Let me first start by saying please excuse the major delay between my last blog post and now. Blogging from an iPad whilst on-the-go is proving to be more a little more difficult than I had hoped! Next time I think i'll take my laptop so I can back up my photos and blog more frequently.
So, I am writing this 6 weeks into my trip, referring back to my travel journal to jog my memory (I only ended up writing in it for about a week, then gave up because I was too busy having fun!) and wanted to share with you one of my favourite places i've been... Pai! Lovely lovely Pai. I fell completely in love with this picturesque sleepy hippie town set in the middle of the mountains in northern Thailand. So many people told me I must go here and i'm so glad I did! It takes about 3 and a half hours by minibus from Chiang Mai. If you get car sick definitely take some tablets before you leave - the drive is pretty crazy. Something like 650 turns round windy mountain roads - a few people threw up on the way there and back.
For such a tiny town, there is so much to do in Pai. I had initially booked 2 nights here but ended up staying for 6 days as I was so obsessed with exploring the town. I met up with my lovely friend from home Sheree (who I met through blogging 4/5 years ago) who has recently started an AMAZING travel blog - The Fashionable Backpacker - she blogs way more regularly than me, it's a must read for any budding travellers! After almost 20 hours of travelling to reach Pai, I was so happy to see a familiar face I burst into tears.. such an emotional little Lulu.
During my time in Pai, I tried out a scooter for the first time (something I had been warned not to do by many travellers pre-trip) but my gosh, it turned out to be one of the best decisions i've ever made! I have never felt as free as I have exploring Thailand by motorbike. I've not had one scuffle my whole trip so I can assure you that as long as you don't drive too fast, just stick to basic road rules and be very aware of your surroundings always, you'll be FINE. Don't let other people's silly mistakes put you off renting a bike, it's absolutely the best way to get out and explore. And in Pai, it cost just 100baht (£2) per day to hire, and 50baht (£1) for a full tank of petrol, which lasted days!
Where to stay?
I booked into Pai Circus School hostel without researching it, as Sheree and her friend Sinead were staying there, and it was absolutely incredible! I was really thrown into the deep end in terms of living outside my comfort zone - I was living in a wooden hut with communal toilets/showers, which cost just 320baht/£6.40 per night (I actually had a double hut which should have cost 450baht/£9 but the receptionist didn't realise hehe). You can also stay in a dorm here for 200baht/£4 per night if you're on a budget, but if there's two of you its worth getting your own hut. The bathrooms are pretty grim, and often made me feel dirtier after a shower since there were ants everywhere, but bareable. If you have a phobia of public toilet seats like me, you'll just have to squat and bare it - you'll soon get used to peeing and pooing in gross places.
You'll really embrace your inner hippie at this hostel - in the day you can take part in circus activities, free yoga classes, and by night they throw parties, family meals and open mic nights. It was the busiest place I stayed at during my time in Thailand, new people were constantly arriving, which means you'll meet tonnes of new friends!
|My little home for 5 nights|
|The weed hut (with complimentary dog to cuddle)|
|The buzzing (green) pool area|
|Looking like a floating ghost pre-tan|
Things to do in Pai
Pai is set in the middle of the nowhere, but it's almost impossible to get lost as there's just a few main roads which all lead to each other. By scooter you can easily reach all the local attractions within 20 minutes. Pai's walking street is absolutely lovely, we walked down most evenings and which takes about 10 minutes, or a couple of minutes by bike. Definitely go for a wander first because the walk down is absolutely beautiful - you'll cross the river over a questionably wobbly bamboo bridge to get into town.
|the bridge was way more interesting at night (drunk)|
This place absolutely baffled me... natural pools of 80-100 degree water just bubbling away in the middle of the woods. You can swim in the pools at the bottom of the hill which are still up to 38 degrees, but they were almost too hot to bare in the already 30 degree heat! I wouldn't say they were worth the 300baht/£6 entry fee, but it was really interesting to see. Locals even go there to boil eggs - crazy!
The steps up to this are a bit of a killer but i'm unfit and I moan a lot. So it's probably a simple hike for most people. The view of the sunset is amazing!
This was my favourite attraction in Pai - I love me a farm! There were hundreds of rabbits and teeny tiny baby bunnies, alpacas, fluffy goats and more, set in the most beautiful location around a lake. You can stay here too in cute colourful bungalows. You can buy food to feed all the animals and cuddle the bunnies!
This place was insane! I will admit I didn't venture all the way in, I didn't trust the skinny walk ways and 1000ft drop either side, but it was a great spot to watch the sunset.
|with my new Aussie friend Ben|
Get a tattoo!
You're probably thinking drunk tattoos are never a good idea, but I couldn't go to Thailand and not get a new tattoo. There are tonnes of legit, safe and clean tattoo studios in Pai, and they're really cheap! Bamboo tattoos are a thing in Thailand and the most common technique, which is done by hand using needles and pieces of bamboo. It doesn't hurt at all, and heals in 24 hours so is much safer if you're swimming etc. I decided on a strawberry, because, well I just love strawberries. And we went to a strawberry farm, and strawberry daiquiris are my favourite cocktail. So why not get a strawberry on my ankle?! I will admit the guy was drinking red wine before he tatted us, but it was his friends birthday so we'll let him off... It's a little scrappy round the edges but that's what gives it character. I'll always remember my special time in Pai when I look at it!
There's much more to do in Pai, but some stuff is best to do in high season, not HOTHOTHOT season when the waterfalls and rivers are almost dried up. Apparently there's some good jungle hikes, and rafting activities down the road too.
Pai did not disappoint! A must visit.