11 November 2012

Pai: Was It a Paradise?


Now many people know the charming small town Pai (Thailand 🇹🇭). It became extremely trending — among Thais, in particular — just a few years ago. That happened in the wake of the popularity of Thai's romantic movie “Pai in Love”. The title of the movie describes the mood prevailing in the town quite well. Its relaxed atmosphere attracted hippies from all over the world even before it became a mainstream destination.


Pai lies in a vast valley surrounded by beautiful mountains.

The most typical way of getting to Pai is to ride on a minibus leaving from Chiang Mai. The tickets can be booked practically everywhere, including at receptions of hotels and guest houses. In that case, a songthaew (kind of shared taxi or a bus) picks passengers at the accommodation and takes them to the minibus. The tickets are also sold at the Arcade Bus Station. It doesn't matter where one buys a ticket; everyone ends up in similar minibuses at a price of around 150 baht ($5).

Such a journey takes three hours, with a 15-minutes break halfway. The major part of the road is spent coping with being thrown around by the epic 762 sharp turns. The measures to survive (not kidding) motion sickness are listed below.

Alternatively, there is a small plane flying between Pai and Chiang Mai several times a week. It costs around 1,500 baht ($50) per person. We were thinking about trying this option, but something didn’t work out. Although, a twenty-minute flight is a good alternative to the exhausting three hours of riding.



We lived in Pai for a month and a half in a rented wooden cabin. It was located right in the center of the town, but in a concealed and quiet place. The cabin stood in the middle of a large, fragrant, well-kept garden. The terrace afforded gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. Living there, we realized that nothing in this world could compare to the opportunity of waking up to the singing of birds and being surrounded by the natural beauty during the day.


In Pai, we tasted banana sticky rice dessert (khao tom mat) for the first time. It is made of rice, banana (or green beans which we liked less), and coconut milk; all wrapped in banana leaves. This national Thai dish reminded me of a sweet porridge my grandmother used to cook.



In addition to enjoying the coziness of the town itself, one can visit the local attractions: temples, elephants, hot springs, waterfalls, and a canyon.




For reaching all the attractions, one can easily rent a bicycle, bike or car, including with a driver.




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