Pai is a small town in the North -West of Thailand. It is very popular amongst backpackers and the ‘hippy travel tribe’ who go here to escape the busy city of Bangkok and several other busy areas in Thailand such as Chiang Mai and the southern islands.
First things first, Pai is certainly not easy to get to! I flew into Bankok, took a bus to the internal airport, took a plane to Chiang Mai and then a three-hour bus journey to this little village, but, trust me, it was so worth it!
The bus journey consists of 762 turns up and down through the mountains in a tiny little minibus! We stayed on an adorable little farm just outside the village called Ing Doi / Yawning Fields. The people that own all the little huts are so lovely and the accommodation provides showers, drinking water and Wifi for a very reasonable amount.
In all honesty, a good chunk of this trip was focused on how much we could eat and where! As Bex had already spent some time in Pai we were well prepared to sample the best of the best.
Pai was full of healthy restaurants using loads of fruit and grains and had several vegan options available. Earth Tone was just outside the entrance to The White Buddha and had an amazing breakfast and lunch menu which clearly explained the benefits of certain ingredients. For breakfast one day, we both ordered waffles with coconut yoghurt, peanut butter, and fruit and it was the best combination of food I’ve ever consumed (left). Another favourite was the smoothie bowls available at FatCat, which could be made either rice or oat based and set us up for a day of exploration (right).
Obviously, I had to try authentic Thai food whilst in Thailand, and Na’s Kitchen provided exactly that. It is very busy due to popularity amongst tourists and locals and so we sat with another couple who had visited Pai nearly 10 times and swore it was the best place to eat!
We didn’t just stick to healthy meals and Thai food though, we also went to Burger queen and Cafecito. Burger Queen is quite obviously a burger restaurant, it is run by westerners and is very popular, after a long day we devoured our meals within minutes. Cafecito is a Mexican restaurant a little outside of town. They have breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and had massive portions such as the burrito below.
Make sure to sample some of the street food in town and definitely give mango sticky rice a try!
We found the best way to get around was to hire bicycles for the week! We cycled up to the bottom of The White Buddha, and then climbed the rest of the way up to get the most amazing view over the valley and the shakiest legs to ever exist.
Several tourist companies advertise a trip to Nam Lod Caves. On this trip, you visit the caves, hot springs, a viewing point, a beautiful waterfall and Pai Canyon. I would recommend this trip to EVERYONE! At 400 baht (about £8) this day trip was incredible! A guided tour around the beautiful caves and seeing thousands of bats as well as a quick dip in a freezing cold pool of Mor Paeng waterfall were my favourite parts of the day. We made such good friends with people on our bus.
Take in the chilled out energy of this village and relax whenever possible.
Must Do’s and Tips
- Have a Thai Massage – Back in the UK these will cost upward of £40 for an hour, but at a very modest £3 in Pai you’d be silly not to!
- Hire bikes to get around
- Try Morning Glory – a mix of greens fired in chillies with peanuts
- Fresh coconuts are the perfect way to rehydrate!
- Haggle with the market sellers and any taxi drivers
- Try as many flavours of mojito possible in Almost Famous Bar
- Drink LOADS of water
Check out my video of the most amazing last minute week in Thailand with my best friend: