If you're looking to kick back out in the wild, here are northern Thailand's most creative coffee joints.
Sepsilp Glin Kafe Bannok
This lengthily-named cafe and art gallery caused a stir when it opened thanks to seating that allows you to dip your toes in water while you enjoy a cup of coffee (all under THB100 ($4.10)). Don’t expect full service; they just focus on making the coffee and let customers pour it themselves, but that doesn’t stop people flocking here nearly every day. The owner, Neng, is well known in Chiang Mai coffee roasting circles for his brand, Bannok, which uses a mix of Pang Khon coffee from Chiang Rai and Doi Saket coffee from Chiang Mai. Dotted around the front yard are vintage cars as well as stacks of old televisions and haystacks. They also serve beer and food, mainly Thai classics like fried rice and yum woon sen (spicy vermicelli salad).
Samoeng-Chiang Mai Rd., Samoeng district, 088- 251-7387. Open daily 10am-11pm.
Rim Tarn Nang Len
Situated along the Mae Sai River, this cafe boasts a personal cascade foot spa for you to make the most of the tranquil surroundings and home-cooked food. The owner highly recommends the kao si klong moo obb (slow-cooked pork ribs with rice, THB89 ($3.70)) and moo sam chan tod jim jeaw (deep-fried pork belly with spicy Isaan-style dipping sauce, THB69 ($2.90)). The selection of coffee (THB60 ($2.50)) is sourced from Chiang Rai.
16/4 Moo 5, Mae Rim district, 086-426-8715. Open Thu-Tue 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm.
Baan Kratai Adventure (rabbit house adventure) is located in Huarn Jana Boutique Resort and offers a wallet-friendly selection of local fare including moo kum wan (Northern- styled sweetened pork, THB59 ($2.40)), moo nam tok (sliced grilled pork salad, THB59 ($2.40)) and yum woon sen (THB59 ($2.40)). Like Sepsilp, it also offers over-water seating, allowing you to chillout barefoot above the Ta Chang River. Try their unique iced coffee, which comes in a 1.5-liter wooden bucket (THB75 ($3.15)) or the regular iced green tea (THB75 ($3.15)).
333 Moo 11, Hang Dong-Samoeng Road., 085-037-0333. Open daily 10am-6pm.
The quaint village of Pok in Mae On district is home to this stunning tree-house coffee shop-cum-resort in the middle of the jungle. It looks like something out of a children’s tale, with seating for 20 nestled in a gargantuan banyan tree (advance booking is a must). The cafe offers an extensive menu of coffee (from THB85 ($3.55)) brewed with locally farmed beans, as well as finger foods like sausage pizza (THB199 ($8.32)), shrimp-stuffed spring rolls (THB85 ($3.55)) and Chinese-style steamed shrimp dumplings (THB85 ($3.55)). There’s also a five-room boutique hotel, with rooms starting from THB3,500 ($146) a night. It's worth noting that there’s no mobile signal in the area, but they do have Wi-Fi on request.
Pok village, Huay Kaew, Mae-on district, 086-776-2946. Open Tue-Sun 11am-3pm.
Nestled in the forest, Lhong Pa is a gallery-turned-restaurant situated on one rai of beautiful land in Mae Rim district. Formerly a gallery, the homey, air-conditioned indoors is decorated with eye-catching artwork and hipster knickknacks, while there’s also an open-air seating area under a translucent roof. Food covers classic pasta dishes like spaghetti carbonara (THB120 ($5)) as well as some exotic hybrids like spaghetti nam prik ong (Northern-style tomato paste with minced pork, THB105($4.40)). What’s more, there’s a wide drinks selection, from typical iced coffee (THB75 ($3.15)) and iced green tea (THB60 ($2.50) to a variety of fruit-infused soda (from THB60 ($2.50)). They are always packed at the weekend so head there early.
Soi Nam Tok Mae Sa 1 (Mae Sa Waterfall), Mae Rim district, Samoeng Rd., 080-501-3028. Open daily 8.30am-6pm.