Living up to the hype
We had already booked everything before we left Bangkok and Pai was definitely on our list. At our hostel in Chiang Mai everyone kept hyping us up for the wonderful town of Pai. Different people told us different stories about the party life in Pai. Or even all the hippies living there.
When we got there we were blown away by the amount of tourists in the small town. We felt like we were back in Europe. But a lot of tourists usually come there for a reason, so we were looking forward to find that reason. One of our reasons was Spicypai Hostel we were staying at. We slept in bamboo huts with a roof made out of leaves and we were lucky to go as a couple because we got the “honeymoon suite”. It was almost like climbing a treehouse to get in your bed, but with the experience of sleeping there, it was so worth it.
It was a really cool concept to sleep semi outside, while still having the comforts of a hot shower and wifi (everything was outside). There was a campfire pit inbetween all of the huts where travellers could make a campfire every night to keep warm and socialize.
The day before christmas (Morning)
Some travellers came with the great idea to do a gift exchange with everyone to keep up the christmas vibe. Sadly for us all the presents were already bought when we got there so we couldn’t participate anymore. But the idea was really fun and kept everyone involved. Because everyone came from different countries and different cultures, many people didn’t celebrate christmas on the 24th. So everyone just made it two entire days of celebrating christmas.
This day we didn’t really celebrate. We got up early to rent a bike (€3 !!) and explore the other reasons people come to Pai. We met up with our friend, Roman, who we met in the jungle during our jungle trekking and got on our way to see the biggest waterfall in Pai. The entry fee was a little bit of a bummer, but we are getting used to that now, so we expected it before going. The waterfall was nice to see and Roman even took a dive in the icecold water. The mornings in Pai are icecold, so we were too chicken to jump in.
At the waterfall we saw a sign pointing to the bamboo bridge with some cool pictures on it. So we were immediatly conviced and decided we wanted to check it out. The bamboo bridge is a few kilometers long across many rice fields in different layers. Because it wasn’t the season for rice, everything looked like dead grass instead of the sparkling green we saw on the sign.But the fields were still really nice to walk across and the bridge was a weird experience to walk on. After the bridge we found a decent restaurant at the fields and enjoyed a nice meal with a great view.
The day before christmas (Afternoon)
When we finished our plates it was only just 1PM, so we still had an entire day to fill. We decided to check out the giant white Budha on the mountain in Pai. The stairs were pretty intense considering the sun started to burn at this time of day. Once at the top we got greeted with the best view in Pai, we could see everything from this high up. We took some pictures and headed off to our next destination.
The hotsprings was our next destination, we went to a natural hotspring first, but the entrance fee was €10 each. We didn’t expect it to be that much, so we went looking for another option. In the same street was a hotspring resort where a natural hotspring was used to heat up a pool filled with natural water. The entrance here was nothing compared to the other place, so we spent the rest of our afternoon relaxing here and in the normal swimming pool.
When we got back we took a shower and headed out for the night market with its delicious food. After stuffing our bellies for the millionth time in Thailand we headed back and met with the people from the hostel to celebrate christmas. We all sat around a cozy campfire with a drink and talked to eachother. Considering we were not planning on celebrating christmas this year, we had a fun experience.
At the campfire we made plans with a few fellow travellers to go to the caves today. We wanted to leave early, but everyone was sleeping in after a long night. We all got some breakfast together at a local cafe and headed out at around noon. The caves were quite a distance from our hostel, around a 90minute drive with the bike. The ride crossed the most beautiful landscapes we had ever seen. We rode between the rice fields and the mountains, it was an experience by itself. After our long ride we arrived at the Lod Caves and got a guide with a lantern to guide us trough the caves.
We’ve seen quite a few caves already, but this one was enormous, it was so big you couldn’t even see the ceiling. It was a fun and authentic experience to see the caves being lit by the lanterns. After seeing the first two caves, we were guided to the third cave which was only possible with the bamboo raft. We found a place on the raft and the guide took us trough the dark caves on the water filled with thousands of fish.
While exiting the caves we rushed back to our bikes because we needed to catch the sunset at Pai Canyon. It was also a 90 minute ride back to the town and to the Canyon. The ride back was just as beautiful, but a little colder because the sun was going down. We managed to get to the canyon on time and rushed up the hill to catch the sun setting. It was the most beautiful sunset with the best colors we’ve seen so far and we didn’t regret going. Now we understood why everyone recommended us to go to the canyon.
Our experience with Pai
When arriving in Pai and at our hostel we didn’t know what to expect. We felt a little out of place at first, but the people staying there were really kind and we managed to have an awesome time. After our visit we understand why Pai is one of the most beloved destinations in north Thailand and we’re even considering going back for a longer time. We’re glad we ended our trip in north Thailand on such a high note!
- Chiang Mai
- Hot spring
- Lod Caves
- Night Market
- Pai Canyon