But why? Why do I love Pai?
Pai is located in the Mae Hong Song district of Thailand, just North of Chiang Mai, and is one of the more overlooked destinations that Thailand has to offer. Here’s why I think it’s worth a look…
I wasn’t intending on going to Pai, but I had to stop there on my way from Chiang Mai to Wat Pa Tham Wua. I’d heard a bit about it…heard that it was chill. Just a short stroll down the main road at night and anyone can sense the spirit of Pai…
Not too busy, just buzzy enough…brimming with buskers doing reggae covers of classics…wafting of different cuisines through the air…and murmurs of groups of friends while they browse the night markets and cute shops…
…a slightly hipster, and definite cool vibe that offers a welcome reprieve from the usually over-crowded tourist hot spots.
Shops & Night Market
One of my favourite shops had a post box set up so you could write the postcard there and the owner will post them for you. He even recycled newspapers to make bags gift bags!
The First Hippie in Pai
I meandered down the road, bar hopped between different bars with live acoustic and reggae…and finally sat down at this one and met…the “first hippie in Pai”.
“First you must love yourself”
“Meditation is not funny”
…he serenaded us with covers of the Beetles…it was very special.
The next day we had a late start, and set off to find the hot springs on our scooter. We got lost a couple of times…which was amazing.
I couldn’t have planned a better sight-seeing tour…we stumbled across more beauty by losing our way!
Finally we found the hot springs…and spent practically all day there until the sun started going down. We rubbed mud into our skin and swang from branches of trees…we spoke to a couple of other tourists and had some play time with a couple of local children there.
There were only two to four other people at a time here… and it was cheaper than the main hot springs…so I would definitely recommend coming here.
Food of Pai
You could find street food of all kinds…Indian, pancakes, icecream, fresh mango crushes!
Hiring a scooter seems to be the main way to get around here. Great for seeking out the best the town has to offer, and for those out of town trips to the Buddha, hot springs, canyon and caves. Beautiful views and a lot of fun…worth it for only 1000-1500 Baht per day.
My advice is to only ride scooters in Asia if you’ve ridden them back home. There are way too many tourist accidents…don’t become a statistic!
After I returned from the monastery, we decided to see more Pai. We woke up early so we could get to the canyon to see the sunrise and to skip the crowds…a great idea that paid off since we were pretty much the only ones there!
Pai Canyon was definitely worth it. Again, coming before anyone else was awake definitely paid off!
The perfect place to debrief on our Vipassana and chat about life. We had the space and the silence to find many parallels between nature and life around us.
Yoga and Earth Tones
We did some yoga with a Thai instructor. She was extremely flexible and I found she was going more at her pace than that of the class, however she did come around the room and assist us a couple of times. She pushed us hard…and it felt very much like boot camp yoga…but working up a sweat was just what I needed!
Afterwards, we went to Earth Tones cafe and natural product shop and had a feast and purchased some natural goodies.
I may have made friends with another cat at the place we did yoga.
The first time I came across this site, it was in the early afternoon, which was too hot to walk up the stairs.
Coming back at sunset was perfect.
The sun wasn’t hot and we were rewarded with a spectacular view. Tip: Bring insect repellent…when shadows started creeping in, the mozzies and bugs got hungrier!
Lilu Pai Hotel
The reason this hotel deserves an honourable mention, is because it’s the first hotel I’ve ever walked into and said to myself “a woman designed this.”
Women can tell when other women design hotels for them.
It’s all about the details…right down to the organic herbal soaps and intricate stencil art hung on the feature wall. At about 15USD per night, this was a welcome break from hostels!
Nooks and Crannies
This place was on the road on our way back from the canyon. It was too early for breakfast, but my friend says the food here is excellent…and just look at how pretty it is! Run by a very friendly woman who also has AirBnBers stay here, it was a definite inspiration.
So that’s why Pai will always have a piece of my heart. Why not leave some of yours there too? 🙂