Pai, Thailand: a mainstream tourist spot losing its hippie cred
It cost us 70B/$2.30 by local bus to get from Mae Hong Son to Pai and the bus was pretty much empty.
Pai is a crazy little town in northern Thailand. It was once a haven for drug users (might still be). It’s proximity to hot springs, waterfalls, and other natural beauties, makes it a great place for a relaxing visit.
Arriving in Pai, it is clear to see that it is desperately hanging on to its old hippie vibe while also trying to appeal to the mass of western tourists that descend on it everyday. Travellers wander around embodying the “bird shit farang” nickname they deserve. Aside from the gross hippies though, Pai is a nice relaxing town to stay in.
The best part was, by far, Darling View Point Resort run by Darling and Peter. When Darling realized we were Canadian (Canadians hold a special place in her heart due to the help she received from a Canadian during the terrible floods of 2005 when she completely lost her business and almost her life) she gave us our pick of the bungalows. We chose the Quebec Bungalow which had its own private deck and hammock with a beautiful view over Pai.
We rented a scooter for 100B/$3.25 for the day: the best way to see the area. We visited the lookout point, the Chinese village with a human-powered ferris wheel, waterfalls, Pai Canyon and some wats.
We had only intended to stay in Pai for one day but we ended up staying for three.
If you know what your schedule is like flying in Southeast Asia is extremely cheap. We got a flight with Orient Thai Airlines – a good value low-cost carrier who offer 20kg of free baggage and a free snack!