles away from my guesthouse (only to later walk back) to find myself in some random part of the city surrounded by locals and not another foreigner in sight, but I love getting lost! I find it’s the best way to get my bearings in a city and it forces me to communicate more in Thai, it’s really a win-win situation. Besides, all that walking definitely helps works up an appetite.
So, from here on in you guys should expect to see more frequent updates, especially some Market related ones. I’ve decided I want to start writing little blurbs out certain cafes I visit as well; being a horrible caffeine addict I frequent loads of coffee shops to get my java fix to escape that horrendous Nescafe insta-garbage that is ridiculously popular in Thailand. Those who’ve visited this country know what I’m talking about, the 3 pack of crap: 1 packet of bitter instant coffee, 1 packet of refined sugar, 1 packet of non-dairy coffee creamer, YUMMY. Sarcasm aside, I’ve had to drink that out of desperation on a few occasions, but it’s certainly enough to make any coffee snobs nose turn up in disgust.
Alright, I’m done sounding completely haughty. I’ll share with you instead one of my favorite Cafes in Chiang Mai; Rich Coffee House. Located within the walls of the Old city, Rich Coffee house is situated on Sriphum road just around the corner from Somphet Market and it’s like a mini antique garden paradise. Now, that may sound like I’m completely exaggerating but that really is the best way to describe it. Built in an interesting style of old Lanna teak meets French colonial antique, the unique mix certainly brings about a certain charm to this cafe that comfortably seats no more than 15 people. The contrast of lush greenery against the dark grain of wood is aesthetically pleasing, embellished by the dangling vines of a small banyan tree and lovely fountain that is the coffee house center piece. If you want to escape the heat and sounds of passing scooters, there is a cozy air conditioned room up on the terrace which provides a pleasant respite.
The coffee itself is excellent, made with locally produced Arabica beans sourced from the mountains in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Rich Coffee house offers a variety of popular styles including lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and affagatos. If you’re keen on something special, try the iced Kahlua coffee! Trying to lower your caffeine intake? Not a problem, there are loads of organically grown teas to choose from and if you have a sweet craving they have a really nice selection of home-baked goods including decadent brownies, truffles and even New York style cheesecake!
So if you’re in Chiang Mai with nothing but time on your side, check out Rich Coffee House. It’s a great place to come relax, have a nice cup of coffee and read a book or people watch. Personally, I like coming early in the morning before there is much traffic and noise pollution on the streets. Peace and quiet is something I’ve come to really appreciate in Thailand; it’s a rarity that should be enjoyed. Of course, it’s usually short lived so I’ll settle for some soothing jazz and an Iced Americano.
(I should note that they have recently opened a new Rich Coffee House right by the Thapae gate, opposite of Black Canyon Coffee, but I find it lacks the allure the original location)