Cheesy title I know, and I didn’t even see any pie in Pai. There were shroom shakes though. Yes, you read that right. No I did not partake.
I spent the week in Pai, a small town a bit north of Chiang Mai. Growing up when we went on family road trips on winding roads, my dad would exaggerate the curves to make us laugh and my mom freak out. The road to Pai makes those trip look like straight, boring roads. Not so good for the girl with a hangover sitting next to me on the bus.
Pai has a few cool things to see and do, but what makes it a really interesting destination is the people watching. Pai was a nothing special little town, then it became a hippie haven. Then the backpackers found out.
Close your eyes (well maybe finish reading the paragraph first). What picture comes to mind when I say these words: Thailand, young, white, backpacker, barefeet, dreadlocks, hippie. Got an image? That is what Pai looks like.
There are apparently more backpackers and tourists in Pai than locals. In an age of travelers wanting to seek out the road less traveled, this does not seem to deter people from coming.
Everyone and everything is really really chill. You come here to just hang out.
There are a few cool sites to see in and around Pai. Pai canyon is beautiful and has a view that goes on for days. Itty bitty paths with sheer drops take you around the perimeter.
There are some waterfalls and hot springs. The really unique spot to see is the landsplit. Apparently a farmer woke up to a giant crack in his land. Like a sink hole helped along by an earthquake or two. Since he couldn’t farm on that land anymore, he’s opened it up to tourists. And they come! He told me 100 people had been to see him the day I was there. For a small donation the owner lets you wander and stuff you full of snacks and juice from his farm. He’ also one of the friendliest people I have ever met.
The other big thing to do when you go to Pai is learn how to ride a motorbike. It is much easier to see Pai and its environs via motorbike. However, I am not a great rider of bikes without motors and I am no stranger to tripping over my own fee on flat road. So, while I had big plans to be adventurous during my time in Thailand, I chickened out. A friend is a solid motorbike-er so I hopped on the back and she drove. Maybe next time I will bring some knee and elbow pads and give it a shot.
I spent a week in Pai, which felt like enough time to see the sites and do some quality chilling and reading. Some people seem to get stuck in Pai and spend months. That might be too much chill for this New Yorker.