Pai is a tiny little town nestled in the Northern Thai mountains. Known for it's cool, hippy vibe, Pai is now becoming a 'must-do' when travelling around Thailand.
Alicia and I arrived in Pai on Monday morning, having traveled the 4 hours and the famous 762 curves from Chiang Mai to Pai.
Whilst Monday was spent just looking around the town, Alicia's 19th birthday was Tuesday so I booked a special private tour via Expert Travel in town, around the whole of Pai. We first visited the White Buddha (a huuuge Buddha statue at the top of a hill, which can be seen from practically anywhere in Pai), Pai Treehouse Resort (such a beautiful resort where Alicia and I found most fun in the oversized hanging chair), Pai Hot Springs, WW2 Memorial Bridge, Love Strawberry Pai and Coffee in Love. The latter two were nothing special, more gimmicky than anything, but if you're into buying an overpriced coffee at a famous local landmark, than these are for you! After stopping for lunch at a traditional Thai restaurant, with a spectacular view over the mountains, we visited Pai Canyon (an incredible view point well worth visiting!), Wat Mae Yen Temple, the Chinese Village (think Pai's version of China Town), and last but not least, the waterfalls.
Overall it was a great day and was an absolute luxury having a personal driver for the day, who let us spend it at our own pace, spending as long or as little as we wanted at each landmark.
This type of thing is very common in Pai and I'm sure if I had bargained, or had gone elsewhere, I could have found a cheaper deal than the 16,000 baht I paid. Nevertheless we had a lovely day, and most importantly, Alicia had a happy, memorable birthday.
(I think it's also worth mentioning that several people brave it and rent out motorbikes to do what we did - which would mean saving a lot of money - however I suggest only doing that if you can see the day ending without broken limbs and a broken bike to match (not forgetting an expensive repairs bill!)).
In terms of food - which we've already established from my previous posts that this plays a big part in our travels - Pai is abundant in yummy eateries. For breakfast my favourite was The Good Life, where my go-to was the porridge with soy milk, fruit, nuts and raisins. Next door is The Witching Well, where I always ordered their delicious fruit shakes and vegan-friendly pasta dishes.
Pai's 'Walking Street' (which every town in Thailand seems to have?) filled up at night with dozens of stalls catering to all taste buds. During my time in Pai I tried barbequed veg, fresh spring rolls, vegan samosas, the yummiest cacao and sesame seed smoothie, corn on the cob, and even a sweet potato skewer - all of which were delicious.
As well as the plethora of food available at night, several clothing stores open their doors, my favourite of which was Rang Mantra. Rang Mantra truly is a bohemian haven. Selling everything from ponchos, handmade by the nearby tribes, to intricately designed embroidered bags, some of which are sent over from India. Everything in store is a one-off and looks like it would sell back home for quadruple what it was in store. I treated myself to an oversized pink embroidered dress and a dainty little beaded bracelet. The owner was lovely and gave me her Etsy which you can find here if you're interested.
Now, on a bit of a downer, Thursday morning, when we intended on heading back to Chiang Mai to get an early morning flight down south the following day; Alicia came down with a terrible bout of food poisoning, which, long story short, saw her spending 4 nights in Pai hospital. With a lack of English-speaking staff, toilets that smelt of green curry, and not having family by her side at a time when she'd want them most, I can say on behalf of Alicia that this definitely was not part of the trip she wants to remember.
Anyway, we got back on track on Tuesday, when we traveled down to Krabi. Unfortunately we missed out on visiting Khao Sok National Park, but what happens, happens, and all that matters is that we are both happy, healthy and safe right now.
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