Thursday, 7 May 2015

Pai; I have found love in Thailand

It is quite unusual to find any negative comments about Pai in the web, I have never actually seen them. That fact deserves that if anything, you spend some seconds marvelling about what it is about a place like that, which has not gain any detractors through the years and quite just the opposite, has made people from all over the world fall in love with it.
I kept ignoring Pai for years even though I was close enough in Chiang Mai in my previous occasions here (lack of time, tight budget, the twisty road…).

 This time I knew that no matter what, I would not leave Thailand without visiting a place that accumulates such comments. Not only I am a sucker for nature landscapes but I had been under intense stress the last few days in Chiang Mai dealing with my Chinese visa (that I currently don’t have) and Pai appeared just like the ideal place to unwind if all the comments were to be believed.

Decision made and tight with time as my visa last day was dangerously approaching, I purchased a transfer to Pai through my GH in Chiang Mai (Julie GH at 180THB)

Please note that there are no big buses running to Pai, uniquely minivans so don’t waste your time getting to the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station, your best bet is to purchase a transfer directly from your accommodation and do not pay more than what I did (actually, same transfer backwards to Chiang Mai from Pai costs  an standard 150THB)

Now the bad news; the road is not bad, it is very very bad!!!! The facts; it has 762 turns and believe me, your minivan will be turning non-stop for more than three hours (80 km)
I was sick as a dog and a fellow Japanese traveller started vomiting as soon as she got out of the car.

Take my advice and purchase for both ways seasickness pills. I did not do it for the way to Pai but I certainly did to go back. If you think you will feel sick, you will because the trip is long, a never ending one when you feel like I did.

Please do not let this to put you off visiting it. Is it worth it the struggle to get there? YES and YES!!

Do not worry about not pre booking accommodation for Pai, there are Guest Houses, bungalows, huts and even resorts everywhere! And when I say everywhere, I mean in town, outside town, near the river, far from the river, behind town, far from town, in the back streets, in the middle of nowhere. You name it.

 I hope my point is clear, there are lots of places to stay thanks to the tourism boom from recent years and the fact that two Thai movies were filmed in here. This little town has become a holiday destination both nationally and internationally and accommodation, bars and restaurants have multiplied due to the high demand.

Pai is not expensive at all and there is a vast range of prices for all sort of pockets, but take my example;

The first place I found was a bungalow near the river, super basic at 150THB. Nice enough but terribly basic with the toilet in the middle of the jungle.

 The next day not being able to sleep at all the night before due to the music that I could hear from the bars, I walked to one of the main streets and found this room at 200THB.

I spent in Pai a total of 4 nights but I could have stay forever. I felt happy, carefree and I loved being surrounded by a peaceful green pleasant environment.

I found Pai as a village quite normal and yet incredibly attractive. A big part of it is full of creative graffiti everywhere and charming shops to delight anyone’s eyes. I saw good taste everywhere, some of this places were picture perfect. For a picture lover like me, Pai and its surroundings offered me several moments of satisfaction as there was so much beauty to capture.

If I have to define Pai I would choose these words; creative, colourful, tasteful, peaceful and sleepy.
Everywhere in Pai you will find motorbikes and bicycles to rent. Very cheap.

I rented a motorbike for two days at 100THB per day (they kept my passport and a 100THB deposit) and they also let you the helmet (please do wear it! I was stupid enough not to consistently and I was stopped by the police and fined 200THB)

I am a bicycle sort of person but here in Pai you must rent a motorbike as the most beautiful thing is to ride for hours to end your bike around wonderful green landscapes that will take you to waterfalls and other natural beauties.

 I experienced one of my happiest hours in life filled with pleasure by just riding my motorbike alone through the valleys while enjoying the views.
If you ever wondered what is freedom? Freedom is to be able to feel the wind in your face, to pass colourful trees through long roads where you are the only person in them, to stop anywhere and everywhere just because.

 Pai has many beautiful sights very easily reachable with a bike;

The hot springs (note that the price has now increased to 300THB that I paid and I strongly regretted later) Nice enough but not nice that is worth that money.
Mae Yen Waterfall
Elephant Camps (big no-no for me for the obvious reasons)
The Canyon
WW2 Japanese Bridge
Pembok Waterfall
The Chinese Village

The View Point

The Pai Canyon

The Mhor Phaeng Waterfall
Lod Cave

And the picture perfect “I love Coffe Pai” and the “Strawberry Farm” but there are many more and more!!

 Other than search specifically for these or others, you should forget about the sights (which you will find anyway as soon as you step outside town) and just drive. The roads are gifts to your eyes…..

If Pai wasn’t charming enough on its own, as soon as the sun starts hiding, the night market comes alive in the main street; several food stalls with delicious meals at extremely cheap prices, clothes, crafts, jewellery….
Everyone concentrates on this street in the evening and who can blame them? It is colourful, entertaining, pleasant, vibrating… Locals are friendly and smiley and life just feels wonderful in here J

What is it about this place that everyone looks happy and relax?
Pai…I think I have found love in Thailand J

No comments:

Post a Comment