Mae Kampwhatttt?? Don’t worry if you too have never heard of this tiny Northern Village (which is just 1 hour 15 minutes’ drive from Chiang Mai and also famed for their coffee) because we’re here to open your eyes to the perfect weekend romantic escape – especially if your time is limited in the North.
You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time in the most magical way, as you walk through small streets, pass beautiful dark wooden buildings, a bazillion trees and jungle greens and a waterfall stream that runs through the entire town. Tucked away and hidden from the world, escape to find some peace and quality time with your beloved. And when the night’s sky is clear, look out for a glimpse of the Milky Way…
Note: Please call before visiting each place to confirm their opening hours as some may close without notice due to COVID-19.
1. 1517 metres above sea level and with breathtaking views — ‘Kio Opium’ / Kew Fin
So you’re telling me that this viewpoint has not only incredible sunset views, but on a crisp clear night you can also spot the Milky Way! AND from the top you can actually see three to four cities at once (including Chiang Mai and Lampang) – epic!!!
What makes this view spot (originally a meeting and delivery place for opium merchants) super cool is that it’s really easy to get to – from the car park, walk 200 metres through a thicket of trees, up a few natural-made steps and around the pathway and you’re there.
P.S. The hill is decorated in coffee and Miang (mêeang) leaves. Miang leaves are pickled tea leaves and this traditional leaf is used to eat Miang Kham, a Thai snack which involves wrapping ingredients in this leaf and eating it all together in one bite.
Price:Free! Address: องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลแจ้ซ้อน Chae Son, Mueang Pan District, Lampang 52240, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: 089 8513355, +66 54 380 000 Opening hours: Daily from 6am to 10pm
Believe it or not, this shop is set next to a waterfall, among banana trees and all the green, with a hanging bridge above you that crosses into the treetops – and yes, you can walk along and pose on it 😉.
Tables and chairs are actually seated in the water, as well as throughout the outside garden and patios.
And if you’re a cat (or animal) lover, enjoy spending time with the felines which you’ll spot under a shady tree – they’re the real owners and the cafe is actually named after one of them!
FYI. Expect delicious, aromatic organic coffee served here fresh on the daily as well as scrumptious cakes.
Price:From 65 Baht / approx. $2.02 Address: 85 Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 95 893 5237 Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 4.30pm
3. Any coffee connoisseurs out there? — Utsah.homebrew
I, for one, consider myself a huge coffee fan and I’m really picky with my coffee – don’t give me anything milky, over-roasted or sugar loaded.
Anyhoo, you’ll be delighted too in knowing they serve fantastic coffee here, set up in a real trendy spot, again still keeping to the vibe of Mae Kampong, but amping it up to make things a bit more modern.
Super stylish from the coffees to the divine desserts, we love everything about this cafe including their baked scones – a must-try!
Price:From 80 Baht / approx. $2.49 Address: 4/3 Moo 2 บ้านแม่ลาย Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 95 675 0466 Opening hours: Sat-Tue from 9am to 5pm (Closed on Wed-Fri)
It’s pretty insane that the entire village is basically built next to a running stream, so naturally you can expect the accommodation to have the same views! From more rustic to ultra cute loft-style, you’ll wake up every morning feeling utterly rejuvenated.
4. A bohemian riverside dream for you and boo — The Garret
Totally Boho-vibes but done in traditional Northern Thailand almost Nepali style, this accommodation stay is simply gorgeous, full of life and colour.
Setup stylishly in a boutique style environment, I’m so into the contrasting textures and the light woods used, which is rarely seen around the village. I want all of the bedspreads, and can we just gape over the bathroom tiles?! Perfection.
Rooms are done almost loft-style, with elongated angled windows that overlook the riverside below you.
Rate:From 3248 Baht / approx. USD $103.12 Address: 54/8 Moo 3, Mae Kampong, Tambon Huai Kaeo, Amphoe Mae On Chiang Mai, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 99 261 1999 Facebook Website
5. Peaceful, away from the crowds and totally surrounded by nature — Baandin Tharnthong
Looking to experience life the local way during your time in Northern Thailand? Situated just outside the village itself, this is an incredible experience, especially for couples, with rustic-style bungalows placed almost on the edge of the land (so the views are AMAZING).
A fantastic part of this homestay is you get to participate in different workshops if you wish, including tea and coffee making processes, and cooking your own food the traditional way in clay pots, over the fire.
Rate:From 990 Baht / approx. USD $31.43 Address: 17/2 Village No. 8, Huay Kaew Sub-district, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 86 186 6445 Website
7. A botanical-lovers dream — Teen Tok Royal Project Development Center
Somewhat of a tourist centre I would say, this is a great stop for exploring and taking photos. Visit the Arabika coffee shop, grab last-minute souvenirs or head to the Doi Mon Lan viewpoint (think of a lush, dense forest with wild orchids growing everywhere, and come wintertime, the WIld Himalayan Cherry Trees come out in full bloom, bearing fruit too! 😍).
There’s also a garden full of Miang trees, as well as an Indoor Centre growing flowers such as Orchids, Begonia, Flamingo Flowers, Purple Shamrock, as well as Vanilla (which can be tasted, and bought).
Drive just two minutes down the road and grab a Vietnamese Coffee right on the riverside at Mon Teen Tok Coffee. The location is super beautiful, you won’t want to miss stopping here!
Teen Tok Royal Development Centre
Address: 99/5 หมู่ที่8 ถนน ห้วยแก้ว Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 93 146 7726, +66 5 331 8316 Opening hours: Daily from 8am to 4pm
8. I’m here for the views, honey — Chom Nok Chom Mai (ชมนกชมไม้)
This is somewhat of a famous coffee spot in the region because of a) it’s insane views of Mae Kampong below you, and b) you can apparently do some avid bird-watching from the terrace here (It’s actually also known as ‘The Birdwatching Cafe’ because of it).
Enjoy fresh coffee (hot or cold – expect cold, misty mornings during winter) and a spot of dessert – tea and scones anyone?
P.S. It’s located just above the village, on the way to Mae Kampong Waterfall.
Chom Nok Chom Mai
Price: From 45 Baht / approx. $1.40 Address: 69 Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 81 847 8043 Opening hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
9. Spend a good few hours getting lost here — Tweechol Botanic Garden
This place offers so much more than just a beautiful manicured garden.
Visit the hedge maze filled with manicured bushes and hedges all shaped as different animals and creatures such as Naga style figurines, just like The Queen’s Garden from Alice in Wonderland.
Snap some trendy shots in the cacti greenhouse or wander past the gigantic Lily Pond. Hire a bicycle and explore the rest including a small animal farm with camels, peacocks, ostriches, deer and a swan filled pond.
Other activities include a pedal boating on the small lake (50 Baht), a Museum, Kids Playground, two restaurants, as well as three Lanna-style homes built for visitors to explore.
FYI. These Gardens are pretty huge, so you can also hire a golf cart if your feet can’t do the work.
In my personal opinion, every corner you turn in this town is worthy of a snapshot, so can you only imagine the coffee spots – delicious organic coffee (grown abundantly in the region) topped with such exquisite and ambient natural surroundings!
10. The photo-op begins before you even enter the doors — Lung Pud Pa Peng Coffee (Uncle Poo’s Residence & Aunt Peng Mae Kampong / บ้านพักลุงปุ๊ด & ป้าเป็ง แม่กำปอง)
If you’re looking through a hashtag of this place on your Instagram feed, the first thing you’ll notice is the gorgeous, large solid wall that greets its customers as they enter the cafe – and also makes for the coolest backdrop!
Enter the old-school wooden house, which keeps to the theme interior-wise, or take a seat outside facing the riverside and enjoy a cuppa with a slice of cake (their Lemon Meringue tarts look delicious!).
Lung Pud Pa Peng Coffee
Price:From 40 Baht / approx. $1.25 Address: Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 88 547 4545, +66 92 814 1131 Opening hours: Daily from 8am to 6pm
11. All the Indy vibes of a cool-cat coffee house — Pirunya Coffee
Man, this place is just filled with incredible coffee and here they serve up some serious coffee-art using old-school methods (such as the traditional Drip-coffee, using beans from all around the world).
It’s set up in a wooden-style housing, with a balcony out back overlooking the running water below, and inside is eclectically decorated with all sorts of coffee roasters and equipment everywhere – super ambient.
Coffee methods include Syphon, Dripper, Aeropress, ROX and Mokkapot (for all the knowledgeable coffee-fanatics out there).
Price:From 100 Baht / approx. USD $3.11 Address: 99/3 บ้านแม่กำปอง ตำบลห้วยแก้ว อำเภอแม่ออน Chiang Mai, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 80 245 5166 Opening hours: Daily from 7:30am to 6pm
12. Quiet, pleasant, the perfect place for a romantic dip! — Mae Kampong Waterfall
We LOVE a good waterfall, and the idea of one is hopelessly romantic in any which way if you wanna argue this one with me! 😉
And this one is particularly great for all types of couples, so don’t stress if you’re not the exercise-y type pair. It’s super accessible, and although it’s not overly huge, it’s a great sized waterfall!
The surroundings are so pretty, with lots of smaller pools and falls towards the base of the fall, and if you want to adventure to the top, take a short climb up the stairs and ladders to reach the different levels.
Btw, the hill is quite steep as you walk up so do wear good walking shoes.
Mae Kampong Waterfall
Address: สันกำแพง Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Opening hours: 24/7
13. What’s a travel trip without a little bit of shopping — Cat Doi Gallery
Step inside this ultra cute gallery turned shop filled with all sorts of clothes, arts and crafts, vintage goods, accessories, etc. AND most of it is cat-themed.
Sift through cat illustrations, cute pillow cases, key chains and more! Also set up in a traditional-style building, don’t miss it whilst strolling through town.
Cat Doi Gallery
Price:From 50 Baht / approx. $1.58 Address: Unnamed Road, Tambon, Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 87 001 9896 Opening hours: Daily from 7am to 8pm
14. Pretend you’re Tarzan and Jane for the afternoon — Flight of The Gibbon
Okay so picture this, you’re sailing through treetops and hearing birds singing in the trees while surrounded by the lushest of greens you could imagine. As you’re flying mid-air, your darling is encouraging you from the other side. That’s Flight of The Gibbons – a harnessed canopy-ride through and across the treetops.
But seeing this is one for the romantics, let’s talk about their VIP Experience which is basically designed for couples. Your private adventure starts with your own driver, and after your trek through the lush jungle, enjoy a romantic champagne picnic-style lunch for two in a stunning setting.
15. You won’t wanna leave anywhere without your camera in hand the.entire.time — Explore The Village / Photo Ops
So like, literally, this entire village is like a scene from 100 years ago and the locals have gone to great lengths to preserve it, including the original buildings and their way of life.
The whole of Mae Kampong is absolutely beautiful and really picturesque, with endless photo opportunities and quaint spots around to snap the perfect picture with some insanely cool backgrounds!
Take a walk around the tiny town and get a feel for the slow-life, all the while being totally surrounded by trees, mountains and running streams – it’s actually magical if you ask me.
Explore The Village / Photo Ops
Address: Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Eat like a local
You’re in the North of Thailand, so of course you have to try the local cuisine – which has some of my favourite dishes throughout the entire country!
16. In the middle of town, enjoy street views from above — ร้านอาหารแม่กำปอง ร้านข้าวซอยกลอยใจ (Khao Soi Koy Jai)
Whenever I’m in Northern Thailand, one of the first things I can’t wait to eat is a bowl of Khao Soi!!!
This is apparently the place to find it in town, and it’s set up in one of the old buildings – wow, they all just have such a natural ambiance, don’t you think??. Sit on the balcony and watch the street-life pass below you.
Recommended dishes include Khao Soi (duh), Nam Ngao (Northern-style Thai noodles), as well as Hung Leang Curry (a super rich and fragrant pork curry dish).
Khao Soi Koy Jai
Price:From 50 Baht / approx. $1.56 Address: 64/4 ม.3 ต.ห้วยแก้ว อ.แม่ออน Chiang Mai, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 86 198 1010 Opening hours: Fri-Wed from 8am to 7pm (Closed Thursdays)
17. You can’t leave Mae Kampong without trying — ไส้อั่วแม่นิ่ม (Sai Mai)
Anyone ever traveled to South Africa and tried one of our traditional meats, a sausage that is cooked over the fire known as ‘boerewors’? Well if you have, this TOTALLY reminds of the meat-cut; a stuffed and herbed sausage that is rolled up in a circular shape.
Known in Thailand as Sai ua (ไส้อั่ว), don’t miss this local treat, just look out for its set-up as you walk in the village, located in a small wooden roadside restaurant.
Price:From 40 Baht / approx. $1.25 Address: House, No. 96 Village No. 3, Huay Kaew Subdistrict, Mae On District, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 89 263 5765 Opening hours: Thu-Tue from 8am to 5pm (Closed Wednesdays)
18. So many activities (in gorgeous natural surroundings) within — Chae Son National Park
Mae Kampong’s National Park is actually filled with many things to do including a hot spring, jungle trails, waterfalls, as well as accommodation. So if the pair of you are looking for something to do outside the village streets, spend your day here in the fresh air, immersed in nature.
Chae Son National Park
Price:200 Baht / approx. USD $6.33 (Adults), 100 Baht / approx. USD $3.17 (Children) Address: Chae Son, Mueang Pan District, Lampang 52240, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 89 851 3355, +66 93 137 5533 Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 8am to 6pm, Sat-Sun from 7am to 6pm
19. Not just your ordinary on-land Buddhist temple — Khantha Pruksa Temple (Mae Kampong Temple) วัดคันธาพฤกษา (วัดแม่กำปอง)
You mean to say it’s not on land? Well technically, yes, as part of the temple (the Buddhist church) is actually built in / among the running stream, which runs from the waterfall (and is in fcat, an impressive size for a waterfall-temple!).
There’s a small wooden bridge so you can cross the fall, so pay your respects all the while enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature. Bliss!
Khantha Pruksa Temple
Price:Free! Address: Huai Kaeo, Mae On District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand (Coordinates here) Opening hours: Daily from 6.30am to 6pm
So if you’ve never heard of Mae Kampong, I’m sure after you’ve seen how utterly magical this little village truly is, you’ll be wanting to hop on the next ride here with your lover, spending a few days in utter, peaceful bliss!
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I live to travel and I travel to live. I'm a traveling Gypsy with a passion for the English word, being inspired daily by the different cultures and colours, scents and scenic overloads, sensory explosions and mind-awakening experiences. The ones that take your breathe away. Walking along the earth, one country at a time, it's what I live for; a life full of adventure, sharing my thoughts and experiences through literature