life (and love) in pai, thailand.

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Not originally on our radar, Pai’s been a highlight so far (especially for D) despite the chilly temperatures (it was so cold mornings and nights!). As mentioned here, it’s a totally hippy mountain town in Northern Thailand. We wound up staying for five days and four nights at a newish boutique hotel right off the main strip and couldn’t have been happier with our choice. If you find yourself in Pai, stay at Pai My Guest. The owner, “Mr. Pai” and his son couldn’t have been more wonderful – even giving us a private lift at 5am(!) to our van so we didn’t have to walk in the freezing cold.
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sunset from our front porch at Pai My Guest House.
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pai my guest resort, pai thailand
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our back patio was the perfect place for Chang beers, seaweed chips and and travel research.
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our front porch.
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playing DJ on our front porch.

True to form, the first thing we did was rent a scooter and grab a map (my scooter lesson video here). Pai’s main strip is pretty small, but everything else to do is in outer lying areas of town, and we quickly realized that if you had wheels of your own, we could avoid paying for organized tours and do the Pai highlights on our own. So, that’s exactly what we did. During our four days in Pai, we didn’t pay for a single tour, admission fee and we pretty much did the entire Pai circuit.
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Waterfall Trekking
There were quite a few waterfalls on the map, so after talking to a few people about the disappointing waterfall tours they’d done, we opted for the one that wasn’t accessible by tour van and was a 14kilometer (roundtrip) trek. Thank goodness D did his research and realized we’d be in water – a lot – so we had proper “water adventure” footwear. We only saw a handful of other people during our 5-hour round-trip hike and as they slugged by in soggy sneakers, they applauded our foresight. In total, we did 64 water crossings!

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Street Food, Cute Cafes, Hippie Threads & Reggae Beats
Pai is cheap and we decided to take full advantage of it. Each night, the main drag was lined with vendors hawking everything from loaded baked potatoes and kebabs to French bread pizza and ro-tee desserts with Nutella all for around the $1 mark. We sampled a lot, and our two clear winners were: The Pad Thai Girl & Gepeto Ice Cream. The Pad Thai Girl set-up a banquet table each night with the ingredients to make her only menu item. For a total of $2.75, we had two plates of Pad Thai with chicken and two large Chang beers. We went two nights in a row – it was Ting’s favorite. Then, for dessert, Gepeto couldn’t be beat. The woman sat with a waffle maker on the side of the road and would make waffle cones on demand. The smell was the hook and the warm cone and delicious cookies & cream ice cream kept us coming back each night.

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super cute bohemian cafes and restaurants are all over the place. this is cafe om, fantastic.

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the quaint streets of pai.
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gotta love me some Gepeto.
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a new friend at the bar.
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the vegetarian spring roll lady had a very popular stand. P1170532
more cute cafes.
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danny’s favorite pad thai stand.
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we added our pad thai praise to the board!  P1170517  P1170477
delicious iced coffee makes me very happy.
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even the menus are amazing.
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tuk tuk food deliveries. just the usual.
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a typical one-strip mountain town.
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our local market
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a lover of building and fascinated by how things are made, ting always notices and stops to watch construction types of stuff. he was so into watching this guy climb his bamboo ladder to fix the mess of electrical wires. so basic, yet so effective.

Pai Canyon
Thailand’s version of the Grand Canyon. Don’t get too excited – it’s not really a comparison, but it is impressive in its own right and the Thai people are very proud of their canyon. Unlike during our waterfall trek, I did not have the proper footwear on, so Danny explored on his own while I snapped photos and ate snacks.

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Pai in Love
Apparently there’s a movie called, “Pai in Love” that takes place in, you guessed it, Pai. The town has all kinds of insignia and photo opp spots pertaining to this flick. The Thailand tourists flocked to this stuff. All the Thai girls were wearing flowy floral outfits and doing the exact same poses in each of the spots: memorial bridge, love in Pai sign & coffee in Pai shop. We’ll be downloading it sometime soon. Until then, click here to watch the subtitled trailer.

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White Buddha on the Hill
As you pull into Pai, you’re immediately drawn to this gigantic white Buddha set up in the hillside of Pai. On night one with our map in hand, we decided to go on a scooter mission to find the Buddha (can’t be that hard, right?) and watch sunset over the Valley. Too bad us idiots were looking for the “White Buddah” sign and it wasn’t until I realized I should be looking for the Thai version of his name
Wat Phra That Mae Yen), that we found it. We were getting a little too used to most attractions being in English – not in Pai.

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see the Buddha up in the hill on the far right? and that’s our hotel in the middle along the rice fields. P1170493
we made it! up close & personal.

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the views couldn’t be beat.
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again, ting checking out the scaffolding – bamboo, obviously. P1170508

Pai Hot Springs
You can steam your skin or boil and egg. Your typical hot springs, they sound really fun in theory, and then you’re sitting in steamy water with a bunch of strangers and catch a whiff of rotten egg and suddenly feel like you’ve had enough. We lasted 15-minutes.


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Are you Ting Tong?
If we’re friends on instagram (@teribockting / #thetravelingtings), you’ve heard the story. As we walked through Pai, we noticed a few mirrors and signs that said, “are you Ting Tong?” Clearly we were drawn to them, and had a good laugh when we learned that “Ting Tong” means “Crazy” in Thailand. Ha.

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until next time, pai….

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