By Atiqah Khamurudin on April 5, 2019
Coffee lovers rejoice, there’s more to do than visit cafes and sip on espresso after espresso while you make that bucket list Asian trip. Here’s our list of top 5 destinations around Southeast Asia to experience the ultimate Asian coffee culture, ranging from popular tourist destinations to local experiences.
A visit to Chiang Mai would be deemed incomplete without experiencing a coffee tour in the local farms of Chiang Mai, Thailand. One of the cafes which offer day trips is Akha Ama coffee shop. What makes Akha Ama unique is the part that not only do they serve the best local coffee (they source their coffee beans from the local Akha people as part of their mission to help sustain the village). In fact they also run coffee day tours in Suan Lahu, a coffee farm run by the Lahu tribe. Trust us, this is one experience you wouldn’t want to miss!
Vietnam takes a slightly eccentric take when it comes to coffee around Southeast Asia. If you’re up for experiencing Vietnam’s coffee culture, we would highly recommend sampling the authentic egg coffee. The name may ring some alarms – imagine this, a concoction of creamy soft egg white foam mixed in a cup of thick Vietnamese coffee. Also known as cà phê trúng, egg coffee is truly a Hanoi specialty and not many places offer it. If you’re heading to Hanoi as part of your Asian coffee tour, we strongly recommend to make a pit stop at Cafe Giang to try this.
The coffee culture is expanding in KL with the presence of cafes available in every nook and cranny. In fact, with the multiple options of coffee shops available in KL alone, you would be spoilt for choice. For offline options, there’s aplenty to venture from old city classics like Merchant’s Lane to trendy upscale cafes in the areas of Bangsar and Mont Kiara. For online options as a nice touch to souvenir shopping, you can order adorable drip coffee bags from stores like Hook Coffee MY which deliver straight to your hotel or airbnb. While you’re in KL, it would be a crime to miss out on the ultimate coffee event – the yearly Malaysia Coffee Festival which happens in July. Roughly 20 minutes away from the city center, you can spend half a day at the event located in One Utama Shopping Mall and experience a wide range of coffee samples and activities.
An originally Balinese coffee experience would include the infamously questionable, expensive yet incredibly delicious Kopi Luwak. In Ubud, Bali, you can experience a tour around the coffee plantations to understand how Kopi Luwak is produced. Generally, Kopi Luwak is made from the digestive system of the luwak or civet. The civet eats regular coffee beans, digests it and defecates it. The farmers collect the defecated coffee beans after around 24 hours before producing the highly sought after Kopi Luwak which is said to have numerous health benefits including preventing cancer and diabetes.
Laos is one of the favourite destinations for coffee lovers who appreciate not just tantalizing beans but also rich historical value. While you’re in Laos, check out some of the village homestays which provide coffee tours – you not only get a feel of a local experience but also you get to learn about the historical background of Laos’ coffee beans. In Tad Lo, there’s a village homestay called Captain Hook’s which offers an amazing experience to learn about the village and drink bamboo brewed coffee – now that’s definitely Instagram worthy! Another option for a homestay and coffee tour would be the Mystic Mountain Laos.