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4 Bangkok tea shops that will have you coming back for more
No Lipton here. These venues are the cream of the pot in a coffee drinker’s city
Bangkok’s tea drinkers tend to get the shaft, with choices that don't extend much beyond Lipton and Twinings when ordering a pot at a restaurant. But there are a few excellent Bangkok tea shops, whether you prefer Oolong or Darjeeling. Here are our four favorites.
1. Karma Kamet
We know there's nothing less authentic than a tearoom in the middle of a shopping mall. But give Central World’s Karma Kamet a chance. Despite being lodged between the mall's most crowded boutiques, Zara and MNG, it’s actually very quiet and serene.
The tea selection here is almost endless, taking up over six pages of the Karma Kamet menu. You can travel the Asian plains with its exotic teas, from Guan Yin Oolong and Jade Spring Green Tea to Yunnan Earl Gray and Lemongrass Ginger Tea.
If you're into Asian herbal and floral flavors, this is where Karma Kamet really shines. All teas here are served in pots, and when ordering a set, instead of traditional scones, you'll get Chinese cakes.
It isn’t just the aromas of the brews that invite people in. Karma Kamet’s other signature products include a wide range of aromatic candles, essential oils and lotions.
How to get there: Karma Kamet is located on the second floor of Central World in Central Court Zone towards the B2S Bookstore. Open daily, 10am to 10pm. BTS: Chidlom. Tel +66 (0)2 613 1397
2. Erawan Tearoom
Despite being part of the high-society frequented Erawan Bangkok, home to Club 21 that brings Marc Jacobs and Christian Louboutin to the Thai elite, the Erawan Tearoom has a laidback vibe and caters to both tea drinkers and Thai food lovers.
Though the theme here is Thai, from the decor to the utensils, the tea selections include both Thai and Chinese teas, such as pandanus, lemongrass, chrysanthemum and roselle, which are served hot and cold -- the preferred way to accompany Thai meals.
Erawan Tearoom also has a selection of tea leaves for sale so you can brew your own at home. There are tea sets in different styles from Indian to Chinese to make the home experience a little more authentic.
How to get there: Erawan Tearoom can be accessed by the Skywalk, the overhead walkway connecting the mall with the Chidlom BTS Station. The tearoom is located on the second floor of the Erawan Bangkok shopping complex. Open 8am to 9pm. Tel +66 (0)2 250 7777
Off chaotic Sukhumvit Road you’ll find Agalico, owned by Thailand's most prominent landscapist and interior designer, ML Poomchai Chumbala, whose famous works include the exquisite gardens of Mrigadayavan Palace in Hua Hin.
Entering Agalico is like stepping into a Jane Austen novel-- it’s an all white English-style living room, accented with birdcages, rattan chairs and comfy canvas couches -- all of which were designed by ML Poomchai and can be yours for a price.
Aside from its selection of cakes and imported teas from all parts of Europe, what really makes this place special is the garden outside, which is a blend of English countryside and Greek mythology guest-starring Balinese statues and sculptures. Beautifully confusing.
When visiting Agalico, order their signature afternoon tea set which comes with two scrumptious homemade scones. Not a place for night owls though as it’s only open Friday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
How to get there: Agalico is located in Sukhumvit Soi 51, within walking distance of the Thonglor BTS Station. It’s hidden behind a white building on the right hand side of the road. Tel +66 (0)2 662 5857
4. Al Majlis
This Moroccan tearoom has long been a place for young Bangkok professionals to unwind after work over a session of wine and hookah. But Al Majlis has more to offer than these not-so-cheap thrills.
Al Majlis used to be a high-end day spa, its traces remaining in the form of overzealous Greek pillars and spiral staircases. But now Al Majlis comes to life after 5pm. Multicolored lanterns are lit on the lawn and massage beds have been turned into comfy alfresco sofas to welcome the heaps of hungry and thirsty Bangkok hipsters.
Not feeling the Bangkok heat? Visitors can opt for its indoor tearoom, decked out with Indian fabrics and Moroccan furnishings. As for the teas, anything under the Middle Eastern sun can be found on its menu, from Morocco to Lebanon, with a few blends from India too. There are also a number of fruity teas for those not into the spice.
Though most people come to Al Majlis for its liquid menu, the Moroccan dishes deserve no less respect.
How to get there: Al Majlis is a little tricky to find. It's in a un-numbered alley within Ekamai Soi 12. Simply look for a green “Praduu Spa Club” sign and turn into that alley. Al Majlis is located at the end of the alley. Open Monday-Friday, 4:30pm-1am. Saturday-Sunday, 2pm-1am. Tel +66 (0)2 392 2345