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Author: A Potato in a Rice Field
Wanderlust Travel Blog of the Year ’13
I’m not much of an enthusiast when it comes to coffee shops, so you really have to offer me something better than special, to have me drive an hour and a half in the wrong direction. An hour and a half when I already have coffee in my hotel room, and all around me in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai. Well played Giant Chiang Mai. Not only did you serve up some top notch coffee, but you let me live out my Ewok dreams. As the Giant tree house coffee shop is literally, found up a tree. It was rather hard to get there by car, but, from the coffee shop car park, it is a mere few steps to find the connecting rope bridges, and by these you easily cross over to the tree. Two persons at a time only, and no running, or shaking, or messing around. And while this tree house would be soo much better as a bar, it would probably be a whole lot more dangerous as well. So a coffee shop it is, up a tree. Anyway, the elevation and views from the Giant Cafe are really quite impressive, and they’re not too different to canopy walks where you’re pretty much standing over thick rain forest and jungle, which are dense in the gorge below. Beneath is a carpet of leaves, birds and the sirens of the jungle.
The Giant Tree House really is just a nice place to sit back with a coffee. And the coffee is relatively cheap as well. I think we paid around 60 – 100 Baht, each, for a bunch of hot and iced coffees, although I didn’t really pay attention, because it was so cheap I didn’t care. Cheaper than Starbucks. There is more to the Giant Tree House than just coffee however, although this is what it is most famous for. The cute coffee shop culture and the Instagrams or Snapchats, or whatever they are, over canopies. They have a simple zip-line from the coffee shop as well, which may be a new feature to the Tree House, as I haven’t really seen it mentioned in other reviews. This is ideal for first timers, and connects roughly 200 meters to other trees. It costs 200 Baht there and back. Then there’s a homestay on the lower tier of the Tree House for those interested in an overnight stay, although it’s more of a bungalow hotel arrangement, rather than a homestay (a legal thing in these protected national parks). So there is more to the tree house, but for most, they will be there for the coffee and it will likely get busy around midday. Reservations are advised by some, although we didn’t bother, and were fine.
There are directions on their website, and their address is here: Baan Pok village, Huaykaew, Mae On, Chiang Mai. It is also easy to find on Google maps and with GPS. So it’s not hard to get to the Giant Tree House if you have your own transport, but, ignoring all the above, it can be tricky. We personally used Google Maps, and it did us proud. Otherwise, if you’re travelling blind, just follow the road signs to Mae On. From central Chiang Mai follow along either route 118, or 1317. Take your pick really. Then, when you reach the more rural and mountainous terrain, look for the signs to Giant. Note, the final accent to the tree is rather steep, and I did have to kick out my passengers and make them walk to the top. A similar situation to our earlier visit to Doi Angkhang. But, if your vehicle cannot make it to the Giant Tree, there are songtaew taxis waiting at the bottom for that final climb. Otherwise it’s easy. In surrounding areas the scenery is really quite beautiful and the location is near the popular Baan Mae Kampong area which popular for home stays. We also stopped at cute homestay (Baan Himnam) which is built over a serene river village and is connected by bamboo bridges. And there’s now a bunch of reasons for us to go back.