Tuesday, 10th April 2012; 17:58
Location: The Tea Tree, Chiang Mai Thailand
Why: A Dutch. A Chinese. And an Austrian inside a Tea Tree. Check it!
Thievery Corporation's The State of The Union (Rewound) is blasting enthusiastically on my headphones from the weary lil netbook that is The Acer Aspire One. As I sit Buddha style in my latest and greatest new discovery, I will try my best to describe this little gem of a place that is mere meters from my guesthouse.
This morning, I sauntered leisurely over to my favourite smoothie lady inside the Som Phet Market (that's another gem I will post about, stay tuned!). While patiently waiting for my Beet-Mango-Lime godly creation, I chatted up a cute Dutch guy name Yves. We made small talk, actually more like long talk as there was the usual long queue for Tip's Best Smoothies, ha!
Yves mentioned about a cute little tea shop just a few meters from where we were sitting so together we headed up the shallow steps to the most impossibly chilled and unpretentious hangout I've been to in a really long time. This is almost, if not better than, dare I say it, Voyage Cafe! *gasp*
The Tea Tree. If you are in Chiang Mai and near the Som Phet Market, look for this sign, you don't want to miss it!!
As I entered the 2nd floor tea shop, I immediately felt it's positive energy from the surroundings. The shop owner, Laura, is a friendly Austrian girl kitted out bohemian style with ankle jingles, natty hair and a warm heart.
This place isn't so much a cafe as it is a chillout lounge. It is outfitted in straw mats, Thai cushions, low wooden tables and hippie mish mash decor worthy of stealing hours away from the day.
I sit comfortably at one of the wooden tables scratching out this post while the patron in the background is meditating serenely. Bliss? I think so:
Teas are obviously the specialty here. As I peruse the menu, I decide on the mocha chai. Laura prepares the drink in such a homely manner, I feel like I'm in a friend's kitchen. And herein is where I felt like I just discovered a rare gem; a wonderful little gift from the Universe. Oh, and she makes homemade tahini. Um, yes please!!
My mocha chai drink, made with love:
By this time, it is well into the afternoon. After our power smoothies,Yves and I were sipping delightfully on our teas and chatting away with Laura. I couldn't have been in a better place as inspiration flowed through my hot drink and trickled down my throat.
Laura and Yves, chilling at the shop counter:
Not only does Laura make amazing teas, pancakes and salads were also on the vegetarian menu; everything I love in a hangout. Yves and I copy each other by ordering the salad. Well, more like me copying him...haha. But not before a few games of backgammon! My very first time playing. Surprised? Me too.
Yves had the perfect travel size board to play on:
So my stereotype of a game played by retired Italian men in pants pulled over their pot bellies, was quickly abolished as this cute Dutch guy explained the game and we were rolling the dices like a couple of excited kids.
Then the epic salad and pancake arrived:
Yves is very happy to win backgammon and chow down on some vegetable vitamins. Me too. Not at losing but at seeing the black sesame seeds and peanuts in my salad!
Not only is this place ideal for great teas, feel free to pick up a hoola hoop. Or juggle some tennis balls. These two clearly know what to do here:
Patrons playing guitar, giving ayurvedic sessions and deep in conversation, ideal pastimes me thinks:
As I sip away on another Laura concoction, classic chai tea, the sun has set and a gentle breeze blows through the open windows. Thievery's Culture of Fear album is thumping in my ears and already, I cannot wait to come back tomorrow for another session of writing and numerous cups of tea from the Tree. Oh and I think Yves and I will be painting a tree going up the stairs!
I am sooo plugging this place: The Tea Tree. At two months old, you don't want to miss out on a special haven in Chiang Mai!