If you have time for only one cafe while in Chiang Mai, Clay Studio Coffee in the Garden is the one I’d recommend.
Picture entering a tropical little jungle and then being handed an excellent cup of coffee. Heaven. But first you have to find it. It’s in the old city in a little alleyway – easy to get to, but also easy to miss. Look for the elaborately carved entrance shown below.
Inside the entrance, you’ll find a large shaded garden with cobblestone pathways, terracotta statues, and clay sculptures, sometimes piled in lovely jumbled heap.
And they serve excellent coffee! Our cappucchino and Americano were very delicious, made with Thai beans from the Chiang Rai region. In addition to their coffee drinks and Italian sodas, they offer breakfast (all day), breakfast toasts, light lunches and desserts. We indulged and can vouch for their mango + sticky rice. It was beautifully presented and awfully tasty.
There is a restaurant on the other side of the garden, and they are building a 35-room hotel on the site, to open in 2018. It should be lovely, as long as it doesn’t make the garden too crowded. There is also a gallery/art shop on the premises, where you can buy lovely clay creations by local artists.
Inside the greenhouse cafe there are one 2-top, one 4-top, one 6-top, a comfy couch, and one bar table with 3 stools. Outside there are over a dozen tables of various sizes tucked away here and there.
There are just a few caveats: If you have mobility issues, this is unfortunately not the place for you. All outside walking areas are made up of uneven cobblestones. It’s a lovely garden respite from the heat, but if you need air conditioning to be comfortable, move on to your next option. The greenhouse cafe keeps its doors open and fans going, but there is no air conditioning. Lastly, bring your mosquito repellent. ‘Nuff said.
This place makes me want to journal and sketch (neither of which I do), read, or just sit and watch the light filtering through the trees. What a magical place!
Overall vibe – A jungle escape in the old city
Outlets – Just one, indoors near the bar table
Noise Level – Low
About the coffee – Thai beans from a farm near Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand
Milk options – They have soy and coconut milk
Restroom – Yes
Food served – Nice breakfast and light meal options. Full restaurant on the other side of the garden (the restaurant is open 6pm to 10pm).
Alcohol – No
Hours – 8am to 6pm daily
Connected to a hostel? – No, but soon to have a 35 room hotel in the complex.
Music – Just birds chirping