My journey to Pai started on the wrong foot. But I just used my other foot insead. This was definitely my favorite place in the whole wide Adrianaworld.
As I left my guesthouse – they just don’t use the word hostel around here – I was picked up by a minivan and shortly after we changed to a bigger van. I just don’t know what happened. I lost my iPhone. I tend to say stolen, because I haven’t left him behind. I even checked with the guesthouse to be sure. In the commotion of changing vans and strugling with packpacks, my iPhone disappeared from my bag. I don’t know how and I haven’t seen it happening. But I do know why it happened.
To keep me from all distraction and to be fully present in the here and now. I enjoyed Pai on a totally different level. I was meeting people and really connecting with them. I was looking around more. I didn’t have any device to capture all of this, so I’m sorry it will be kept a secret. I do have a few pictures that were taken by my new friend Le La.
I always try to be very mindfull of how I use my mobile. But now I realised that I was still using it too much. I would have been on Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet all the time too look up ‘hidden gems’ and places of interest that I reaaaaaly didn’t wan’t to miss out on. How hidden can a hiddem gem be if you find it online, huh?
I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t feel too bad of losing the phone. I had the feeling it just had to be that way. I don’t feel any connection whatsoever towards that device. [All my reading about Buddhism and detatchment seem to be having an influence on me. I like.]
So, arriving in Pai and already had become friends with a German woman and her cute daughter, Stephanie and Gerda, we all went looking for a place to rent motorbikes. We found one, with pretty new bikes – just thinking in terms of safety – but Stephanie seemed to have an issue. She forgot their passports in Bangkok and these places ask you your passport as a deposit for the bike.
What I did next was maybe not the smartest thing, but I just wanted to help a fellow human being without thinking of any problems I possibly could cause myself. I let her rent a motorbike with my passport as a deposit. As if we were friends and taking out a bike together. But at that time, I did not know her name, no phone number or e-mailadress and I didn’t even knee where she would stay in Pai. So if anything happened to her bike, I was in trouble. It made me a little nervous from time to time, but I learned to let go and just have trust. And my worrying was not needed. Stephanie was a responsible woman, one to whom I look to actually, and everthing just worked out fine.
She travels around with her daughter and going to these amazing places, doing amazing things and meeting amazing people. Likeminded people just meet at a certain point in time I come to realize. They are German but live temporarily in Bali. I also loved her daughter. She was such a smart little girl! I hope one day I can have such an understanding and relationship with my daughter and travel around the world! You inspire me Stephanie! That needs to be said.
Almost on every corner there are people renting motorbikes. The biggest and most famous one is AYA, a few meters further up the street from the bus station in the walking street. My friend had rented her bike there and I must say that they are very careless about the condition kf the bikes. I felt safer on my newer and clearly better maintained bike.
AYA is very easy when it comes to deposits. You can easily hand in your drivers license – I wouldn’t do this tough since police can give you a ticket when you don’t have it on you – or a library card. They don’t require the strict passport deposit. They are pretty cheap as well. Including insurance you oay 140 baht per day for the lightest model of bike. I paid 150 baht per day (a difference of 0,20€), but did not have an insurance…
Wherever you go just make sure you don’t pay more than 150 baht. Prices might fluctuate according to season. Low season was just starting when I was there (end of February).
So, Pai, hippietown,huh?
Yes I confirm.
But in every one of us – come, see and love Pai – is a litte hippie waiting to come out when circumstances allow it. And to be honest…if you look at this picture I found on the internet. The entire world should behave hippie, then we would save the world!
Every night there is a market in Pai. Besides the typical souvenirs, you can find a wide variety of streetfood. From locsl thai dishes to sushi, indian and even waffles!
One place that was recommened to me by my friend Liesbet, on which she emohasized not to miss it, is Na’s Kitchen. They should have the best Massaman curry in the world! I tried my favorite one, the green curry and I can confirm. It was the best I have ever eaten! If you go, keep in mind there will be a waiting line outside. We waited for approximately 20mins before we got seated. Don’t be demotivated, it goes pretty fast. It is really worth the waiting, I promise!
Another evening we ended up at a very cosy restaurant/bar: Edible Jazz.
As the names sais it, there’s live jazz music, just what I like. We didn’t have diner there but the dishes on the menu looked delicious! It is slightly higher price range because they also serve western food.
One of the popular activities in Pai is the hotsprings. There are two: a popular one and a secret one. The first costs 300 bhat entry fee, but has a spa and is located in the south of Pai; the latter one costs 40 baht and is in the north. It’s just like a small pond and we saw some locals and only a few other lucky travelers who were told about this place. It was funny to see how locals come to bathe in thr springs. They wash their hair and body and even brush their theet!
Landsplit & waterfall
The second main attraction is the landsplit, south-west of Pai. It started in 2008 and grew bigger and bigger since. A local man named Long offers visitors local treats in exchange of a donation. He offered us passion fruit, tamarind, roselle jam, papaya, sweet potato, peanuts, mini bananas and bananachips. There is no entrance fee for the landsplit itself.
I do suggest you try these fruits and other local products, it’s very delicious and they grow just next to his vending stall. we were lucky to see two ladies making bananachips while we were there.
If you drive 3kms further from the landsplit, you can reach a small waterfall. You’ll see a sign on the right side of the road and there is a parking spot for your bike. Start walking along the path, you also have to cross a shady bridge over the small river and if you go just a little further you can get a glimps of the waterfall. It is small and you can only see it from afar, so I didn’t think it was an added value to the journey, so I wouldn’t go there if it wasn’t for the landsplit.
Coffee & co
My favorite place in Pai is by far this tea/coffee house: Art in Chai.
Besides tea, they offer good coffee, delicious vegan food and cakes and art!
I think me and Le La went there almost every day! They have this one big table where you can sit amongst other people and you just sit on the floor on cushions.
Oh and I forgot to mention that they have books too! Kind of a little library where yoi can lend books by day.
On the last evening we attended an artsy event with live music, a bonfire, a fireshow and of course local art and crafts. I love those type of happenings. People coming together, talking, sharing whatever they have to share. You can feel there was nothing but love and good intention there that evening. Except the American man who was so ignorant and disrespectful about the local religion.
I don’t understand how people can go to a certain country and disrespect local beliefs and traditions. And after causing offended reactions from locals it is those people who talk bad about a country to others. Unbelievable! He made me a little mad, but I kept respectful because even tough he’s an ignorant man, I don’t want to act in the same way. I hope he will learn and change his thinking.
– Lemon Thyme Cafe: It’s a tiny place, playing French chansons and serving very tasty sandwiches. We did not try anything else on the menu but I’m pretty sure it’s all eaually delicious!
– Earth Tone: Cafe and Health shop
You can get vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food here. It’s also one of the few places where you can find tempe (similar as tofu but so much better! It’s a fermented version of soyabeans).
– Fat Cat: restaurant very close to Earth Tone. I haven’t been here but the place looked very nice! If I would have had more time in Pai I would have definitely give it a try.
– Spicypai Backpackers Hostel: it’s the only hostel I have seen where you can sleep in wooden huts. It gives it a more adventurous touch, but also a few more discomforts than a nornal hostel. The main one was the cold and noise, since there were holes in the entire structure. But it was nice to stay for a change in a different type of place. All other guests were young people looking for a party.
This hostel has a bar and restaurant next door. I would suggest you don’t book the 26-bed dorm or you’ll be sleeping next to this bar and will get a no-sleep guarantee.
Next: Bangkok, the city of Angels