Finding coffee shops in Chiang Rai is not hard nowadays as they are in every corner of the town. But finding ones with a decent coffee in a great surrounding is as challenging as finding the lost city of Atlantis. Today we find one for you. It’s Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House which is a small family run cafe located right on the banks of the beautiful Kok River in Chiang Rai.
Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House
In Thai, Chivit Thamma Da means a simple life. It’s ironic that because of the house and interiors have European style which give perception of high standard of living, many Thai customers would find in their first visit that there is no part of the restaurant represents anything simple. Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House has been opened for about 4-5 years, and because of it uniqueness, it became popular since the very first days. The landscape was designed by a company from Nakornpratom Province called “Little Tree Garden”. Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House was among its very first customers [Ref].
How it started
Here is the story. Nathamon holmberg or Khun Onn, the owner of Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House didn’t dream to have a simple life in the beginning. She knew that she wanted to be a flight attendant since she was a child. With determination and strong faith, she entered air crew test and passed all the exams without any prior knowledge or experience in airline industry. She became a flight attendant for an commercial airline and flew to many countries in Asia, America, Europe continuously for 6 years. Because of her experience communicating and interacting with all kinds of people as an flight attendance, she know what people want before they even asked. While fulfilling her dream by meeting a lot of people, living lifestyle in high standard by spending most of her time in many countries, one day she realized that all she wants was a simple life.
One day she met her future husband on her tip in Asia. After married they move to Shanghai where her husband worked. Nathamon loved spa as it is the way to get her relaxed. While keeping her daily job, she was also a spa consultant too. During her busy life with the husband in Shanghai, the couple feel there was too much rush and hassle in their daily lives. They needed somewhere to escape to. This is the reason why they usually escape the big city to relax in Chiang Rai a few times a year.
The more they spent time here, the more they knew it it the place they want to live. Nathamon wanted to live in Chiang Rai so much so that she ask her husband to quit his job and come to live in Chiang Rai together. Only that her husband agreed but he was ready to leave his job in Shanghi and move to Chiang Rai. Her husband is Swedish, and he felt that Chiang Rai is the only province that has a feeling of Europe as there are forest, mountains, rivers and people here live close to nature which is similar to lives in Sweden.
Nathamon quit her job in China and took a job as Spa Manager in Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort & Spa for about a year. Then the couple bought a house and decided to live in Chiang Rai permanently. This is the beginning of their new journey to pursue a simple life. Coffee shop are what they long to have as it the place where people can spend time to relax and it is one of the things that represent a simple life.
At that time, there were already too many coffee shops in Chiang Rai. To meet their concept of a simple life, their coffee shop must be in place close to nature like river, trees and lots of flowers. The house should be simple with the simplest color – while. They found a dream location on the bank of Mae Kok river. They named their new coffee shop as “Chivit Thamma Da”. The name has a direct meaning – just a simple life. They use their own vintage collections the furniture and the decorations.
The restaurant is decorated in English-country-style. Outside, there is an open-air area with the spot right by the river. There is a piano, water fountain and sets of classic tables and chairs. Inside, there is a conservatory style room with roof glass windows. The house is designed for high ceilings and vintage artifacts are decorated on the walls. The house consists of 4 areas – 2 sitting areas in main space filled with comfy lounges and intimate tables with white-washed or brown wicker chairs, one area is on the porch and area under glass roof which is suitable for those who need more privacy.
Once you’re here, it is easy to understand that the owner must have an inspiration of decorating the restaurant from the idea of “slow life” living style. They believe that life should be slow, simple and beautiful. At Chivit Thamma Da, everybody are encouraged to take your time and stay as long as they like. Unlike some of other crowded coffee shoip, there is no rush here.
Here you can seat yourself in a comfy sofa in the air-con glasshouse room or opt for an outdoor seat in the riverside garden. Apart from selections of coffee and tea, it serves some food, and the menu changes quite often. In the beginning, it focused on coffee and tea but later we found that it has more variety of food. It seems that the menus are changed frequently too. Most of menus are more on European side with some Asian twists. There are a few local famous dished such as Khao Soy with Fore Shank.
Recommended Menu: There delicious dish you should not miss: Sai Oua Spaghetti (สปาเก็ตตี้ไส้อั่ว), Egg Benedict and Khao Soy with Fore Shank (ข้าวซอยเนื้อน่องลาย)
Recommended Coffee: Chivit Thamma Da (กาแฟชีวิตธรรมดา)
Recommend Dessert: Banoffee Pie
Great Location. Good food and cake – it’s better to call this place a restaurant instead of cafe since the menu is a restaurant menu. The taste is probably not the best in town but definitely not disappointed. Excellent ambiance – probably the best you can find in Chiang Rai at this mosment. Coffee is also excellent. Free Wi-fi and pet friendly.
Ok, nothing is perfect. Here are a few room for improvement for the restaurant. In fact, the owners had noticed these issues and already initiated some kind of improvement.
Long waiting time: Of course the restaurant is too popular, and during the peak time you do not want to expect fast service. Justification: The good thing, however, is all staff seems to very energetic to serve all customers in order. When you finish you mean staff never seems to rush you out and you can stay as long as you like. So just no reason to rush in, but just relax and take your time.
Limit Parking: Customers have to park their cars in small alley on the side. Justification: The owners of the shop solve this problem by renting spaces from houses nearby.
A bit overprice: if compared to the Thai standard, the price is a little high for meals. For example, the average price of food here is between 150 and 300 Baht which is significantly expensive than other restaurants in the same standard. Justification, it is, however, easy to understand that the cafe like this should have price range that match its image. The price of coffee itself ranges between 90 to 140 baht which is not too much different from other well-known brands. No complaint for coffee price. The price of smoothies is a surprise, with range between 70-95 Baht which is considered to be in the standard range or even cheaper than many .
Beautiful surrounding and atmosphere, quality food and good service. This place is a must for coffee lovers. If you come with tight budget, food might be expensive, you can just skip the food, and aim for coffee and soaking up the ambiance and it will worth it, otherwise enjoy everything the cafe has to offer and you won’t regret. If you love coffee and looking for slow life once in a while, Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House is the place to be.
Baan Lae Suan Magazine
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