Chiang Mai’s Nimmanhaemin Road and surrounding area have always been my preferred part of the city to hang out in. A few minutes’ drive away from the bustling tourist center of the Old City, it offers a different Chiang Mai experience. Everything about Nimmanhaemin seems hip and trendy; there are always new cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops cropping up and as such, I never tire of exploring its intricate network of sois (alleys).
It’s not common to find foreigners in Nimmanhaemin (often shortened to Nimman) unless they’re long-term expats–of those, there are aplenty–but backpackers and other short-term visitors often stay closer to the center which is more convenient and easily walkable. Nimman is flush with young locals due to its proximity to the local university, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving delicious (and cheap) Thai food are a dime a dozen. There really are so many reasons to love Nimmanhaemin; I could go on forever.
As a coffee fiend and a food lover, I couldn’t wait to get back and discover what was new since I was last in the city. Quite a lot, as it turned out. In the roughly three weeks I spent in Chiang Mai, much of my free time was dedicated to tasting everything I could get my hands on. The word “new” with regard to this list is relative, of course; these places might have been around for a year or two, but they were new to me since I left Chiang Mai in 2013.
Here are 8 amazing new Nimmanhaemin cafes I discovered that are definitely worth a visit on your next trip to Chiang Mai.
Rustic & Blue – Nimman Soi 7
Rustic & Blue had me at “All day brunch.” It might just be one of the only places in the whole city serving brunch cocktails (and sangria!) and their menu is fun and inventive. They boast “hand-grown produce and artisanal food” and they deliver on all fronts. My scrambled eggs had pomegranate seeds in them, for god’s sake! I enjoyed everything I tried and only lamented not having any accomplices to come back with for a boozy brunch. I loved the space itself–it truly lives up to the “rustic” title–and they even had additional seating in their small outdoor garden. Oh, and did I mention Nutella french toast? Nutella french toast.
The Barn Eatery & Design Cafe – Srivichai Soi 5
Okay, so The Barn isn’t technically on Nimman, but it’s pretty close. It sits just behind the all-white temple Wat Suan Dok on the south side of Suthep Road in another charmingly rustic building intended to look something like…a barn. They don’t offer much real food at The Barn other than a small selection of curry dishes, so if you’re looking for a breakfast spot, this might not be it (unless you’re into Thai food for breakfast, of course). But their coffees and other drinks are divine and with a number of power points, it’s a great place to plop down with a laptop to get some work done.
The Larder Cafe & Bar – Suk Kasame Road
The Larder is extremely popular and has limited opening hours (they close at 3 pm every day) and limited seats, so it’s a good idea to arrive early in the day to grab a table. I’d heard plenty of people singing its praises so I had to try it out for myself. I went one morning for breakfast with my friend Jodi and we managed to get a small table inside. The open-faced sandwich I ordered was piled high with delicious things (avocado, among others) and absolutely delightful. Jodi has dietary restrictions due to Celiac disease, and I appreciated the owner coming to speak with her directly about what she could and could not eat to ensure nothing with gluten found its way onto her plate.
Coffee Villa – Nimman Soi 5
Coffee Villa is conveniently located near Huay Kaew Road, serves decent coffee and has a number of snack food items to choose from. It seems a popular place for students to meet and study or digital nomads to hammer out some work.
9th Street Cafe – Nimman Soi 9
9th Street Cafe is a great place for a strong coffee and a quiet and beautifully designed space ideal for working the day away. They make beautiful latte art and the world’s cutest dog can often be found hanging out there in his adorable dog outfits. They’ll even give you a sweet 9% discount for ‘gramming about your visit using the hashtag #9streetcafe or checking in on Facebook.
Mango Tango – Nimman Soi 13
Oh, Mango Tango! A cafe dedicated to all things mango-related, it’s a place after my own heart. Whether you take your mango with a side of sticky rice, ice cream, or both, Mango Tango’s got you covered. If you’re like me and convinced that mango is nature’s candy, you’re sure to love this place.
Local Cafe – Think Park, Nimmanhaemin Road
This cafe is located in the newly-built Think Park at the intersection of Nimman and Huay Kaew. I wandered in one afternoon expecting to order nothing more than a quick snack but was immediately enticed by their modern spins on traditional northern Thai dishes. Local Cafe is spacious and beautifully designed–I couldn’t quite believe how few people were there. As with most of these cafes, the prices here are a bit on the high end, but well worth the splurge at least once.
CAMP Creative & Meeting Place – MAYA Shopping Center
CAMP is one of the coolest new additions to Chiang Mai if you ask me. As the name suggests, it’s actually more of a co-working space than a dedicated cafe, but they do have plenty on the menu for when you get hungry between work sessions. CAMP is enormous; there’s tons of seating of all sorts and every single seat has its own power outlet so low batteries are the last thing you need to worry about. It’s one of the few places in Chiang Mai that’s open 24 hours a day, making ideal for workaholics and nightowls. The one downside is that in order to gain WiFi access you have to make a purchase of 50 baht or more, and that gets you just 2 hours of connectivity. For those who plan to use CAMP regularly, it’s worth looking into the alternative WiFi option at CAMP, which my buddy Dave outlined nicely here.
Have you been to Chiang Mai? Which Nimmanhaemin cafes are your favorites?