A unique, if not bizarre, theme cafe is catching attention in Thailand- a so-called “death awareness” cafe where customers are encouraged to somehow confront their dreaded mortality by lying in coffins. It is hoped that through such an unusual experience, people would live “better lives” as a result.
The cafe is an open-air lunch spot in Bangkok. It puts a macabre, Buddhist spin on the themed-cafe craze. The menu has drinks named “death” and “painful.” There’s also a skeleton splayed out on a couch in the corner celebrating the meet-your-maker theme.
The cafe’s centerpiece, of course, is a decorated white coffin where customers are asked to lay down for a few minutes and reflect on their lives’ supposed final moments. Agreeing to experience the “Kid Mai (Think New) Death Cafe” will not only allow customers to contemplate and appreciate their lives more, but that doing the once unthinkable will also entitle them to a discount on their drink.
The cafe’s owner insists that what his restaurant is offering is more than just a gimmick even if he has to compete with other cute and cuddly coffee shops common in Bangkok, ranging from cat, husk and meerkat cafes to unicorn and mermaid-themed eateries.
Professor and social researcher Veeranut Rojanaprapa conceived the cafe as a venue to teach the 90 percent Buddhist-strong Thai people about the benefits of “death awareness.”
Dr. Veeranut said: “We found that having an awareness of death decreases greed and anger.” He also believes that the Buddhist concept, rooted in ideas of impermanence and selflessness, will play a crucial role in ridding Thai society of chronic problems like violence and corruption.
The professor concluded: “When one is aware of their own death, they will do good. This is what our Lord Buddha teaches.”