I had heard a lot of good things about Pai which is a town just North of Chiang Mai so I was excited to get there however I wasn’t as excited for the journey.. A total of 762 turns up and down the mountains over 3 hours, I had read up on it and some posts had mentioned sickness so my stomach felt bad before we had even left however we had a brilliant driver who kept a nice steady speed and not speeding then slowing down for corners as I heard most drivers do and maybe my stomach is stronger than I thought too because I really didn’t feel that bad!
Pai is a very hippy town in the middle of the mountains. The town itself is quite small but had a lot of attractions just outside the town.
I was really pleased with my hostel choice- Common grounds hostel, and again like Chiang Mai it was so cheap- 150TB a night. I met the nicest people so far on my trip there. Everyone got on so well and some people were off to do the Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam route like me and others had already done it so they were full of useful information and I was full of questions.
The curfew (when the military took over the government) in Thailand kicked in on my first night there which was a shame as I had been hearing good stories about the bars but we had a good social vibe in the hostel and I guess it saved me some money and my liver but apart from this we didn’t see or hear anything else to do with the coup. The military went round after 10.00pm make sure people weren’t on the street but we didn’t see them during the day and we were sure that Pai was way too laid back to start any protests.. The media was definitely over exaggerating the situation as normal.
On my first full day a group of us that we’re too scared to ride a moped got a taxi to the most popular waterfalls around Pai. There were pools we could sit in and a few slides along the rock face which all the crazy thai’s were going down.
I’d read that because Pai is in the mountains its normally cooler there than in other place in the North however because i was there in hot season the temperatures were reaching 36-37c midday so the pool in the town was a great relief which i visited on a few occasions!
Just outside the town is a canyon. It’s pretty random and I’m not sure what caused it but it’s a cool place to visit, I went with an Aussie girl on the back of her moped one evening to watch the sunset, although the sun sets behind the mountain it was still pretty cool to see. We also headed up to the Circus school one night to watch the sunset over the mountains and play with some of their circus toys and it was the most amazing view over Pai from up there too.
The Main Street in the town does a night market which is full of fried goods.. Sweet and savoury and soo cheap so I headed there every night for a range of foods! (Very unhealthy as usual..opps).
My remaining days in Pai were full of chilling in the hostel chatting to people, days go fast in Pai and all seem to merge into each other. It’s such a chilled out, beautiful place.
So far on this trip I haven’t ridden a moped. I’ve wanted to try quite a few times but you just see so many backpackers covered in bandages and cuts from accidents that I had chickened out but a few girls I have met in the last few months had learnt in Pai as the roads there are really good so on my last full day i has rented a bike with a girl for her to drive and we went to a quiet bit of road for me to try. I was extremely wobbly to start with but I managed to go in a straight line a few metres and that was enough for that day. The next day I took it out myself and headed out of the town. Turning was a little scary and I headed back after only 15 minutes but I feel a lot more confident to try again another time
I really loved Pai and it is a place that I would go back to without a doubt as I can’t see it changing for the worse too much in the future and the curfew was still in place the whole time I was there so next time I need to check out the nightlife!