If you’ve ever been to northern Thailand, chances are, you’ve heard of (or been to!) Pai. Pai is hippy heaven; kombucha/tea shops and fruit shake stalls are dotted in between tie dye stores, people walk around in Thai fisherman pants and wooden beaded accessories, everything about this little town is so down to earth and lovely.
Pai is a 3 hour bus ride away from Chiang Mai, along a winding road infamous for its 762 turns. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of half the people in the minibus vomiting from car-sickness. I took a Dramamine before boarding the bus and was totally fine.
It’s not just the actual place of Pai that makes it so… Pai. In this case, it’s the people who create the vibe that everyone who’s been here absolutely falls in love with.
Traveling solo here was no issue at all, for the second I walked into my hostel, I had met a giant group of amazing people who had adopted me into their little family.
Unfortunately, they all left the next day, but everywhere you turn, you’re bound to meet a friendly face. You get to know so many people and their life stories and everything, and sometimes you don’t even know their names. Everyone chats with everyone, creating a super special environment, probably the friendliest I’ve ever experienced.
I met the majority of my new friends at my hostel, SpicyPai. Spicy is one of the two most well known hostels, and it’s not hard to see why. The community is absolutely fabulous and the hostel itself is super interesting. You live in giant dorms (8 – 24 people per room), and the dorms are made of wood and leaves and are almost like giant tents. Everything is really open so you can really breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the rice paddies the hostel is surrounded by. And if you fancy a trip into town, it’s only a 20 minute walk. I personally didn’t like hanging out in my bed as much as I loved swinging on the hammocks they have amongst the grounds (currently blogging from one). It’s a really chill place that is probably the best place to relax in Pai.
Although I stayed at Spicy, I also visited Circus hostel, the other super duper well known place to stay. People at that hostel were hula hooping and playing the ukulele and jumping into the pool. The vibe is totally different, but also really wonderful. I also met people there!
I can’t say I really got up to much whilst in Pai, but I’m 10000% ok with that considering Pai is THE place to relax. I spent lots of time just meeting new people and enjoying the company of others, as well as at Fluid, the pool bar down the street from Spicy. I also did some yoga (because what else would you expect?), which was soooooo needed and relaxing.
I did, however, go to the canyon for sunset with two German guys and 2 Colorado gals, which was about a 20 minute motorbike ride and a little walk away. The views were worth the travel time there and I’m beyond happy I asked Lukas and Niko (German boys) if I could hop on the back of their scooter.
As new friends have come and go, I’ve seen the same thing. They’re all really excited to get out of Pai and explore somewhere new, but they’re all really sad to be leaving such a one-in-a-kind place. Most of them planned only to spend a bit of time here and ended up staying much much longer. I think I’ll have the same feeling when I leave tomorrow. I’m excited to get on with my travels, but incredibly upset to be leaving Pai. It’s a really special place and the experiences I’ve had here, as well as the people I’ve met, will stick with me for a very very long time.