Pai is the hippy paradise of Northern Thailand, or so they tell you. But is it really what you expect, will you fit in and “find yourself” there? Or will you just become another tourist with motorbike accident scars, a drunken tattoo and a 2 week hangover.
So let me start by saying, I spent a week in Pai, and at the end, I was still unsure about it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something just didn’t sit well with me. Maybe I’m just a miserable git, maybe not, either way something just felt off…
Pai has some cool things to see near by, hot springs, waterfalls, a land split, a canyon and some stunning views. The town itself is also pretty cool, with the main street turning into a walking street at night, a plethora of restaurants and cafés to choose from as well as some very cool market stalls with hand crafted thingy-ma-bobs (but honestly, they are cool).
I decided against renting a moped in Pai, due to the amount of tourists who were hobbling around, covered in bandages and scars. Whether this was down to the terrible condition of the majority of the bikes, or the incompetence of (drunken) drivers, I decided it was a good idea to not join them. Instead we decided to walk to the Buddha on the mountain, which involved a lot of stairs, (see above). The view was totally worth it, (see below), we noticed almost every other person decided to drive here; but if you have a bike, why not!
Jocelyn is obsessed with Halloween, and because of the King passing away we didn’t think we would find anywhere celebrating, but in Pai we more than managed to. So we had one night out, where we met some interesting people, got halloween face-paint and joined the masses in getting rather merry, which was good fun!
My problem with Pai doesn’t come from Pai itself… it has lots of beautiful things to offer. It is to do with the people and the vibe. I imagine once upon a time this was truly a hippy paradise, a quiet sleepy town in Northern Thailand where the locals are all very cool and relaxed; what a dream. But now, not so much. It’s full of people partying every night, and people who discover their true hippy selves by spending a week in the circus camp, learning how to juggle so they can impress their friends with how relaxed and chill they now are.
But in all the chaos the locals still managed to be cool and chill, with some very talented people showcasing their work on the night markets. I had one of the best shawarma I have ever eaten, for a measly 59 Baht, it was truly incredible.
So if you want a taste of laid back Thailand, you can certainly find it in Pai, but it may not be everything you dreamed of, unless of course you like getting drunk every night!
Feel free to let me know your experiences of Pai. Like I say maybe I’m just miserable, the vibe just felt too fake for me!