Reasons you should visit Chiang Mai this winter- Chapter |

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1. Bann Khang Wat

Bann Khang Wat is a new community mall with a difference: the vendors are carefully chosen to ensure only conscientious businesses who give back to society through their crafts and products. The 10 wooden-and-concrete houses offer the likes of zakka-style craft shop Jibberish, café-cum-guesthouse Enough for Life, DIY craft haven Dai Studio, ceramic shop Bookoo Studio and library-plus-café Mahasamut. Hungry? Head to Home, where they serve a kanom jeen (rice vermicelli) buffet at the low, low price of B 69.

2. Think Park

Handily located on the corner of Rinkham Junction, opposite Maya Mall at the beginning of Nimmanhaemin Road, Think Park comprises shops selling crafts and clothes from local designers. You’ll find a few good drinking spots like Doqaholic Café (083-003-0406, open daily 5:30pm-00:30am), with nightly live music, and Kafevino Bar & Bistro (084-595-5777, open daily 4pm-midnight), which serves coffee by day and wine by night. It also hosts a flea market every Saturday night but it’s not bustling. Rimkham Junction, open daily 10-1am

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3. Kad Na Warm

Nightlife institution Warm Up has expanded to hold a new flea market called Kad Na Warm in its parking lot every first Sunday of the month. This hipster paradise sells vintage everything, including secondhand records and clothes. There’s even an open-air, old-school barbershop, The Cutter. Each gathering comes under a different theme, such as BMX, Back to the 80s or Vespa. 40 Nimmanhaemin Rd., Suthep, 081-306-0670. Open 4-11pm

Eat

4. Little Cook

This much-loved kitchen is run by a street artist, Kob, and his partner, Err, who source ingredients from local producers to create super-fresh dishes. “Here in Chiang Mai, we’re so lucky to have an abundance of fresh produce. Driving just 30 minutes out of the city, you find lots of great farms,” says Err. Highlights include salads made with big, juicy vegetables, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit and mango. We also like the tangy spaghetti chili and garlic (B130), and locally-sourced pork steak (B350) and wagyu beef steak (B400), which comes from cattle raised in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai. Don’t miss their delightful fruit soda drinks (no alcohol here). Saha Sripoom Place, Changpuek, 085-7141189. Open Mon-Sat 6-9 pm

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5. C’nual Sweet Cooking

Don’t expect Bangkok prices at this home-style bakery by art student Oshin. “I want to offer fair prices. People don’t need to pay B120 for a piece of cake. That’s ridiculous,” Oshin says. Many of her baked goods feature seasonal ingredients, such as the fresh fruits winter chiffon (B49), while other treats include green tea choux cream (B40) and white brownies made with Chiang Mai rice wine, Choo Jai, for a fluffy texture. Her kitchen also does simple dishes like blue udon khao soi (curry noodles, B69). Head there before Oct, 2015, when Oshin will close the project to continue her master’s in gastronomy. Be warned, that her place is in a deep alley with no parking. Service can be slow and she has only 10 seats offered. 20 Suandok Soi 6, 087-304-0478. Open Wed-Mon 10am-6pm

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6. Blackitch Artisan Kitchen

Hidden on the second floor of ice-cream shop Gelabar, this small kitchen started out as a lunch-box business. It’s led by Thailand Iron Chef contestant Black who serves fusion Japanese food such as sesame oil salmon don (B180), tomato steak wrapped in bacon (B120) and braised beef on rice (B120), made with Mae Rim wagyu. They also offer a chef’s table service with one day’s booking in advance. 27/1 Nimmanhemin Soi 7, 084-323-1952. Open daily 10am-4pm (chef’s table from 6pm onwards)

Cafés & Tearooms

7. Graph Café

Probably the tiniest café in Chiang Mai, Graph draws in the caffeine-loving crowd with brews made from medium-roasted Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai beans. The barista Tee used to run a café of the same name in Sangkhlaburi and plans to open a pizza and pasta joint called Grain next January. You must try the new cold brews at B250 a bottle. 25/1, Ratvithi Lane 2, Sriphoom, 081-751-2365, Open daily 9am-6pm graph-cafe-1

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8. Rustic & Blue

With its rustic décor, this cozy café looks like a Pinterest board sprung to life. The main appeal, however, is the tea. Owner Min carefully blends her caffeine-free teas from both leaves and fruits, with our picks being the lavender peach and zesty orange rooibos. Do try the barbecue pulled-pork brioche burger, too. They also do homemade Chorizo, house salami and homemade Feta cheese as well as homemade blue & gorgonzola cheese at B100 per 100 grams. De Marche Nimmanhaemin Soi 5 (moving to Nimmanhaemin Soi 7 soon), 086-654-7178. Open daily 10:30am-8pm
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10. Bay’s Café

This café is the baby of a Chiang Mai local with a passion for drip coffee and 12-hour cold brew. The drinks here are far less acidic than many of the other cups across town. Also on-site is Food for Thought, an organic food operator who sells salads, sandwiches and wraps made with fresh ingredients, some picked from the backyard. 15/5 Moo 1, Soi Sudjai, Chang Puak, 086-673-4853. Open Tue-Sat 10am-8pm

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See y’all next Chapter!

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