Pai, Thailand. A place that holds a special place in many travellers’ hearts.
Rice fields beyond the horizon meet with a rainbow of colours from the blue skies, red earth and dark rock faces enjoying the cool wash from a waterfall.
Pai has also changed dramatically. Fifteen years ago it was a lesser known, off-the-beaten-path destination. It swallowed hippies for days, sometimes years. Held up as a beacon for free ‘n’ easy mountain living.
Today, Pai is part of the Northern Thailand ‘hit-list’. Hostel accommodation offerings have quadrupled, motorbike rental places swell to offer all manner of drivers a chance to travel the Mae Hong Son Loop. Local women give smoking gestures offering up illegal substances. Bandaged bodies limp around town eating Western offerings like lasagne and jacket potatoes.
Don’t get me wrong. Pai is beautiful, but a contradiction in a lot of ways. It offers unique opportunities for nature lovers and yoga teachers. It also represents the very worse of mass tourism.
Fortunately with travel there is no right way or wrong way, only your way. If anything Pai may show you what you like and loathe. Pai could be that turning point for future travel destination choices. It could also represent the best of your backpacking experience in Thailand.
Whatever it looks like for you, here’s Tripmasher’s Pai in pictures – the good and the bad.
There it is. The good and bad of Pai in pictures.
Stay on the journey with us as next week where we travel the Mae Hong Son loop by public transport instead of two wheels. We find some magical places in Northern Thailand that are not Pai, Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai (shock horror)!
Listening to the hypnotic album Moonbuilding 2703 AD by The Orb.