Weekly Journal

Places for Writers: 3 inspiring cafes near the Content Castle

31st May 2017

All great writers need a coffee shop. From San Francisco’s Caffe Trieste, where Francis Ford Coppola wrote much of The Godfather, to Edinburgh’s Elephant House, birthplace of Harry Potter, cafes seem to be unusually fruitful places for writers to ply their trade. Even if you’re at a writers’ retreat — ostensibly a space entirely devoted to writing — you’re probably going to need a change of pace and a cup of joe at some point. Here are four spots I found on my own joe-jonesing journeys during my time writing at The Content Castle.

Meow Coffee is the perfect place to go in the morning! It is so close to The Castle.

Meow Coffee

This open-air cafe is just fifty yards south of The Content Castle, and it’s one of the best places for writers I’ve ever encountered. They’ve got the caffeine requirement covered: a rotating cast of kind aunties serves all the street coffee classics out of a pushcart parked in front, including oliang — iced black coffee flavoured with cardamom, roasted sesame, and raw sugar — and creamy, ochre-colored Thai iced tea. (Both are 30 baht for a giant, albeit icy, cup.) Despite the bare cement floors and low wooden tables, the space is clean, comfortable, and remarkably cool thanks to a series of strategically-placed electric fans. The walls are lined with glass cabinets showcasing inspiring if random artifacts, from vintage biscuit tins to yellowing royal family memorabilia. There’s even a small lending library in the corner, showcasing great writers such as Barbara Cartland and her Thai equivalents. And here’s the real kicker: despite the sparse surroundings, they have blazing-fast free wifi. Seriously! Just watch out for lunchtime, when every in-the-know foodie on the island packs into the tiny space for delicious noodle soup from the pushcart parked nearby.

Lolamui Cafe

In my humble yet passionate opinion, ideal places for writers should have three things: good coffee, good wifi, and good vibes. Lolamui Cafe has all three in spades, with an emphasis on the last. This spacious cafe is easy to find — it’s situated right on the ring road in Lamai, and it’s marked by a gigantic, Hollywood-style sign — but once you trek up the tree-lined path to the front door you’ll feel like you’ve discovered a secret garden. Lolamui Cafe is in fact located within a garden, one with a whimsical, Alice-in-Wonderland aesthetic; there are even a few White Rabbit statues scattered amongst the flowers and trees. After entering this garden, you’ll be greeted on the porch of a colonial-style house by an elegant older woman who seems intent to be your surrogate grandmother. She’ll guide you through the menu of espresso drinks and delicate, homemade cakes, then lead you across a bridge to another wide-porched colonial house, where you can enjoy your coffee in a space resplendent with air conditioning and wifi. If this place doesn’t get your creative writing juices flowing, I don’t know what will.

“All great writers need a great coffee shop. From San Francisco’s Caffe Trieste, where Francis Ford Coppola wrote much of The Godfather, to Edinburgh’s Elephant House, birthplace of Harry Potter, cafes seem to be unusually fruitful places for writers to ply their trade.”

My Favourite Bamboo Shack

I’m not sure if this place has a name. There’s no trace of it on Google, which means I can keep it my own private writers’ retreat for as long as possible. I’ll allow you a few hints at its location: it’s right on 4170, where the shops and houses begin to thin to wilderness, suggesting what the island may have looked like before tourism. Follow that road until you see the tallest mimosa tree you can imagine, and in the shade of its pink-tinted canopy you’ll find my favorite bamboo shack. It stands out among the countless other shacks that line this road by its unabashed prettiness; instead of tarpaulin ads for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, it’s strung all over with potted orchids, hanging mosses, and fairy lights. Inside, slim paintings of flowers and fruits hang on the plaster walls. The shack stands in the front yard of a young family, whose toddling son often plays on the clean cement floor. The mother makes the drinks at a bar stacked tidily with the usual array of fruit-flavored syrups and powders. I especially like her chao kuai, a refreshing mixture of milk tea and cubed herbal jelly, topped with a sprinkling of malty Milo powder. They don’t have wifi, but according to Neil Gaiman, you’re really better off doing creative writing without it. Bring your Moleskine and chill out.

You’ll find yourself relaxing in calming scenery at Lolamui Cafe.

Are you interested in learning more about creative writing in a space that hits all three qualifiers for an ideal writing spot? Join other great writers at the Content Castle, where you’ll find good coffee, good wifi, and loads of good vibes.

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