Mae Salong is one of the beautiful scenic highlands in Thailand well known for its tea plantation and Yunan settlers. It is located near Chiang Rai and Mae Sai (the Thai-Burmese border). If you travel to Mae Salong, your trip will not be complete if you don’t make a stop at Sweet Mae Salong Café….especially if you are crazy about gourmet coffee like lattes and espressos, as well as cakes and pastries and miss those back home.
Why I want to write about Sweet Mae Salong café is because the owner is originally from Bangkok. He married a lady from the area and decided to set up his little humble café in Mae Salong.
It is a relatively risky move as the locals there may not appreciate the above average price of gourmet coffee- only tourists and coffee addicts (like me) would really appreciate the taste of a great cup of coffee in the cold highlands.
The place is tastefully decorated with a theme very close to nature- the furniture are made of wood, and the patio overlooked the breathtaking view of the tea plantations and beautiful blue sky opposite. There’s jazz playing at the background while you and relax at the cozy ambience.
The owner made each cup of drink himself- while his wife and the worker are at the kitchen working on your spaghetti or baking that cheese cake, muffin or brownies. As a long time coffee drinker, I know a good cup of latte when I taste one and I found it in this little café. Yes, each cup is as delicious as it looks….really
Usually you would see more foreigners in the place than locals. As the owner is able to converse in English and is friendly and humble, many tourists warm up to him quickly.
He is an example of someone who chooses to open his business away from the city. Instead, he gave the impression that he prefers a more simple, peaceful life- but setting up a little homely café whereby patrons who appreciate his food would come over for a visit. With the healthy fresh cooling air of the highlands, coupled with peaceful scenie views of the hills, one get to live and still earn a good living doing what one’s best in.
Unlike Mae Hong Son, Mae Salong highlands is not that well known- furthermore, you can completely go round in Mae Salong without staying the night (we usually pass the night hotels located in Chiang Rai area as the prices are much lower and it is not that far if you travel by car). Of course, this little cafe will attract certain visitors who will not mind to pay for a cup of good coffee and Western meals with a view to kill for (it is still cheaper than what I have to pay for in Malaysia).
Customers would know him through word of mouth. In my previous trip to the cafe, I met a couple- a Taiwanese lady married to a Thai man. They had wanted to go back to Taiwan via Chiang Rai airport but it was during the Suvarnabhumi strike and the airports were closed. The couple made it a point to stop over at Mae Salong Cafe to enjoy their cuppa overlooking the beautiful scenery. The lady approached me as she had heard me speaking Mandarin. Like me, they’ve first been there, tried the gourmet coffee and absolutely loved it.
Sweet Mae Salong cafe is homely and personalised. It shows that business done with a heart goes a long distance.
Address and contact details:
41/3 Moo 1
Mae Salong Nork
Mae Fah Luang
Chiang Rai 57110
Tel: 081- 855 4000
(Note: The site is in Thai but if you install Google Toolbar, you can click on the option to translate the site to English)