Bangkok was electrifying. Chiang Mai was ok but in my opinion, overrated. Pai was heaven.
I never wanted to leave Pai. I was still packing my bag when the bus came to pick me up. I stayed for 6 nights and I’m sat here in Bangkok questioning why the hell I left at all. Pai was exactly what I was looking for when I decided to come travelling. It was a haven. It had everything I could ever need. The people were friendly and laid back. Hippies and new-age thinking ruled. The views were exquisite. The atmosphere was so sociable. The town was filled with market stalls, amazing restaurants and cafes, bars and yoga studios and live music venues. And dotted everywhere around were roads with incredible views, waterfalls and hot springs, as well as a canyon and a Buddha on a mountain top.
Pai isn’t somewhere to go to race around and do all the tourist attractions. It is somewhere to relax, allow life to take on a slower pace, and simply enjoy and soak up the atmosphere. You could see Pai in a day, but I think by doing this you don’t truly get to experience Pai. To experience it, if you have the time, stay longer, do things one at a time, and for the rest of your time? Sit in a hammock and read a book, watch the world go by, socialise with everyone, eat your body weight in incredible Thai and Western food, rent a moped and drive around and dwell on the scenery. Go to the swimming pool and sunbathe. Pai isn’t about rushing and I think that’s why I found it so hard to leave – it felt like home. I met all these incredible people and instead of feeling like a tourist, I simply felt like I belonged.
I honestly think I could live here. It certainly isn’t for everyone to do this. If you like a fast pace and to constantly be on the go, then you may not love Pai, but it is still worth a visit. I, however, can imagine waking up every day to see the surrounding mountains and rivers, to doing yoga and reading and writing and biking around.
I didn’t have the best luck in Pai. I crashed a moped, making me not wanting to get back on, like, ever. I broke two pairs of sunglasses. I almost put my hand on a scorpion (even though I don’t think scorpions are particularly notorious in Thailand unless they’re dead on a stick, being sold by a street vendor on Ko Sahn). I fell off a hammock. I was very clumsy. But that just made me love it more. Things were going wrong and nothing was perfect and yet, everything was. Everything was a laugh. And how could I have a bad time when every day I got to wake up in a bamboo hut, go up to the common area, and see this view?
I stayed in Spicypai and that definitely added to my experience. I cannot recommend this place enough. It’s got a really social atmosphere but if you want privacy, bungalows are also available. It’s a stunning place and everything is made from bamboo. I felt very at one with nature here and it was difficult to not get chatting to everyone around you. I am so sad I left, but I need to see pastures new. However I know I will be back to Pai and I may even go back on this very trip. It is a town which is fascinating yet has not yet been tarnished by tourism. I hope that never happens but it’s growing popularity and with new resorts springing up everywhere, it is an unfortunate possibility. If you are visiting Thailand I urge you to go to Pai if you have the chance, and do it soon!