After cooking and tiger patting and elephant bathing my way through Chaing Mai, I jumped on a painfully packed mini-van with five massive British guys, three gap year girls, a hippy, a very uncomfortable looking elderly couple and all of our huge backpacks, to the laid-back mountain surrounded paradise that is Pai.
Three and a half hours of the most winding road I’ve ever been on (762 curves to be exact, there are T-shirts to prove it), led me to be dropped off in the middle of the tiny town, from where I had to get a taxi that was literally just a motorbike with a massive cage bolted to the side of it, to get me five minutes back up the road to my hostel, Spicy Pai. Without a doubt the coolest hostel I have stayed in so far. Forget abut the fact that I slept in a 26 bed mixed dorm with no air-conditioning, a ripped mosquito net and no security. It was a giant bamboo hut for goodness sake! Coolest thing ever or what?
While it’s a chilled-out little hippie town by day, Pai goes mental at night. The whole town seems to be driven purely by the tourism industry, and by midnight, its crawling with drunken backpackers, hopping from one reggae bar to the next.
It’s quite a strange place in that there’s really no reason to go there other than to party. There’s really not a lot to see or do, so drinking is quite a popular activity. It’s sort of like the partying beach-bum life without the beautiful beach. I mean, yes the mountain scenery is gorgeous, but I wasn’t gazing open mouthed into the distance with “What a Wonderful World” softly playing in my head. Pai does have a pool though, and a few waterfalls, and a giant Buddha, and a strawberry farm, and a canyon.
I was feeling pretty down in the dumps when I arrived in Pai, missing the comforts and familiarity of home. Which for me, is a feeling that comes and goes quite frequently. So I was super happy to meet three totally lovely British girls; Alice, Alex and Emma, and was reunited with Melissa (who I met in Chiang Mai) and her friend Brinn.
The six of us became instant best friends, and had such an awesome time together. We spent the mornings stuffing ourselves with amazing brekkies at Boomalicious, and the afternoons riding around town on our scooters getting lost in the countryside with the wind in our hair and the sun slowly etching signs of premature ageing into our backs. We would then spend the evenings sipping on some Sangsom (the local poison of choice) and find ourselves walking back from who knows where at four o’clock in the morning. It was a really fun time and I already miss those girls to pieces.
Moral of this very short story? Get your ass to Pai.