Things to do (and not do) in Pai, Thailand
February 13, 2015|Posted in: Thailand
I had such high hopes for Pai. Everyone we had talked to loved it. It was meant to be like this little backpacker/hippy haven set in a lush mountainous range 3 hours north of Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly to plan. I fell down some steps and scraped my arm up (even though I had spent all day on a bloody scooter!) and managed to get food poisoning on the 2nd night. But I managed to gain a few tips before this struck to help you explore (and survive) Pai:
- If you want to rent a scooter, make sure you take out insurance (40 Baht per day) with the company. Seriously, so many accidents happen, and this is totally worth it. There’s only one place on the main strip (near the bus station) that does offer it, called AYA Service. Get there early, and make sure you get a ticket, otherwise you’ll be waiting a looong time.
- If you want to rent a scooter, but are a lone female and you tell them you’ve never ridden before, be prepared to be laughed at and turned away. Seriously, it happened to me. And nearly to my friend. Just make sure you have a back-up plan if you can’t get one
- Visit the temple on the hill and/or Pai Canyon at Sunset. Some fantastic views from both of these locations. Just remember to take a jacket in the Thai winter times, as the temperature drops pretty quick!
- Actually, that can be a point on its own. Take warm clothes in the Thai winter which is from round November to February. Seriously, I wore 2 long sleeve tops, a hoody, long pants, socks and 3 blankets and I was STILL freezing cold. I know I feel the cold more than others, but still, beware!
- Do eat the street food. There are some amazing things being cooked up along the market street, from pancakes to smoothies but please avoid food that has been sat around and not thoroughly heated up. Seriously, I’m talking about you Lasagne stand. I got some epic food poisoning, which pretty much ruined the next 4 days for me.
- Check out the cute little bars dotted around the place. There’s an awesome secret garden bar, a tiny open mic bar big enough to seat 4 people, and much more!
- Debate on getting a traditional bamboo tattoo. I’ve wanted another tattoo for a few years now, and decided ‘why not’ in Pai. I got mine done at a place called CROSS Tattoo Studio. The guys in there are super friendly, super professional and hilarious.
- Check out what atmosphere your hostel has before booking. Most are seen as ‘party’ hostels, with one having as much as 26 beds to one dorm! So if partying it up every night isn’t your thing, then just do some research beforehand. Some are also basically campsites, with no walls, so you’re open to everything from noise to the weather.
I think I would have loved to have explored more of Pai than I got to, especially the Tham Lod caves and a few more of the waterfalls, as well as the Hot Springs. I didn’t even get a chance to partake in the nightlife, but I’m sure I’ll head back soon.
Have you been to Pai? What did you think, and do you have any recommendations for things to see and do?
Amy is the founder of thewanderlustadventures.com. Currently residing in Reading, UK with a love of adventure travel, writing and photography - she pretty much writes about whatever the hell she wants!