A new but remote Chiang Mai coffee shop made waves online for its amazing location perched above a waterfall, where guests can chill on oversized floor cushions or net hammocks, get some sun, and have a snack.
However, now Jungle de Cafe, which opened just three weeks ago, will be partially demolished after the Royal Forest Department (RFD) caught wind of a viral video of the cafe and went out to inspect the property yesterday. Turns out, some of the structures encroach on Mae Rim Forest Reserve, reported Thai PBS.
The cafe had advertised itself as having “coffee for tens of baht with the taste of hundreds of baht and beautiful waterfall views worth millions of baht” and had proven very popular with Thai tourists.
The RFD investigation also revealed that the cafe’s owner, Aranya Tarin, also owned a Chiang Mai zipline attraction, Pongyang Jungle Coaster and Zipline, that was also shut down for operating in a watershed area of Mae Rim Forest Reserve.
Aranya claimed that she misunderstood which areas she could be used and the structures, a suspension bridge and a wooden pavilion near the waterfall, were temporary and she would remove them. The cafe will be made smaller by 80 square meters, reported The Nation.
The RFD said that they would charge the owner with forest encroachment as well as her previous charge for operating her zipline in a watershed area. The fines for those charges can be up to five years in prison and a fine of up to THB30,000 (US$933).