To see the world is a delight. To try new things is an adventure, and to explore new places is always a surprise.

After having tried different local street food here in Chiang Mai, we wished to explore a certain culture we love so much, one which varies in each country around the world, despite having similar roots – the tea culture.

Honestly, starting to look for tea houses here in Chiang Mai was a bit challenging. As we were told, Thai people do not drink tea that much, although they grow it. Then, considering this, to open a tea house for the westerners, who, accordingly to massive amount of cafés in the old city, prefer coffee and sandwiches, is basically a bit of a mad decision for potential businessmen.

Nevertheless, we were very lucky; it seems we arrived just on time as couple of tea houses had opened just recently. We visited all six of those that you can find online, and one of them that we found randomly. In this post we would like to share with you our “tea trips”: different tastes of a traditional and medicinal beverage.

Teahouses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Ivana drinking tea in Chiang Mai.

When you go to a tea house, you’re not only searching for high quality tea and service, but also for a place where your body and mind feel relaxed and comfortable. This (sub)conscious feeling probably comes most from the fact that tea was originally used as a medicine 4000 years ago and it still serves as one of the healing alternatives.

The majority of tea houses here have an indoor space and a garden where you can enjoy your drink in the shade of trees and bushes

TianZi

Location: 119/1 Kampangdin Rd

Teahouses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

A small teacup with pu-erh tea.

Our exploration of places serving good tea started in TianZi Tea House.
We couldn’t have started off better! We discovered a cosy space with indoor rooms furnished with wood and ceramic, decorated with packets and boxes of tea, plus dishes and jars to prepare the infusions. TianZi (Seeds of Heaven) cares about more than just the plain taste of tea and food. By their attitude towards the products they serve, prepare and grow, they pay respect to nature and protect the biodiversity of the Earth.

Teahouses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Whole wheat spaghetti with sesame sauce.

The staff is very friendly and warmhearted. Apart from a good choice of tea (we chose pu-erh tea), you should definitely try their macrobiotic food. We tasted three meals and the winner was whole wheat spaghetti with sesame sauce. All the dishes were very light, easily digestible and full of delicate tastes and flavours.

If you prefer to stay outside, there is a roofed patio where you can sit on the mattresses at small wooden tables.

Teahouses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The exterior of TianZi Tea House.

There is also an option to book a tea ceremony; for 4-8 people you pay 2500 THB (79 USD). In any case, bring mosquito repellent with you, as sitting near the small ponds with insects might spoil your teatime. Highly recommended to visit!

Sati – the art of Tea and Yoga

Location: 5 Chaiyapoom Rd Si Phum

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The ‘bing’ of pu-erh tea that we tried.

Well, this is our absolute winner so far: Sati – the art of Tea and Yoga. We were led there probably by someone from above, since we arrived there just before the tea ceremony that was about to start. Mrs. Echo Ai is a soft, present, warm-hearted woman, a storyteller and tea artist. The ceremony she held was a peaceful ritual done with love and passion. She explained the procedure, including the right way to hold a cup, to sip and to serve the tea. In fact, all this information would be pretty much long enough for a single post. The tea we did the ceremony with was high quality, fermented pu-erh tea from the year 2008.

Mindfulness and tea.

Mindfulness and tea.

Heavenly, refreshing but calming, it had a pure taste and a mild fragrance. The vocabulary Mrs. Echo uses to describe the tea and its preparation is simple but clear, as is all the equipment and ambience of the tea house. Zen was just breathing through the entire space. For her, as for all good professional tea masters, each movement and thought was incredibly important, and as she said, she could never afford to hold a tea ceremony if she weren’t feeling well. In the Pali language, “sati” means “mindfulness”, which is the base of this tea house and the owner’s daily life.

At the end of the tea ceremony with Mrs Echo Ai.

At the end of the tea ceremony with Mrs Echo Ai.

Here we could understand by watching her picking the dry leaves, pouring the water into the cups and drinking the tea in a proper manner, what she meant when she said that one should pour water into a pot in a circular way, so that the tea can dance in the water. And we felt it did, in fact. According to Chinese tradition a good tea artist should be the one who awakens the spirit of the tea and if it is true, then we have had an honour to see the ceremony of true revival. Also this tea house offers daily yoga classes.

Siam Seladon Raming

Location: 158 Tha Pae Rd

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Tea set at Siam Seladon Raming Tea House.

Our next stop was at the Siam Seladon Raming Tea House.  This was an elegant and bright place with a small shop of traditional ceramic in the front part and a nice garden in the backyard, with French chansons floating in the air. For us it was more a place perfect for a European breakfast than for Asian tea. The tea list contained just a few choices without specifying which kinds of tea they were. Although the staff was very kind, they couldn’t tell us more about the tea we asked for. The taste of white and jasmine tea we ordered was mild and delicate, though.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The interior of the Siam Seladon Raming Tea House.

Vieng Joom On

Location: 53 Charoenraj Rd

If you are more into luxurious and fashionable interiors, then the next place is what you will appreciate a lot. The Vieng Joom On is a stylish tea house, often called a Pink Tea House in Chiang Mai. Here, either you relax indoors on comfortable sofas, surrounded by shiny boxes of tea and some accessories to prepare tea, or you might be more pleased to sit on their patio outside. Maybe you would even like to choose a romantic table for two just next to the Ping River. The staff is very kind, and as we were the only early customers that day, I personally had a feeling like there was a movie shoot going on with two people on the scene and the crew running around them.

Tea houses in Chinag Mai, Thailand.

We indulged ourselves at the Vieng Joom On tea house.

The tea was served in a manner totally matching the milieu, with style and grace, accompanied by jazz music. Together with a good selection of teas, you might fancy ordering appetizers, salads or desserts that are fresh and remarkably tasty. The place is a bit pricey, but how many times in your life have you had your dessert spoon and fork wrapped in a pink bag? Worth the visit.

Homm

Location: 14/1 Soi 11 Sirimangkalajarn Rd

Another peaceful place where you can just sit comfortably and enjoy your break in a hot afternoon is the Homm Tea House.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The teacups at Homm Tea House.

We appreciated the mild air-con here, as well as the gentle ambience and music in the background. The staff here was very friendly, polite and professional, and offered us a glass of water with ginger and ice before we ordered, a big relief at the hottest time of the day. You will be able to choose a nice tea from the tea list, which unfortunately does not specify what kind of tea it is.

We tried also an amazing traditional Thai pudding with coconut topping which was a top taste discovery that day. Upstairs you can find more sofas and chairs a downstairs a desk where the tea ceremony is held.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

All set up for the tea ceremony.

The prices are very reasonable and the location is just perfect for those who work at the co-working Pun Space which is just next door to the tea house.
The only con of our experience there was a plastic tea filter inside the pot of hot tea that in our opinion, just did not fit with the nice aromatic flavour of the drink. Otherwise, a recommended visit.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Thai pudding with coconut topping and a cocoa cake.

Update December 2014: The tea house is closed. 

Tichaa

Location: Nimmanhaemin road, Soi 17

The next place we discovered randomly was the Tichaa. Although it is not a proper tea house, as they focus mostly on tisanes and beauty products, it is worth the visit if you are keen on herbal infusions and fashionable interiors. You can find a decent choice of tisane, in combination with essential oils, too. We went for red roasted rice & white mulberry tisane and ginger & white mulberry tisane.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Ginger and white mulberry tisane.

The taste and fragrance were indeed unique, especially of the first one. The staff is polite, filling your pot with additional hot water just before you reach the bottom of your first pot. All in all, the ambience and tea went well together. The place is furnished in style, with massive wood pillars, stone floor and richly embroidered pillows all around. Nice jazz music at the background. You need to be a fan of this particular style of place to enjoy it.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The interior of Tichaa Tea House.

Tea Tree Cafe

Location: Moon Muang Soi 6 (across Sompet market, upstairs)

As all the previous places mentioned above, the next one has a special atmosphere too. The Tea Tree Cafe – a lovely, happy, hippie-shared place, with loads of paintings, mindful and hearty quotations painted all around the place, comfortable mattresses, wooden tables, flowers and nice blues music in the background. Being there, you can easily forget about the noisy masses of tourists and the small market just below the windows.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Masala Chai with coconut milk and Ginger tea with spirulina powder, lime and honey.

We tried Masala Chai with coconut milk and ginger tea with spirulina powder, lime and honey. The first one was absolutely real Masala, no more, no less. The other one was a truly new experience, especially with the fragrance, but the taste was very delicate.
The space also offers yoga classes, jam music sessions, movie screenings and much more.

Tea houses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The interior of the Tea Tree House.

 

What is your favourite place to have a cup of tea in Chiang Mai or in any corner of the world?

18 Responses

  1. Brandon

    Great post. Heading to chiang mai around April, 2014 timeline and will definitely check a few out. You should keep posting “tea tours” – super cool and unique!

    This one sounded the best to me: “Masala Chai with coconut milk and Ginger tea with spirulina powder, lime and honey.”

    Did you guys practice yoga at the tea houses who offered?

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Hi Brandon, happy to hear you are planning to come to SE Asia!
      Thanks for encouragement, we will definitely do our best to see as many tea houses in each city as possible, since we are big tea lovers :)
      We practice yoga at Sati – the art of Tea and Yoga. Mrs Echo, the instructor, owner of the Sati and tea-artist is an amazing lecturer, with deep focus and willingness to help and support each practitioner. She does Hatha yoga, Mon-Sat 8.30-10.00.
      The room for yoga is very cosy. There are usually +- 5 people at the lesson.
      ps: for now she is also looking for a person to lead evening class, so you guys may keep in touch with her once you are here :)
      let me know if you need more details.

      Reply
  2. Shama Kern

    Despite of having lived in Chiang Mai for over a decade, I only knew the pink tea house on the river. That’s a great list and I will definitely check the other tea houses out!

    Reply
    • Ivana

      We are very happy the list is useful. Actually, there are couple of more of them that we found after we had post the list.
      Hope you enjoy the tea in any of them. They are worth of visit as each of them is particular, depends what ambience of tea house you prefer :)

      Reply
  3. Rob

    This is wonderful and so helpful for me. I arrived in Chiang Mai yesterday and woke up today asking the very question: where are good tea houses around here? Most people pointed me to coffee shops that served instant teas. Which I enjoy the environments of…but not what I am looking for.

    And then I found your rundown. Wow. Thank you!

    If you know anyone is in the area and would like to tour about with me; send them my way. I am excited to explore and try these places out. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Hi Rob,

      Glad you have found the post helpful. We loved our tea tour! Depends what you are looking for, but the most genuine tea house with a real tea artist is definitely at Sati. It might be a bit tricky to find it, but worth to try. If you have any difficulty, please, feel free to contact us so we can put you in touch with the owner who can help you with the navigation.
      Regarding the travel fellows, unfortunately, almost all of our friends have left the town, but you might try to contact another blogging couple from http://www.groovytale.com/ They should be still in Chiang Mai.
      Enjoy your stay and great sipping tea tours :)

      Reply
    • Ivana

      Hi Sam, thanks, happy to hear you like it.
      Yes, tea is the key :)

      Reply
  4. Franca

    I love tea and, even though I’m more a coffee person, I enjoy drinking my tea too. These places are very nice indeed and I cannot believe we didn’t go to any of them whilst we were in Chiang Mai :(

    I really like the look of those whole wheat spaghetti with sesame sauce, I think that would have been my pick too! :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Oh, no worry, now you know where to look for them :) yeah, in Tian Zi they prepare fantastic macrobiotic, too; you will love it there!

      Reply
  5. Karianne Di Salvo

    Thank you so much for this list!! We arrived in Chiang Mai a couple of day ago. After nearly four months of travelling, I’ve missed my favourite tea houses back at home. We will be hunting down at least one of these today!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Karianne, glad you like the post and great to hear you are in Chiang Mai! We’ll be there in a very short time too, maybe we can have a cup of tea there together :)

      Reply
  6. Poh Yee

    Aaahhh lovely list! Hope to try out a place or two before leaving Chiang Mai. Pink house by the river sounds wonderful! And the cakes! oh yums! Homm looks good..too bad it’s closed.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks for reading, Poh :) Pink House is a chic place, indeed! You really should stop by, guys. And Sati Yoga & Tea House, that’s a Zen “temple”.

      Reply
  7. Laure Chancerelle

    Great article, thank you! We actually checked out TianZi tea house a few weeks ago after reading about it here and we loved it. It seems like it has changed a bit though since you went because we were first given a menu with spicy Chinese food when we arrived and we had to ask about their teas instead. The place is so peaceful that it’s still worth the visit.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Aw, sweet! TianZi is indeed a serene place, so happy you enjoyed your tea there!

      Reply
  8. Natasha

    I love this post! It’s just what I needed. I’m heading back to Chiang Mai in February, all of these spots sound so lovely, I’ll definitely check them out! I’m a hard line coffee addict, a tea house could be the perfect change of pace.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      The tea houses in Chiang Mai are really lovely. We highly recommend Sati for good pu-erh tea, yoga, and zen vibes, and Pink house for some chic atmosphere.
      Hope you enjoy a cup of good tea there, Natasha!

      Reply

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