Beautiful Chiang Pai
While dodging the constant traffic flow on the streets of Chiang Mai and avoiding eye contact with the million of tuk tuk drivers, Scott and I both began to really wish we had never left the south of Thailand. We were really missing the slow laid back beach lifestyle and Chiang Mai was just not delivering that for us. I could feel why people love the particular city as it does have a slower vibe compared to Bangkok, but still we found the city was filled with all those common elements that end up forcing backpackers to head to quiet locations. Locations with less people always jumping on you for things you don’t want/need. “Where you go?!?” “What you need?!?” God, just leave me alone already…
This is when I decided we should cut our time short in Chiang Mai and head further North to Chiang Pai. Another destination that came to us as a recommendation from our good friend Ty. He stated it was a beautiful chilled out hippy retreat with absolutely no constant berates from tuk tuks, lady boys, knock off vendors, etc. Knowing us, he knew we would love it.
Well, again Ty was right. We loved Pai so much we ended up staying for 2.5 weeks! We even bought a sticker to stick on our laptop that will show the world our love for this place. It really is a unique gem in Thailand! So, here are our some of the reasons we love Pai:
View from our bungalow
Darling View Point
Cheap bungalow, comfy king size bed, amazing sunset views, front porch with hammocks to relax in, working free wifi, ensuite hot water bathroom, and only a short 10 min walk to the main area of Pai. Bonus: The owners Peter and Annie are such great hosts it’s impossible to leave this place without becoming friends with them.
Random street art dude
Everyone has a smile on their face in Pai. Both tourist and locals. The tourists never want to leave and the locals love their home very much, many of whom were once tourists themselves. The streets are also filled with lots of love. Not a day will go by without seeing a handful of Thai couples swooning over each other as Pai has become a very popular romantic vacation spot due to a love story being filmed here. Also, we can’t forget about the people who bring the unique nature to Pai. The ones who walk around dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow every single night, or a mexican wrestler, or whatever random character you can think of, or the ones who put on a weekly interactive street art display or just decide to play some music anywhere they please.
Chiang Pai at night
Every night the main streets of Pai shut down and is filled with a night market. All the shops that were closed during the heat of the day open up, vendors arrive with their carts, street food fills the streets with a great aroma of yummy smells, others arrive with just a blanket covered with their goods, and people from the hill-tribes come down to sell their handicrafts. Much like the Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market, everything for sale is unique and handmade and not a single person is pushy for you to make a purchase. Shop in peace!
Amazing ribs at the Mexican Cantina
Being a small town full of hippies who may find themselves with a strong case of the munchies, Pai has a restaurant or a street food vendor to satisfy any craving. I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find what you were looking for. We had amazing thai food, a variety of breakfasts, hamburgers, italian, BBQ ribs, Japanese, western, Vietnamese, gelato, and even a multitude of yummy baked goods including pumpkin cheese cake!
Unique music venues that are hard to pass by
Every night there is a variety of music selections to fullfill your needs. From live bands to dj’s and everything in between. The venues are all very small and intimate making it quite hard to pass by without stopping for a drink. During the day if you don’t feel like relaxing in a hammock you can head to the public pool that plays some chill music and serves drinks, or rent a motorbike and explore the sights all around Pai. Stayed tuned for our next post all about this!
French fries served in banana leaf!
Continually we found little things that help the environment in Pai by reducing waste. Mainly from the street food vendors. Nothing was served in horrible styrofoam, instead tea was served in refillable bamboo stalk cups and food was served in banana leaf “containers”. Driving around the countryside we barely ever saw the ditches filled with garbage and the locals loved to wear “Save the Planet” t-shirts. It really seemed like people actually cared about the environment they live in and as a result the tourists also paid attention and made sure garbage actually reached a garbage can.
Free Wifi in a hammock…. does it get any better?
Really this is the main reason Pai is so lovely. Days of nothing just easily melt away, before you know it a couple weeks have passed by and it’s time leave the country or renew your visa again! We slept in everyday, spent our afternoons in hammocks, watch the sunset, head to town for some food with maybe a stop to see some live tunes and have a couple drinks, maybe enjoy a tasty treat, then head back to watch some movies in bed before falling asleep.
Just another great sunset…
Pai is a place for anyone. It provides the perfect atmosphere to just sit back and let time pass, or if your feeling adventurous it is also a great base for many hill treks. So, if your in the north of Thailand and feeling the need to get to a beach, give Pai a try!