My favorite coffee shop in Bangkok, Thailand has always been Cafe Doi Tung. Not only a wonderful chain of Thai coffee shops serving top-quality coffee and tea drinks, Cafe Doi Tung is also part of a Royal charity set up by the Princess Mother of Thailand to help hilltribe people in northern Thailand. So, when you drink or eat something at Cafe Doi Tung, or buy one of their handmade products, you’re also helping disenfranchised hilltribe people in the north of the country make a living.
What is Cafe Doi Tung? – Cafe Doi Tung is part of the Doi Tung Sustainable Development Project, which was set up in 1988 by Thailand’s Princess Mother, the mother of the current King of Thailand. After hearing that local hilltribe people in Thailand’s north were still growing the opium they’d been growing for hundreds of years in order to make a living, the Princess Mother decided a legal and more sustainable way of life needed to be achieved.
So she founded the Doi Tung Sustainable Development Project. The project was set up to help hilltribe people grow coffee crops, make handmade paper products and pottery, teach them to weave and sew and to create a myriad of handmade products that could be sold to achieve a better standard of living for them.
More than 20 years later, the people of the Doi Tung area (Doi Tung is a mountain), have a much better life than they did growing opium and their coffee and handmade products are now sold in Cafe Doi Tung branches all over Thailand.
Drinks at Cafe Doi Tung – Cafe Doi Tung sells coffee and coffee drinks, tea and tea drinks, hot chocolate and fruit shakes and fruit juices. I love the coffee at Doi Tung as it’s free from any toxins unlike many other commercial coffees, and it’s full bodied and full of flavor but not bitter.
Cafe Doi Tung makes an incredible caramel latte, a perfect iced mocha and their tea drinks, both hot and iced, and fresh fruit juices are wonderful too. Plus, what’s even better is this – Doi Tung’s drinks rival anything Starbucks makes, yet their prices are 20-30 baht (67 cents-$1) cheaper. And, when you consider a portion of everything you spend goes to the Doi Tung charity to help poor Thai hilltribe people have a better life, I honestly don’t know how anyone can go to Starbucks.
Food at Cafe Doi Tung – To go along with the delicious drinks, the food at Cafe Doi Tung isn’t bad either. There’s a choice of sandwiches, muffins, pastries and cookies and, again, with prices cheaper than Starbucks and better tasting products too.
Handmade Products at Cafe Doi Tung – The other thing I love about Cafe Doi Tung is each shop sells the handmade products made by hilltribe people in northern Thailand. While you’re drinking your coffee, you can browse through the shop and find handmade rugs, bags and purses, wallets, handmade pottery, vases, notepaper made from handmade mulberry paper and even shirts, hats, scarves, shawls and key chains.
Prices are extremely reasonable, the quality is superb and all the items are unique to Doi Tung, so you won’t find them anywhere else. In fact, when my parents came to visit me in Thailand, they did most of their gift shopping at Doi Tung cafes as the products are lovely and so cheap.
Location of Cafe Doi Tung – There are Cafe Doi Tung all over Bangkok and in several other places in Thailand. My favorite locations are at Suan Lum Night Bazaar and Chamchuri Square, but you’ll also find them in about 15 other locations around the city, including at the US Embassy. For all the locations of Cafe Doi Tung, check out the link below this article.
All About Doi Tung Development Project
Location of Cafe Doi Tung Branches in Thailand