Pai is a small town just 130KM northeast of Chiang Mai. It seems a town more in place on the West Coast, closer to Santa Cruz then Chiang Mai. Hippies abound, both dark and light skinned. Almost all goods sold are locally made. There are quite a few health food stores with kombucha, kefir and a gigantic selection of teas.
A choice selection of the local art, found outside a tattoo shop.
I originally wasn’t planning on traveling to Pai, but I heard good things from fellow backpackers. I tend to take everything they say with a grain of salt; the typical backpacker I’ve encountered prefers package tours to off the cuff explorations, getting drunk with other falangs instead of meeting the locals and generally doesn’t do anything that another tourist hasn’t already recommended. All in all though, I was glad I made the trip. I may even end up at the local Muay Thai gym for a month of training.
The primary reason I traveled to Pai was to meet up with Kaleb and Sam who just got out of Lao from working with EWB.
The road to Pai is simply amazing, 80KM of sweeping turns, hair pin bends and road grades like I’ve never seen before. I took a video of the drive, but unfortunately the angle was fucked and the footage was useless.
The first few nights I stayed in Spicy Pai, as recommended by other backpackers. This was a poor choice. For what you get, Spicy Pai is extremely overpriced. The main dorm room has 19 beds, 1 bathroom, 2 inch thick pads as mattresses and no doors – you have to sleep with a bug net. All of this and you still have to pay 150B!
I chose to stay in the top bunk, an idea I originally thought cool, but later realized it was the warmest bed in the entire dorm.
We made our way to a few waterfalls, but the most notable was definitely the sliding waterfall Mor Paeng.
A word of wisdom from the Thai government.
I cured a few hangovers and got some wicked sunburn at the super cool ‘fluid pool’ just outside of town. Thanks to fluid I know now that deep house is the best pool music.
One day, in pursuit of the ‘secret hot springs’ we stumbled upon an elephant eating her dinner. No one was around that we could see so we stopped by to say hello. As soon as I got out my camera she got quite curious.
Something crazy you see in Pai is that every 3rd person is sporting some sort of bandage or sling. Apparently the most common way to arrive to Pai is by rented motorbike. I talked to a few girls sporting bandages and found that they had no experience with motorcycles and only one of them even considered themselves competent on a bicycle. No wonder they got fucked up!
Before I left I took a short ride up to a great view point in the opposite direction of Chaing Mai. (Hint: Right click and select’open image in new tab’ for a larger view)