Unlike in nearby China, the tea situation in Thailand can be a little grim—with offerings here mostly limited to run-of-the-mill brands like Twinings and Lipton. But peruse the menu at any of the charming tea rooms or cafés on this list, and your dream of finding the perfect pot of Darjeeling will quickly be resorted. If you find yourself craving a pucker-inducing Thai dessert, the best places to go are After You and Chaho (where even the most decadent sweet tooth will be satisfied). If you’re looking for a bit of British-colonial tradition, the afternoon tea and snacks at the Author’s Lounge and the Erawan Tea Room are the ideal spots for relaxing, refueling and planning your next activity. And when you’ve had your fill of street food and pad Thai, you can head to Café Tartine for decidedly non-local dishes like baguette sandwiches, quiches, and salads. Whichever venue you choose, though, expect to find lots of other sippers and diners; the tea-and-afternoon-snack scene is gaining momentum in the city.
Wordsmiths and snack lovers (that should cover everyone, right?) will enjoy the traditional afternoon high tea held in this historic lounge of the Mandarin Oriental. After noshing on finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones, be sure to browse through the impressive library of autographed books from authors who have stayed at the hotel.
Thai people have a true love of sweets, this café caters, deliciously, to their sugary addiction. Don’t be surprised to see lines of dessert enthusiasts extending out the door here, all waiting to enjoy dishes like shibuya toast—a generous hunk of toasted bread smeared with honey, vanilla ice cream and more honey.
Serving French food and made-to-order salads to the local business crowd, this indoor-outdoor café bustles during the mid-week lunch hour (and also during weekend brunches). It’s not common for a Bangkok lunch spot to consistently turn out high-quality food, but grab a table, order a homemade iced tea, and you’ll see why this place has such loyal devotees—including yours truly.
Erawan Tea Room
You’ll enjoy panoramic city views along with your afternoon tea at this lounge in the Grand Hyatt hotel. Settle at a table by the window, and sample from a variety of hot and cold Thai and Chinese teas—including those made with lemongrass, ginger, and roselle (hibiscus). Many of the teas, and also jams, are available for takeaway and make great souvenirs.
Take a break from a day of shopping at CentralWorld, and treat yourself to the tea and cake selections at Chaho. The enormous variety of green tea-flavored items—including cakes, smoothies, and mochi confections—is both creative and a little overwhelming. My recommendation: go straight for the green-tea ice cream.