Pai, Thailand

Pai in northern Thailand is my favorite place on our trip so far. I could easily spend a month there just hanging out, hiking, and exploring the countryside by scooter.

Pai has a really great relaxed vibe. Its touristy, but not too touristy (for now).

Every night the Pai ‘walking street’, which is really 2 streets with a total 4 blocks of vendors, comes to life with the most amazing assortment of both Thai and international food, all not too overpriced. We stuck with Thai food, but the hamburgers, lasagna, and Indian food all looked really good.

The traveler scooter culture is really interesting in Pai. Seems like about 90% of the tourists end up renting a scooter, and about 90% of them have never ridden a scooter/motorbike before. Hence you see many people with a “Pai Tattoo” (AKA road rash). But no one seems to get seriously hurt, as everyone drives very slow, and there are not many cars. The police set up road blocks everywhere to make sure tourists have an international drivers license, and make you pay 500 Baht ($15 USD) on the spot if you don’t. You are more likely to get stopped if you are not wearing a helmet (also illegal, but not really enforced ). Be sure to get an international drivers license if you plan to rent a scooter in Pai or Chiang Mai. For the record, I rented a scooter for 2 days, wore a helmet in town, and did not have an international drivers license. I got lucky.

Our hostel (Suandoi Backpacker Resort) was fantastic. Really nice people ran the place, which was a 15 min walk to town. We were the only ones over 35, but had some great conversations with folks. There are quite a few 19 yr old Germans doing a ‘gap year’ in SE Asia, and are actually quite fun to talk with.

I did a 2 day ‘trek’ to stay with a hill tribe village. We walked 12km the 1st day, and 10km the second day through some really beautiful country side. The village had no electricity, but small solar panels on most houses provided a least a bit of light in the evening. The villagers were not really all that friendly, but did not seems to mind us there.

Here is a blog on Pai that I found useful, and some info (somewhat dated but still interesting) by a long time expat.

Selection of photos.

Posted by travel_b1p6zj

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