nomad desk review: black ant coffee, mae sariang.

Black Ant Coffee in Mae Sariang proved to be a feasible work location, that also provided a sense of relaxation along with a healthy dose of nature. Mae Sariang is a small rural town, with a strip of guesthouses nestled along the river. It is here that Black Ant Coffee, which also operates a separate resort, is perched. It’s a rustic space with a few tables indoors, and a focus on enjoying the outdoors, sipping on a coffee underneath the mango trees whilst gazing at the surrounding greenery. Even though the tables are outside, the tree coverage provides excellent shade and is a welcome retreat from the sun. There are various power points outside, so its possible to power up the laptop, and the WiFi is good and stable. Mae Sariang is a quiet town, so you’ll find little to distract you in your day’s work in this cafe. Welcome distractions include the daily sight of farmers herding buffalo across the river, the rippling sound of the water, and the sound of birds from the trees above.

Whilst simple and rustic, Black Ant Coffee provides a quiet space from which to focus on a day’s work, along with a good local style coffee. They also serve up a range of cold and hot drinks and a couple of simple cakes. If you’re looking for something substantial to eat, you can order from the restaurant next door which dishes up standard local Thai fare, based on noodles and rice.

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The workplace roundup:

Pros

  • Outdoor desks with wonderful views
  • Local style coffee
  • Powerpoints
  • Reliable, decent wifi: speedtest results from my visit
  • Work under the trees, surrounded by birds, bees and buffalows
  • Secluded, relaxing, chilled

Cons

  • Secluded, relaxing, chilled (some people may not find this town offers enough in the socialising aspect & there are not many other digital nomads around town)
  • Working outside can be hot – I’d recommend this workspace in the cooler or wetter months
  • Wear a hat…. there are birds above!
  • Food from outside – but hey, the restaurant next door is literally 1 metre away – so its not that hard!

More about Mae Sariang…

Accommodation is available in the adjacent resort: Black Ant Resort. Simple, yet lovely rooms are positioned below the cafe, overlooking the river. It’s a location that’s hard to beat! There’s a range of other guesthouses and hotels in town that also offer really good accommodation. My favourite picks were:

  • Riverhouse Hotel (teak house) – high end budget / mid range accommodation with good food
  • Above the Sea (not overlooking the river, but they offer a pool along with clean, modern accommodation & scooter hire.
  • River house Resort (higher end accommodation that also has a nice garden for relaxing out front)
  • There are various other great guesthouses and hotels in town – just check out your favourite online website. Travelfish, Agoda and WikiTravel list most of the accommodation for the town, whereas some of the other sites only list the bigger places.

There’s a couple of nice bars for relaxed dining and entertainment at the end of a day’s work. Just hit the main strip on the river, and you’ll find some great spots and hopefully meet some of the nice locals or some of the many Thai folk who pass through on their way to Pai or Chiang Mai.

You can’t beat a couple of days on the scooter around this town. Just ask the locals where to go, there’s a multitude of waterfalls, Karen villages, rainforests and viewpoints to explore. You can also look out into Myanmar from the Salawin River.  This is a very nice, secluded part of Thailand, and you’re likely to enjoy a very authentic experience here. Additionally, Mae Sariang is nestled along the Mae Hong Son loop, so it is a great place to sit back and relax if you’re doing the rounds on a bike or by car. Mae Sariang also makes a great place to go hiking. Although you can visit the villages by yourself, going with a guide will ultimately open up better opportunities to make the most of the opportunity. Salawin Tours and North West tours among others offer great local trips. This area isn’t as easily “accessible” on your own compared to other parts of Thailand, as its not so much on the tourist trail. However, you can obviously break down some of the barriers of going on your own if you know some Thai language, or if you’re happy to roll with the punches!

 

 

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