After the week at Elephant Nature Park, I headed up to Pai in northwestern Thailand with three lovely ladies whom I befriended at ENP: Lauren and Natalie (cousins from CA) and Courtney (from Delaware). We also met up with three other ENP friends while we were there.
After three turbulent, nauseating hours in the minibus, we finally arrived without anyone vomiting. Which was a miracle because our driver was a maniac… so much so that several people in the bus whipped out their phones to video our ride, which was reminiscent of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (a ridiculous, old Disney ride that jerked you around in a little boxcar so violently that you’d certainly go flying out if it wasn’t for the safety bar over your lap).
With the exception of the ride there, we all fell quickly in love with Pai. It’s small (but touristy nonetheless), chill, cute, walkable, has AMAZING restaurants/street food, great shopping, and with only a few things to actually do & see there, we didn’t feel overwhelmed with cramming activities into our stay there.
Pai is known for its hippie and drug scene, but I didn’t find drugs to be as widely available there as other places I’ve been on this trip. At least, they’re not as widely advertised. In bigger cities, you can’t walk ten feet without being offered drugs by a tuk tuk driver. First they offer you a ride, then marijuana, then sometimes other drugs. But Pai didn’t have tuk tuks, and therefore I didn’t get the impression that drugs were rampant there. Although, I suppose it would probably just take an inquiry at the hostel or at a bar to score whatever you wanted. And there is definitely at least one bar that sells “happy shakes” made with mushrooms, but only at a certain time each day and only a limited amount of them. So if you want one, you have to plan accordingly.
Some highlights of my time in Pai are:
- The FOOD
- The night market (and its FOOD!)
- The Lod caves
- Hanging out with Lauren, Natalie, and Courtney (so many belly laughs!!)
A lot of travelers come to Pai and stay a while… like a long while… like months. And I liked it so much that I could actually see myself doing that, too. I’d love to go back some day soon!
THE LOD CAVES
The cave and the tour are extremely natural. No artificial lighting has been installed, so you walk around with a guide who carries a kerosene lamp. If you lose your guide or lag behind, you’re in complete darkness. I did this several times and had to use the flashlight on my phone to get around.
FUN TIMES WITH THE ENP CREW
We happened to be in Pai during the full moon. If you don’t know, “full moon parties” are kind of a thing here in Thailand, but mostly down in the islands. We heard that there was a full moon party in Pai, so we wanted to check it out. It ended up being a total scam that involved a “free” tuk tuk ride out to a middle-of-nowhere field, an entrance fee to walk a rickety wood board over a ditch and into the “party” which consisted of a DJ playing crappy house music, a bonfire, and about 100 weird (hopefully high) people dancing or sitting around on the dirt ground. I couldn’t have been more over this scene so I left basically right away. Of course, you had to pay good money to get a tuk tuk ride back to town (that’s why it was free to get you out there… there was no way to get back without a return ride). But BEFORE that experience, Lauren, Natalie, Courtney and I spent about two awesome hours, laughing and being amazed at a bar.
OTHER PIECES OF THE PAI