I never had Pai on my original itinerary. After learning it was a small hippy town where renting scooters was a must, I soon turned my attention to other places to visit. However, after hearing multiple accounts including Pai is chilled, Pai is the best place on Earth, you’ll never want to leave Pai, not to mention the fact that everybody I met seemed to be going, I decided to give this hippy paradise a chance.
But arriving at night wasn’t the best idea.
After a three and a bit hour journey from Chiang Mai that includes no less than 762 windy turns, our next task was to find somewhere to stay the night. We were recommended by some randomer in a Chang beer vest a place called Giant House, a series of huts by the river. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure these bamboo huts were lovely places to hang out during the day, but the questionnable mosquito nets and insect-infested toilets didn’t exactly sell the place. Coupled with my friend talking about flying home for Christmas, this became the first night I’d felt homesick and slightly tired of the whole travelling malarky (after two weeks, I know right?)
However the next day, Pai pleasantly surprised me. Even the insect-infested toilets held a touch of glamour in the sunshine. We soon moved to a place called Riverside (let’s go!) which included not only proper beds and an en-suite but as said in the name, a grassy spot by the river. Such a step up from the previous night that we decided to stay three, though I may have swallowed a couple of ants in the process.
So aside from bamboo hut accommodation, what is the life of Pai really like? Pretty much as I expected. Pai’s chilled café culture coupled with the roar of multiple scooters caters for both those who want to relax (like me) and those who want to explore the gorgeous green hills you would never expect of Thailand (also like me).
However, I’m much better at the first option.
After deciding to rent a scooter, given that it’s “the thing to do in Pai”, I was taken for a test drive with my Thai instructor. Two minutes later, I found myself staring at my bike that I’d somehow accelerated and crashed into a farmer’s wired fence, myself surprisingly unharmed. I’m so glad I took out insurance for 40 baht :p
So not a good start.
But fear not, I decided I’d give it another go and already felt my technique was improving, until I hit a muddy patch and ended up on the floor, luckily not under the bike. Feeling too much of a dangerous driver, I instead spent the day on the back of my friend Lauren’s scooter, who after only three days of riding already seems a complete natural.
So what did I see?
And what did I get up to?
FYI I did brave the scooter again. And I rocked.