You might think you have discovered ancient ruins inside the old city in Chiang Mai when you first come across this unique coffee shop just a couple of streets back from the moat road. Clay Studio in the Garden is on Rachamanka Soi 6 just behind Chiang Mai Gate on the east side of the moat. From the outside it looks like a small walled temple compound. But the signs for the coffee shop let you know it’s open for business. Step through the gate and you are immediately surrounded by tall trees and well established garden plantings with ancient looking sculptures peaking out from the bushes or lining the pathways.
Order a coffee or tea from their choice selection. Or try a nice breakfast or lunch if you are in the mood for a fresh from the garden taste. It’s just what you would expect in the gently shaded atmosphere of this garden retreat. Relax at a shady table while waiting for your order. Just taking in the view feels like a fairy tale jungle, where you might see Mogli and Baloo peeking round the corner at you. The greenery, the sculptures, and the bubbling waterfall above the garden pond make the city outside disappear. It is a perfect followup to a visit to Wan Pan Whaen temple massage school, just across the way. With your mind and body totally relaxed, a quiet hideaway like this one a perfect way to start your day.
I had a simple breakfast with a green tea latte on my first visit. I kept my eye out for the dishes being served at neighboring tables and everything looked fresh from the garden. Take a look at some of the photos on their Facebook page to get a better idea of the beautiful and tasty dishes served here.
There is something interesting to see in every direction, from the traditional temple sculptures to the bas relief interior walls, it’s a feast for the eyes. The sculptures in the garden are actually there to be aged before being delivered to Chiang Mai temples, which are their main customers. If you scroll down to the Lamphun factory photos on Facebook, you’ll see the factory setting is in harmony with nature. The family owners really care about making the connection between their craft and their environment! I am hoping to take a trip to Lamphun for a visit to the factory. So, keep your eye out for more about this charming family business.