You’ll quickly learn that cafe culture is huge in Chiang Mai. It’s known among digital nomads as an ideal city to live in and work remotely, because there’s such a vast number and variety of coffee shops that no matter what kind of cafe atmosphere you seek, you’re likely to find it in this city. As a student abroad, you’ll be delighted to find that Chiang Mai is abundant with cafes offering free wifi that have been designed to make you excited about your next study sesh! Here are a few of the best.
Coffee Wish is awesome because they have a massive menu of drinks, food and snacks to choose from, but what really sets them apart from the other cafes on this list is that they make cold brew here. The specialty coffee is a bit of a treat price-wise (75-90THB), but the cozy seating and great wifi makes it perfect for students and digital nomads. Prices start at 55-65THB.
If you’re in search of Instagram-worthy decor, go explore the sois of Nimman until you stumble upon this magical wooden entrance. Not only is the inside a true feast for the eyes, Waan Cafe has two levels of places to get some studying done. Translated as ‘Sweet Cafe,’ they are known for their intricate and unique desserts. Pro-tip: this cafe doesn’t have many outlets so charge up your devices beforehand.
The Barn is a fantastically cozy place to get your studying done. Tucked behind the beautiful Wat Suan Dok on Suthep rd., this cafe brings together great coffee, decor and music for a fabulous cafe atmosphere. Their signature drink — The Barn — is a delicious caramel latte that’s not “Thai sweet” but just right. The outdoor garden space is a great place to get some fresh air while still hitting the books. Prices start at 50-60THB.
Located just a 10 minute walk from Uniloft, Roastniyom is a popular cafe for Chiang Mai University students. They have incredible deserts including Mango Cheesecake and Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. There’s a great balcony room in which 3 out of it’s 4 walls are glass, giving you a gorgeous view of the trees and the street down below. Prices start at 50-60THB
This cafe has been repeatedly included on travel writer’s lists of best cafes in Chiang Mai, mainly due to it’s Japanese inspired decor and incredible coffee. Located in the same neighborhood as The Barn (behind Wat Suan Dok) Hana Zono not only has extremely well priced and delicious coffee (they offer drinks such as rose-infused black coffee and matcha honey lemon tea), but the staff is as genuinely friendly as they come. Prices start at 45-50THB
Just around the corner from Corner Bistro bar off Huay Kaew rd., Ombra is a cool cafe inside an even cooler hotel. They have amazing baked goods and breakfast sets, as well as three or four different rooms to plant yourself in. The coffee is great and when you get your drink hot it comes with a delicious piece of fudge. Prices start at 45-55THB.
This cafe and restaurant might be one of the most famous cafes in Chiang Mai. Stepping into Rustic & Blue feels a bit like you’re being transported to downtown San Francisco or Chicago. The menu has items like falafel tacos, Acai Smoothie Bowls and Avocado Toast with Goat Cheese. Yes, they have Goat Cheese. If you’re there to just dine you can sit in the main front room or the garden out back, but if you’d like to get cozy with your study materials head to the back room equipped with hammocks and couches. It is the priciest cafe on this list but it’s also the one you cannot leave Chiang Mai without visiting, so treat yoself! Drink Prices start at 90THB, and meals start at 130THB.
Tucked down a small soi off bustling Tha Pae Road, Wake Bake Skate is worth the trek to the other side of the city. The cafe was inspired by a collective of Thai artists and skateboard enthusiasts who wanted to give like-minded individuals a cool space to meet up. During the day, it is generally quiet, with tables and outlets to get work done and a diverse menu of food and drinks to keep you fueled and focused. If you drop by at night though you might catch a rowdier vibe. Prices start at 45 baht.
Learn more about studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Originally published July, 2016. Updated August, 2018.