Pai is a small town with a local population of about three thousand. It is a favorite of the backpacker community because of its sweeping landscapes, easy roads, and reggae feel. We hit this town at a bad time; we were a bit sick and a big storm was sweeping down from China and it brought very frigid temperatures and cold rain. Everyone was cold, so the town kept to the cafes and hotels with hot drinks and sealed walls. Given the situation, our experience of Pai was fun, but also a bit disappointing. This city is a favorite of almost every backpacker we met in Thailand, but we just liked it and didn’t love it. Oh well.
Because of the weather and illness, we spent the first few days drinking coffee, watching Band of Brothers and writing to HelpX and WorkAway for potential volunteer opportunities.
A couple of days into our time in Pai, almost to protest the weather, we headed outdoors for adventures. The first day I went to the Big Buddah on a hill and attempted to trek to a waterfall that was deceivingly far away. The next day we met up with a good friend from Meditation, Yong, and motor biked to a few lesser waterfalls and to the land split.
The land split, as simple as it was, may have been my favorite part. It was what it sounds like, a few cracks in the earth, about 60ft deep, made from a series of earthquakes. The cool part, however, was the family that lives on the property. It’s free (a rarity for an attraction in Southeast Asia), and the host feeds the tourists a collection of plates made fresh from his garden. Also free. We drank roselle tea, rice wine, roselle jam, banana chips, sweet potatoes, and nuts, as we chatted and enjoyed the break in the clouds.
At night, the city of Pai lights up a bit as the night market starts and the music bars begin playing. Pai, like Ko Lanta has a collection of “happy foods”. They also have a handful of good music bars that have interesting artists coming and going. We went to a bar called Edible Jazz and were not disappoint as a solo guitarist started building his riffs with the help of a few pedals and computers.
On the last day, because we were finally feeling better, we sprang for a pizza and ice cream dinner, and we not disappointed. Also, for breakfast, we had “comgee” which is rice porridge with egg and chicken stirred in. A simple, delicious meal that sits perfectly in your stomach on a cold morning.
Off to Chiang Rai. Likely the last stop we’ll make in Thailand.
Thanks for reading. We hope to finish catching up on posts soon.
Danielle and Grant