Relatively unexplored by the masses, Chiang Rai province and its capital of the same name represent a different facet of Thailand, far from the hustle and crowded tourist hubs of Bangkok and Pattaya. Buddhist monks and shrines dominate, while people are laid-back and happy. What’s more, there are some darn good spots to settle down for a bite to eat. Here are 10 great places to start the day.
If you’re looking for a small place which serves great coffee and breakfast in a nice atmosphere, check out Nangnon on Jedyod Road. The coffee is rich in flavor and the breakfast offering is filling and eclectic, with options ranging from muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit to cheese omelets. And to top it all off, there’s free WiFi throughout
Set in a beautiful colonial-style house by the river, this place is a little out of the way. Definitely drop by if you’re looking for a relaxing atmosphere, great ambiance and some superb coffee. Their breakfast offerings include English breakfasts, French toast, home-made cakes and a variety of sandwiches. Brunch covers a number of dishes, including pork chops and Swedish meatballs.
Ranked as the best bakery in Chiang Rai, Polar has a pretty good menu for brunch, including snacks and a host of goodies. They do a fine eggs Benedict to boot, and can also rustle up a darn good scrambled and poached egg. Try their bagels with cream cheese for something a little different, and wash it down with a hot chocolate or coffee.
Opposite Ko Loi public park facing the river, a few steps away from the Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort, you’ll find Melt In Your Mouth Chiang Rai. While the place is a popular restaurant that’s known mainly for its dinner and desserts, the breakfast is worth a look in too. Come early in the morning and enjoy a relaxing breakfast while taking in a view of the river and the gardens all around.
The old bus terminal in Chiang Rai is a hub of activity, and many tourists can be found in the area, starting off or returning from their excursions out into the north. Many find their way to Connect Café for a quick meal before or after leaving or arriving. The breakfast set is a fair sized spread consisting of eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, orange juice and coffee, meaning it’s a top choice if you’re hungry.
Another coffee shop that also does breakfast, Doi Chang is a great little café in the midst of Chiang Rai. It’s relaxing, chilled, uber-cheap and usually packed by noon. The central water fountain adds a unique element to the ambiance of the place, as does the soft music in the background. Located just 100 meters from the Central Clock Tower, you cannot miss this place if you’re in the area.
Run to support a local orphanage that takes care of tribal kids, this bakery is a social meets entrepreneurial venture. It provides coffee, freshly baked cakes, sandwiches and a variety of breakfast items like pancakes. For brunch, the menu is mainly Thai and portions are substantial, while the décor has a stripped-down Scandinavian edge.
If you’re visiting Doi Mae Salong for the sunrise, make a stop for breakfast on the way back at Sweet Mae Salong Café. This place is rustic, but the food they churn out is awesome, and combined with the scenery makes for an amazing experience. Their coffee comes highly recommended too, as it is grown locally and retains a freshness that you’ll not find anywhere else around town.
While the Clock Tower area of Chiang Rai has numerous restaurants to choose from, the Oak & Awe Coffee House offers something new and unique. Located on Jedyod Road, leading off from the Clock Tower, the café is ideally situated and offers a variety of breakfasts, including European and American options.