A Slice of Heavenly Pai

Nestled in the foothills of Mae Hong Son Province is the quaint village of Pai. 28419072526_09268ae742_cThis place epitomizes pastoral life, with endless rice patties and a laid-back country vibe.28419072446_038d2c64d1_cThe beauty of Pai is not only its remote location, but its rustic simplicity that will suck you in, and leave you wanting more. 😀28419072486_e7127f2f84_c28419072506_f27759900a_cAnd then there’s those unexpected hidden gems that make Pai all the more appealing.

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Coffee in Love

For starters, the country roads of Pai are lined with quirky cafes, like Coffee in Love(pictured above) and The Container(pictured below), which offers visitors a cup of java with a heavenly view. ❤

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The Container

Furthermore, you’ll also find a lot of unexpected non-Thai food in this small Thai village.27834433183_92d2413e3e_cFor example, I went strolling the street food market with two girls from London.  They ordered Mediterranean falafel, while I tried a Cornish chicken pastry. 27834780744_88d3ca9dd2_cLastly, there’s the offbeat accommodation that I really had to see to believe.28367565111_1cd18e22a9_cOf course there are plenty of charming guesthouses here, settled alongside the tranquil Pai River.28451118625_d799523eac_c27834433273_4d425fba9d_c27834433253_5149058692_cBut then there’s the more obscure lodging, like Pai Circus School, which offers guests not only accommodation, but free circus lessons each afternoon. 😛28346947302_90605d7542_cI like bizarre places, so I knew I’d have to stay there at least one night. I made sure to get my own bungalow though, as the idea of sharing dorms here made me a little wary. Group massage? No thanks. 😕
28346947232_5e2d00e6a5_cMy bungalow was basic, with only a mattress and fan, but it was peaceful, and had a killer country view.27834780584_64c82e7923_c28451118645_910624fb41_c28419072476_2531a45c0c_cAnyway, all of my concerns that this was some freaky hippie commune was quickly put to rest, as the place seemed to attract just a really cool group of travelers.

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guests relaxing in the pool
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setting up for morning yoga

And yes, they do offer a pretty informal circus lesson each afternoon. 😀27834780684_dc325f214c_cAdditionally, they always have juggling balls, fire sticks, unicycles and hula hoops available for use. 27834780624_e3d62b86d7_c
28346947292_d5abba44d4_cWhile watching this future Cirque de Soleil, I began chatting with a cool traveler from Texas. She had just finished an internship with the United Nations World Food Program in Zimbabwe, and was now on break before beginning a Masters in International Studies with Columbia University. 😀28451473105_2550cfa116_cAfter chatting for a bit, we decided to rent motorbikes and cruise the country roads of Pai.
28373215941_014024a3c5_cCost: Less than 5 USD per day

Word of warning: 1 out of every 10 tourists here in Pai had a bandage on themself from a motorbike accident. The bumpy gravel roads are dangerous, so drive slowly. I even asked the company for a refresher driving lesson, and the guy gladly took me to an empty lot where I could practice a few laps before hitting the streets. Highly recommended for any bike newbies! 😀

Bike rentals may be cheap, but damage repair is not! 😮28347037732_d2f5042aac_cAnyway, as for must-see sights in Pai, there are numerous hot springs, waterfalls, and endless mountains views. The most notable vistas are from Pai Canyon and Yun Lai Viewpoint, so we chose to visit those sights first.

Pai Canyon

28394613121_e548a8fa5e_cWalk across this rich red terrain and take in unbeatable views of the green Pai valley. 28371848241_e60db4d871_c28371848211_825b67849d_c

Yun Lai Viewpoint

28419145686_f9dcfddda6_cTo get to the view point, we drove past farms, rice fields, and even a charming Chinese village.28346873172_5179df9cda_c28419145746_7f6d85c7ed_c28346873202_189d833021_cDuring the last leg of the journey,  we really had to haul a** up a big hill, but it was absolutely worth it in the end! Hah! 😛28373215911_746eb63840_cThe Chinese Village members charge 20 baht for entry, but it includes free tea served in delicate China. The perfect pairing for this heavenly view. 😀
28346947342_ed9772707b_c28419145666_0948a07e10_c28419145706_eef0fe4e18_c28203645350_9e932d48f8_cAnyway, all that biking worked up an appetite, so I decided to end my afternoon by enjoying a delicious northern specialty, Khao Soi. 28451473015_2279bf7bab_cThis dish combines coconut chicken curry with spaghetti noodles, topped with crunchy fried noodles, and a fresh garnish of onion and lime.28451473065_ea5be50682_cIt’s a beautiful blend of salty, sweet and spicy, with a nice combination of creamy and crunchy. You can even add chilies for an extra punch! 😛28346947322_00e757d3df_c
Although the flavors may be different, it reminded me of a noodle casserole from back home that we used to top with fried French onions. So delicious! The perfect ending to my vacation in northern Thailand. ❤27870737483_b3d461b8a1_c

After that, I took a bus back to Chiang Mai and a flight back to Bangkok.

Cost: 38 USD  flight, booked with Royal Thai Airlines.

Overall, it was another fabulous adventure in Thailand, and there’s plenty more trips that lie ahead. My next vacation is in three weeks, and I’ll be heading to a tropical island in southern Thailand. 😀

In the meantime, the kids at school are taking midterm exams, and I’m a busy bee grading notebooks. Never a dull moment around here. Stay tuned and until next time everyone. Take care and have a great weekend! 😀

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