Pai in North Thailand – with only 2300 habitats – is now one of the most visited backpacking places in Thailand. I don’t know how it was there before so many tourists came but what I was about to find there was everything else than a small village in the mountains. The whole city is built to fit the needs and demands of modern tourists. There are probably more Hotels and Hostels then traditional houses and one Burger place next to the other.
The surrounding area
The village is still charming, and it is the nature surrounding what makes it so lovely. All around Pai nature takes over, and it’s beautiful. The road from Chiang Mai to Pai has 762 curves and is very beautiful with a lot of great views and forest. I regret not driving the way up with a motorbike, but in the end, it rained on the way back – that would have been a death road for me in that case.
Around Pai are some Strawberry fields which you can visit, and several hot springs are located around. I attended the one in the National Park. Here you can even cook your eggs, and a little bit more down you can take a bath in water with a temperature ranging from 33 to 38 degrees Celsius. The entrance fee is 300 Baht, and six eggs cost 50 Baht. On the day I was there I rented a motorbike for 200 Baht and drove the road back to Chiang Mai for a little while. Here you can enjoy amazing curves and excellent views, nice for everyone who loves to drive a motorbike.
As I said, the town is still lovely. But I don’t know for how long this will last. So many Hostels, Hostels, cafés, and restaurants have opened here in the last years or months. Most of the restaurants, however, are not Thai restaurants but western restaurants. Burger shops, Pizza places, and modern bars or live music bars are sides to side around the whole village. In between them, some modern Hotels can be found, and the street food vendors sell Falafel, pizza and other western food and that completely overpriced. The walking street is filled only with tourists, and I can’t see any typical Thai feeling anymore. I mean it is still kind of quiet and cozy, actually an excellent place to chill but from the little beautiful Thai village is nothing has been left over. I heard from some people that the party should be right there and that you can find drugs easily, that may also explain why so many hippies are around. I heard so many times that a lot of people fall in love with Pai and stay there – I honestly couldn’t feel that vibe, that might be because I don’t drink alcohol or take drugs, or I just like big cities a lot more, but for me, two days were enough.
Pai is worth a visit if it is only for nature and the hot springs around, but you should hurry up. I don’t want to know how it looks there in the next 3 to 5 years, but I assume it’s getting even more touristic and prices will rise too.
- Total countries I visited until now: 32
- Planes: 5
- Busses: 33
- Trains: 14
- Boats: 13
- Km running: 1154