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The Coolest Art Cafés in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city, is an extremely popular place among travellers in the region. Of course, the city has countless beautiful temples to visit, some spectacular nature spots nearby, and excellent food. But, there is also a growing art scene.

There are dozens of great cafés to work from, as well as plenty of co-working spaces, but there are also some really nice cafés in town to chill out in after working hard or hitting the sights, many of them which also exhibit and sell art. After recently spending two weeks there, I discovered all the coolest art cafés in Chiang Ma

SS1254372 Cafe

Despite the ridiculous name, this place is a great find, and an especially good breakfast spot. The building itself is very cool, with unusual round windows and a very cute veranda, which attracts young Thai couples as an ideal selfie spot. On the other side of the small courtyard, there is the attached Seascape Gallery, which exhibits some interesting, locally made sculpture, paintings, and other multimedia art. There are also things like handmade bags, notebooks, and lamps for sale.

My Secret Cafe in Town

Set across two levels, this delightfully peaceful café inside the old town is the perfect place to relax with a good book while sipping on a fresh coconut or a frothy latte. Downstairs, the café area offers a variety of seating from comfy sofas, high chairs and tables, and cushioned lounge chairs. The music is very cool and not too loud, and upstairs is a small, minimal art gallery with changing exhibits by local artists.

My Secret Cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand by Sam Wood for Smash Transit

8 Days a Week

With an excellent range of iced teas, this open-fronted café with low chairs and tables set in a leafy side street in the Nimman area has a few pieces on the walls at all times, but also puts on frequent photography exhibitions. The design of the place is also very cool, with handmade wooden tables and an interesting use of hard and soft surfaces. The crowd here is very laid back, and it’s a good place to mix with young Thai folk.

Sangdee Gallery & Café

This very calm space just off Nimmanhaeminda Road doesn’t look like much from the outside, but offers a relaxing environment to enjoy a cheap coffee, tea, or beer, and regularly changing art during the day. In the evenings, it sometimes hosts parties, musical events, film screenings, and dance classes, too.

Photo courtesy of Sangdee Gallery & Café

The Barn: Eatery Design

What looks like a greenhouse from the outside, this place has pretty clueless staff, but makes up for that with a cool interior and attention to design detail. While there isn’t any art explicitly on display, the design itself is very artful and there are some really cool murals painted on the outside. Being right by Wat Suan Dok, it’s also in a wonderfully peaceful location, making it an excellent place to come to escape the constant traffic and pollution of much of the rest of the city.

Bay’s CaféBay’s Café

Attached to the very cool restaurant Food4Thought, which incidentally is a great place to find some vegan food in Chiang Mai, Bay’s Café offers some of the best drip coffee in town. As well as the several cats that wander around, begging to be petted, you can enjoy the nice works of art on the walls in the indoor space, or just sit in the shade outdoors and bask in the calm.

Have you ever been to Chiang Mai? What’d you think of the city? Any cafés you like best? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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