Pai is a small town in northern Thailand. It took us three hours by minibus ($6 per ticket) to get here from Chiang Mai. We had heard many people talk about Pai as a chill and laid back place to hang out, and they were so right. Many people described it as a much smaller version of Chiang Mai.
Pai Cherkaew, the little boutique hotel where we stayed. Our room is the top left overlooking the quaint little street.
Trent said it reminds him of what Boulder, Colorado must have been like in the 80s. Maybe even the 70s. You’ve got to go way back to find some of the hippy dippy styles that are commonplace here. I feel a little out of place without dreads and yellow tinted sunglasses.
Random street sign. There was live music everywhere in the evenings.
Pai is cool. There seem to be as many ex-pats as there are locals, and everybody is either just chilling or looking forward to a party. The population is around four or five thousand. The whole town is walkable, and the motor bikes just go around the tourists and backpackers wandering through the streets.
Ganesh Cafe and Bar where we ate dinner for about $1.50 each. That’s the owner. One of two rivers running through Pai
The vibe is earthy. The hard core hippies are walking around the streets barefoot. The food is cheap and coffee is plentiful, along with sugar free, gluten free vegan brownies. But seriously we had the best cheesecake here at the Witching Well where we listened to Jackson Five while we ate. What’s not to love?
The Rabbit Cafe, where you could sit and eat or drink your coffee with these adorable bunnies.
We spent our one full day in Pai wandering the streets and walking a few miles to the nearby Wat on the Hill.
You can see the White Buddha on the hill in the distance. That’s where we went. The primary wat burned out recently, but the Buddhas survived the fire. Big White Buddha, under construction, and soon to be painted gold apparently. I forgot my shoulder covering so I wasn’t able to go up to the top but Trent did. Nice views of Pai even from halfway up by the Wat.
Unfortunately, we are only here for two nights before we hop on another minibus to head further north to Thailand’s northernmost big city, Chiang Rai. Of course, there is a giant mountain range in the way, so we have to backtrack to Chiang Mai, change busses and then go four more hours direct to Chiang Rai. If I had it to do again, we would stay in Pai another night. Who knows. Maybe we will come back in April.