Pai is a well-trodden Northern Thailand backpacker destination, historically known for guitar-clad, wheatgrass-drinking life escapism. It’s still there, but now you will also find the grey American tourist market and the gap year kids bar crawling their way round the world. About five years ago the generators were abandoned as Pai was hooked up to the grid. With the reliable electricity came an explosion of guest houses, increasing from around 70 to 350(ish). It’s managed to (just) hold its own and is still a fantastic retreat from the manic-paced and overcrowded Thai South.
Pai sits high near the Myanmar border and is reached usually by a three hour (and 762 bends) minivan ride from Chiang Mai. It’s a queasy ride and sometimes fatal. On our way up it started to rain and we saw three accidents within half an hour. Going off road here will mean a 1000ft+ drop. One car was left hanging in a tree just metres off the road, we hope the occupants made it out ok – we couldn’t see as the army had just turned up to help out.
There is not a lot to do in Pai apart from a few waterfalls and the ubiquitous elephant treks. We hire a motorbike again and go sightseeing on our own. The rest of our few days we spend drinking the best chai and not a lot else ( except for some piranha fishing and a massage).
From Pai we say goodbye to Thailand and prepare for a 12 hours minibus journey into Lao. We’re looking forward to some new sights and smells.
Here are a few pictures from our time in Pai.