If you ever wondered where to find a magic place on this earth, Pai Thailand is the answer. I have never experienced such wonderful excitation over a town, a quiet peaceful village. The atmosphere of this most hidden place, surrounded by a jungle and mountain hills, is incredible at any time of the day, time simply stops in Pai..
There are probably no words to describe the magic atmosphere of this town, unless you visit yourself. It is a touristic place but it does not affect its aura. Great place to chill and forget about the rest of the world. Or maybe it’s the air of the surrounding mountains. Night life is focused around cosy cafes, bars and restaurants full of hippy vibes, all surrounded by delicious street food and local artists presence.
How far is Pai from Chang Mai?
Pai is located in the north of Thailand, near Myanmar border. It is easily accessible by mini bus or a taxi from Chang Mai in a disctance of 140 km (88 miles). Buses run every day with number of companies, tickets are easy to buy from any local travel agency in Chang Mai.
Best things to do in Pai Thailand.
There are several interesting places to visit in Pai (Thailand) – beautoful waterfalls, number of natural hot springs, canyon and of course Buddha hill. Best way to exlpore the area is on a motorbike. You can easily rent it for small money. Don’t be scared to drive, everyone can do it but always wear a helmet!
- Pai Canyon, located south of the town, probably 15 minutes ride on your motorbike. Be careful the paths can be slippery!
- Memorial Bridge – very close to the canyon.
- The White Buddha on the hill, gives an incredible view over the town and surrounding mountains.
- Waterfalls – Pam Bok Waterfall is really amazing. Check whether it’s not a dry season, as the other waterfall was almost dry when we got there. 🙂
- Stay near Ban Cha Bo Hill – to admire amazing mountain views of the surrounding area.
Please skip any animal tourism like elephant sanctuary. I’m not saying all sanctuaries are bad, but from my experience most animals in sancuaries are kept only to attract tourists. Some of the animals had been going through unbelievably cruel abuse to serve tourists.
Pai Thailand - pupet theatre.
Shadow puppet theatre is the oldest form of Asian theatre. It originally comes from Java (Indonesia) but is also very popular in China, India and south-east Asia. It used to be a solo performance where the puppeteer manipulates puppets, speaks dialogues and sings on one side of the canvas so you could see the beautiful shadow animation on the other. The topic of the performances is usually drawn from local legends and traditions. Sometimes performances are played on special occasions and can be interpreted in religious or mystical fashion. They can also be related to Ramayana and Mahabharata – two most important Sanskrit in Hindu literature ancient Indian epic poems. Ramayana describes the adventures of Prince Rama rescuing his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana.
Wayang topeng – is a dance style. There are two types of the puppets in shadow theatre: Nang yai – the puppet has a normal human size placed on a long wooden stick and Nang thalung – small puppets with mobile joints.
Most of the bars in Pai would host evening pupet theatre performances. So you’ll definitely get to experience one.
Pai - best accomodation option.
Backapacking the country in 2015 I never had to book any accommodation in advance. There are so many hostels, dorms and guesthouses options in every town, that it’s hard to believe it would be all taken. There are number of accommodation options in Pai (in the town centre) but I would recommend finding a hostel on the other side of the river. Walk through a bridge and take a short walk up the hill to find amazing bungalows with hammocks along wooden terraces – Ban Cha Bo. In my opinion most amazing place to stay in Pai. Rooms are available for 7-9$ per person (2015). Rooms are basic but you won’t spend any time indoor. There are number of fire places, great table games and tons of books. And you gonna make lots of friends there! Sunsets are magic. Mornings are peaceful. The nature wakes up its own pace. I met two amazing people – Mia and Mark! Thank you for this week, it was unforgettable. We’re still in touch after so many years.