Sorry about the title of this post…it was irresistible.
Oh Pai. We were unsure of whether to visit this tucked away town in the mountains, especially as we were told continuously that it was a ‘backpacker’s paradise’, and a ‘hippie dream’. In case you’re unsure, that means that it’s become very touristy. But then, we kept seeing signs for cheap and easy travel to Pai, and we shrugged our shoulders. May as well give it a go.
Upon first inspection I was pleased with the street size. Being European (you can say Brexit as much as you like, but I’ve been a member of the EU for 32 years, and as such, will always be European), I love small streets, winding alleyways, and the like. However, on the initial walk through town to find our hostel (admittedly a little grumpy and hot), it felt a bit too European. I mean there were British people everywhere – not just westerner’s, specifically British. There were pubs offering pizza, chips, cheap beer. We stared at each other. Against the backdrop of the incredible Thai mountains, it was a little baffling. Were we back in Birmingham?
Pai changed at night. The market brought the streets alive and we ate beautiful gyoza (our go to market snack), drank Thai wine, and generally settled in. Over the last few days we have walked to see the White Buddha (beautiful, but don’t go at midday like we did. The 550+ steps are no joke), watched the sun set over Pai canyon (incredible, moving, dangerous – slippy ground and no barriers – keep your balance!), rented a scooter with a sidecar (the safer, slower and cooler alternative to the scooter), swam in two beautiful waterfalls, and gasped at the natural phenomena the Land Split. On our ride into town to book our bus out tomorrow I turned to Daniel and said, ‘I don’t want to leave.’
It’s strange how you can misjudge a town on first sight. I’ve found Pai to be a beautiful and quiet place with incredible vegetarian food, friendly people, and stunning views. And perhaps, it’s also been a very small slice of home. For whatever reason, I hope I’ll be seeing Pai again. If you’re on the fence about whether to visit, you should go for at least a couple of days. Don’t be under the impression that this is a sleepy ‘off the beaten track’ town, as you’ll be smack bang in the middle of the beaten track. You’ve got nothing to lose, and only a few pounds to gain eating falafel and gyoza at the market.