Pai is a little village of hippies which is located 130km from Chiang Mai. It’s the perfect place to rest for few days.
Few days in Pai
If you need to disconnect, avoid pollution, and spend few days in a quiet place, then Pai is the perfect place for you.
Despite the location in the mountains, the village of Pai is flat. You can walk or cycle around. It is very cute and relaxing. You have the impression that time has stopped.
As it is quite touristy, you can find everything you need in Pai : coffee shops, shops, restaurants and guesthouses. This is quite practical, compared to other, less touristic villages that tend to have fewer options. The main worry is that there are really a lot of hippies … When I went there, fortunately, there weren’t that many of them, so it was very pleasant, but I know that this is not always the case. Nevertheless, the design of most of the restaurant and pub is psychedelic, so you always know that they can appear at any time.
Every year, in January, there is a transe-music festival. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you to decide.
Better option, in July, there is a Jazz&Blues festival in the village.
Around Pai, there are waterfalls where you can swim, hot springs where you can relax, or fields of rice paddies to see.
Be careful, on the way to waterfalls, there are people that sell weed, but the same people denunciate you to the police that is waiting for you few kilometers after.
If you need quiet and peace, Pai may be the perfect place. Because it’s really quiet, and the stroke of life is derisory. Consider a moment there to learn thai massage or to take cooking classes.
How to get there ?
To get in Pai, the easiest way is to take a minibus from Chiang Mai. All guesthouses sell tickets. It takes 3-4 hours to drive, and make sure you have a strong stomach, because there are about 700 bends on the way. These mini-vans are often very uncomfortable, so get a pillow, and a plastic bag in case you vomit. In other words, you will be happy once you arrive!
If you are a good drive, rent a car or a motorbike. It will give you more freedom to visit the surrondings.
Where to stay ?
To stay in Pai, I recommend the guesthouse just across the river, the Baan Pai Riverside.
The cabins are new, concrete, facing the river, with a hammock. At the time, the rate per night was 120 baths for 2 with breakfast and bike rental included. No need to say it was the best deal I ever had travelling. But I think that it’s a bit more expensive now.
Attention, the bridge crossing the river was broken at one time, so the guesthouse was not accessible. Check it before booking.