Jun 10, 2020
Exploring Nong Khai's Cafe Culture
Location : Nong Khai, Thailand
With the COVID-imposed lockdown easing up, cafes began opening up. Cafes are not a conspicuous feature of Nong Khai (unlike Hanoi where you see a healthy sprinkling of cafes on every street), but you find cafes with distinct personalities - charming, cute, artsy, expansive, and utilitarian. Coffee price usually starts at B40 but smaller non-a/c cafes start at B30.
Tree of Life Cafe
Tucked almost invisibly along a small soi, Tree of Life Cafe is a small but charming open-air cafe/boutique run by an equally charming owner, Chen. Just 2 tables, coffee is brewed moka-style at a reasonable B30/cup. It's right across the street from one of Nong Khai's very few street art.
Baan Tuad Cafe
Baan Tuad has a clean, expansive and uncluttered atmosphere that is relaxing and work-productive. Its common long wooden table is conducive to online work with ample space for your own clutter. It has an eclectic feel to its ambiance in its many surprising sections - contemporary, French and minimalist. The high ceiling is an added plus.
Go Tong Bike Station
I stumbled-upon Go Tong Cafe when I was lured into Likhit Craft Beer while cycling along the Mekong River promenade. Likhit is a wooden open-deck restaurant specializing in imported craft beer. Both of them are on the same grounds - probably owned by the same guy, presumably Go Tong, and presumably, a fellow cyclist. The whole setup was picturesque. Locals came there to get their selfies and enjoy the food (I suspect they missed out on the cafe as it wasn't conspicuous from the restaurant). Except for a full bike on display at the cafe, there wasn't much in the cafe for a bike theme. But it was comfortable within a garden setting. The seat I was on was comfortable and the a/c was an added draw especially that far out along the promenade.
Perhaps the newest addition to Nong Khai's cafe scene, Beyond Cafe opened up just when COVID 19 caused lockdowns and quarantines. It was dead on its tracks before it could build momentum. Luckily, towards late May, businesses opened up again. Beyond Cafe strictly observed social distancing on its seating which essentially cut its capacity in half. It serves good laté and cappuccino at B40/cup. You get air-conditioning, wifi, trendy ambiance including an industrial grayed-out non-ceiling. The pastry selection is extensive which starts at B65. There is a posted one-hour limit on seating, but since it's just opening its doors, it's not enforced.
Doi Chaang Cafe
Even though Doi Chaang doubles as a restaurant, this is the place I frequent to do my online work. They serve delicious and affordable meals, have decent wifi, air-conditioning, and offer good Doi Chaang coffee. Owners are hands-on and friendly. I often overstay and never once did I feel that they wanted me out.
Let's Bake & Eat Cake (Baanlukchay)
Baanlukchay is a charming Hansel & Gretel-inspired fairy tale cafe-style cake house with story-book characters on its mural. Furniture selection is eclectic and makes for an animated mix. I didn't see coffee on the menu but they serve assorted drinks - soda, milk, tea, and cacao, together with its main draw, cakes. I've only tried their Brownie Bite (B30) and it's chewy, chocolatey, and dense the way you would expect a great brownie to be. You would think a little girl owns the cafe, but "baanlukchay" translates to "son's house" - maybe his daughter? A/c seating only which makes for a comfortable refuge on a hot day.
Cafe De Hat Kham
Hat Kham is a luxurious out-of-the-way cafe in the middle of nowhere, too far on foot from Nong Khai's main drag. But its isolation is perhaps its appeal. Not just a cafe, it's also a fancy hotel for Nong Khai's discriminating crowd. It has a/c indoor seating and alfresco by-the-river outdoor area as well. Coffee starts at B65. They have an open roof deck which opens up at 6:30 pm.
Exploring a neighborhood's cafe culture is always a pleasant experience. The coffee experience, the ambiance, texture and animation are all a unique expression. If I missed out on any worthwhile cafe, please let me know in the comments.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
(Jun 9, 2020) Nice variety
(Jun 9, 2020) I miss cafes and I miss Thailand
Leave a comment?
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Nong Khai Travel Information / Tips
Vientiane to Nong Khai by bus
At the Khua Din Bus Terminal, you can board the #14 bus bound for Buddha Park. It will make a stop on the Friendship Bridge border - 15 mins, B8000. Go to Laos Immigration to exit. Board the special bus to cross the Friendship Bridge, Kip 4,000 or Baht 20. It will stop at Thai Immigration. Get processed. From there, board a tuk-tuk for Nong Khai, 5kms.
Nong Khai Attractions
- Nong Khai Aquarium -
- Salakaewkoo (Wat Khaek) -
- Issan Rum Distillery -
- Wat Pho Chai -
- Lan Phaya Nak -
- Tha Sadet Market -
- Nong Khai Muay Thai Gym -
- Phrathat Bang Phuan -
Nong Khai Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Nong Khai - Chiang Khan Roadtrip June 18, 2020
- Life in Nong Khai Mar 13 - June 18, 2020
- Peoplescape of Nong Khai Jun 17, 2020
- Exploring Nong Khai's Cafe Culture Jun 10, 2020
- Nong Khai Street Art June 4, 2020
- Sirsasana A & B May 20, 2020
- Structured Water, Water Therapy and Nauli May 1, 2020
- Visiting the Salakaewkoo (Buddha Park) in Nong Khai, Thailand Apr 23, 2020
- Fitness in Quarantine Times Apr 20, 2020
- Covid 19: Lion - Buffalo Analogy Apr 13, 2020
- Covid 19 and the Conspiracies Mar - Apr, 2020
- Nong Khai with Cheng Mar 18 - Apr ???, 2020
- Covid 19 and Pranayama Mar 20, 2020
- Giant Mekong Catfish at the Nong Khai Aquarium Mar 19, 2020
- Drawn to Nong Khai, Thailand Mar 12, 2020
Travel Tips for Thailand
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.
- Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
- After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
- NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
- bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
- submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
- when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
- when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
- when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
Book Train Tickets in Thailand
Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by Train36.com
General Travel Tips
- arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
- put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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