If you have chance to visit Luang Prabang, you can go these coffee shops to enjoy the amazing Lao coffee.
The story of Saffron Coffee is an uplifting one that deserves to be shared. The Hmong, Khamu, and Yao (Mien) who lived up in the high lands were unable to grow typical crops like the rest of Lao. They turned to opium as a way to earn income until the government banned this practice, having to then resort to slash and burn agriculture. A researcher realized that these mountainous areas would be perfect for coffee cultivation, and then Saffron was born. Saffron says that it always buys the entire amount of coffee cultivated from these ethnic minorities in order to provide them with income.
If you are a tourist, you would be hard pressed not to stop in at least one of the two Joma Coffee shops set up around town. I have to admit that I come here a little too often, but it is a great way to cool off with air-conditioning, a reasonably priced cup of coffee, and the daily Bangkok Post or Vientiane Times paper within reach. The internet, however, is fairly intermittent. I would not advise coming here and expecting stellar performance on their wifi network. My last few visits here had me walking out in anger as I could not even connect to their wifi. Joma’s coffee is decent, but not quite as flavorful as other places around town. My favorite part of Joma is that they sometimes have a plate sitting out of day-old pastries that are 50% off. That’s a pretty good steal for an expat living here on a budget.
96 Coffee is somewhat of an oddity as it is located out from the central area of Luang Prabang, but this should not discourage you from coming here. 96 Coffee is also apart of the Luang Prabang Inn hotel just located a few meters away. Their coffee is not the cheapest in Luang Prabang, but the atmosphere is comfortable enough to spend a few hours here in peace. Their interior has a free computer to use the internet, a few leather couches, and comfortable outdoor seating to enjoy your cup of joe. 96 Coffee stays open until 9:00pm, which is actually late by certain standards here in Luang Prabang. Their internet is also fairly reliable, and they have plenty of Vientiane papers here to keep you updated with all things related to Laos. Their americano actually packs more flavor than the usual cup I have ordered at Joma.
Pilgrim’s Cafe is an old favorite that I cannot help but returning to time and time again. This post, however, may be a little biased since our Tiger Trail office is located right next door. I think most of my paycheck ends up going into the hands of the workers here. Nevertheless, Pilgrim’s Cafe serves up a delicious ‘bottomless’ cup of brewed coffee (only 12,000 kip) and has a very fast and reliable internet connection. They also have an amazing deal for breakfast: French toast and coffee for only 16,000 kip. This is definitely a steal. Their bottomless coffee is equally as dangerous because I can drink 3 or more cups a day! The staff here is also very friendly, and they have a great selection of Western dishes to choose from.
Silk Road Cafe
The Silk Road Cafe has been featured heavily in the past few blog posts I have written, but it is equally a great place to come for a quiet coffee by the Mekong river. You can also stop by for a free tour of their silk process, take a silk dyeing class, eat an amazing brunch, or come here for a Lao lunch with a western twist! They have newspapers that seem to be stocked daily, and their wifi is great as well. The only downside to the Silk Road Cafe is that they do not stay open to serve dinner at all, so the cafe closes earlier than other spots here in Luang Prabang. It is also somewhat farther away from the city center than the other cafes reviewed in this post, but that should not discourage you from coming here and trying what Ock Pop Tok’s Silk Road Cafe has to offer.
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