Kmt Coffee Shop At Baan Mai Nong Bua.

Steve Merchant

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A few years ago I looked for, and found, the road up from Chai Prakarn to Sinchai that goes via Tham Ngop, and Pha Daeng to Doi Ang Kang. I was really surprised to be just a few kms from Chai Prakarn and still on the lowland to find a big Chinese community at the above named place. I dont live that far away (Tha Thon) and yet had never heard about a village this size quite close to the main road.
A few weeks back I passed through again and in a rush to get up the mountain never stopped.
Today, Mar 3, I came down the hill from Sinchai and was desperate for my second morning coffee and stopped at the first roadside sign that said 'fresh coffee'. It was a revelation.
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A very smart place, set back off the road across a wide footpath, all signs in Chinese and Thai and an owner in attendance who looked like a Singaporean on holiday.
As a coffee shop it was great with good seats, great decoration and terrific local coffee at 30b a cup.
What made it far more exceptional was the terrific display of old photos, maps and even memorabilia of the arrival of the KMT soldiers in North Thailand and Burma.
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A classy display and a friendly husband/wife team who I think may speak a little English if pushed.
Well worth a 20 minute break and bags of local coffee for sale instead of shopping at Tesco.
 
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DavidFL

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What a great find. I must go and take a look.
That little Chinese town on Mai Nong Bua is a beauty.

Like you I have passed through quite a few times, but never really spent any time there.; however there are some rather rustic hot springs in there, that may interest some people.
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The Doi Ang Khang Loop

The Chinese KMT there are related to all those on R1349 the Arunothai - Doi Ang Khang road.
The main villages are Tham Ngop, Pha Daeng & Sinchai.
KMT Soldiers from Tham Ngop went to fight the communists at Doi Pha Tang in the early 70s.

If you're in the area again, not far away is Ban Yang, which has the first Royal Project Cannery Museum that has a nice history of the area
Doi Ang Khang - Ban Yang Flash Flood

Thanks for the tip off, I'm heading there again soon for a cuppa & a look in that coffee shop.
 
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Steve Merchant

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Being useless at putting a location on a google map there isn't a location but despite this only being a village it is financial important enough to have a Bangkok Bank branch which was almost opposite the coffee shop. That should help in finding it.
 

DavidFL

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Fantastic, I finally found this gem of a little coffee shop - museum.
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Steve your directions were pretty spot on, the Bangkok Bank ATM intersection is the crucial spot to recognize.
Once you find that ATM the coffee shop is on the other side of the street, & another 55 metres west towards the border.

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A cuppa & bit of a story to come.....
 

DavidFL

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Entering Mai Nong Bua from Chai Prakarn
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If you're looking for a place to stay, you can try the big flash new Anton Place
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& further on up the road the first place is the NT cafe
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A nice little arcon cafe
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But that's not the place you're looking for.

The KMT Coffee shop's name is
Baan Tamnan Samoraphum
Kafe Khon Plad Thin
.......
to be continued in a day or two. A Mekong Pizza beckons first.
 

DavidFL

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Baan Tamnan Samoraphum - Kafe Khon Plad Thin

It is 60 years since the KMT settled in North Thailand most of the originals who walked from China have passed away. Very few are left. In Mai Nong Bua, there are 5 left - 4 men & 1 woman, all in their 90s. In Doi Mae Salong there are even less & in Pha Tang there maybe one or two (?)

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The KMT history is literally dying out, with the local youths of today ignorant of their past and the amazing struggle their forefathers had, including the famous 1967 Opium War battle with Khun Sa in Laos when hundreds of Shan were machine gunned to death by the Lao army, who intervened in the battle, won & seized the booty – 16 tons of opium.
(See GTR here: Doi Mae Salong History )
The KMT also fought on behalf of the Thai government against the communists along the Thai / Laos border at Pha Tang, Phu Chi Fah, plus in Phetchabun at Khao Kor & Phu Hin Rongkhla.

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There is a well known Chinese Martyrs Museum at Doi Mae Salong, plus another smaller one in Pha Tang.
In Mai Nong Bua, in the last 12 months, one of the sons – Khun Tawatchai – son of a living original KMT soldier (dad is 92), has started a small charming coffee shop & museum to keep a record of their history: Baan Tamnan Samoraphum / Kafe Khon Plad Thin.
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The smart wooden coffeeshop has a fabulous collection of old photos of the great trek south from China & the battles the KMT fought in Thailand – against Khun Sa the Opium Warlord, plus the communists, to make the place well worth a visit.
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If K Tawatchai the owner is around, he can point out which battles are in which photos. There are images from all over the place & with no English labelling on the pics it can be pretty hard to guess exactly where they are. I only got a few right. 55.

Mai Nong Bua a classic old Chinese village, is 30 kms S-W of Fang, or 6 kms west of Chai Prakarn & R107.
There are 5 original buildings left in the street close by to the KMT Coffeshop

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From MNB you can link up with R1340 on the Burma border to go to Doi Ang Khang or Arunothai.
On R1340 is Tham Ngop were General Lee & his 3rd Army force originally settled.
In the area of Mai Nong Bua there are also hot springs, plus the Tham Tab Tao cave & the huge Nam Roo spring. See GTR: The Doi Ang Khang Loop

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Building the first road through Mai Nong Bua
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Khun Tawatchai has his own brand of coffee for sale, should you wish to support his shop
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For Oddvar & the OSM Crowd: Google Maps
I had to create the location on google maps before it could be posted.
 
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