There are only few places I hold close to my heart. Thailand is my happy place, where I felt more free and joyful than ever before. Pai is not only the cherry on top, but will now forever be where we got engaged, which makes it that much more special and sentimental to me.
For those of you who have never heard of Pai, it’s a small town in the north of Thailand, three hours away from Chiang Mai. We visited Pai on our first Thailand trip. it was a casual visit we didn’t really plan for and we only had three days there, but apparently three days are just enough to fall head over heels in love.
We’ve been talking about going back to Pai for so long and when we finally did it was everything we wished for and much more. This time we had five full days so we could relax, take our time and enjoy all the magic of this little place. I think I’ve mentioned it before but we’re the kind of people who take super busy vacations which is fab and I love it, but sometimes we forget to stop and smell the roses, and you really should, especially in a place with such unique energies like Pai.
There are really no words that can do it justice, and the magical feeling you get when in Pai is just something you have to experience. These are my top 5 tips and attractions to look for if you’ve been lucky enough.
- Take a good look around. Pai turned into something so big and different from our first visit to the second (six years later) and at first we were kind of afraid it lost it’s unique atmosphere and vibe due to it being “discovered” by many more tourists. It only took us a moment to realize that all the things that made Pai so special to us are still there big time. Walk the streets, feel the air, the nice people and the breathtaking nature around you. Iv’e been to many beautiful places but this one is like no other.
- Rent a motorbike or a scooter and explore the area. This is probably the best way to get to know the place and everything around the two main streets. We did it both times and had a blast! We got to see so much and there’s hardly any traffic when you leave the main streets so it’s a fun easy way to explore and you don’t have to be super experienced to drive it.
- There are many beautiful hotels in Pai in different price ranges. We stayed at the Pai Cherkaew hotel and I would really recommend it. Cute little boutique hotel, nice, clean and reasonably priced. Sweet staff, great pool and great vibes, not to mention it’s in short walking distance from everything you need to have around you. From the night market to massages and restaurants. Suitable mostly for long time couples or friends who are way too comfortable around one another, since the doors of the bathroom and shower are completely sheer and there’s only a drape separating them from the main room.
- Visit Sai Ngam (secret) hot springs: We heard mixed reviews about Pai’s hot springs (mostly about it being super jammed with tourists) but still wanted the hot spring experience, so we did a quick search and found the secret hot springs. It took us about half an hour to get there by bike but it’s a tricky drive so if you’re thinking about driving there yourself you should keep that in mind. We were there for about an hour and had such a great time! Although these secret hot springs are pretty easy to find, there weren’t many people there and despite of me being the ultimate city girl, I just loved the serene feeling of nature and it was just perfect couple time.
- A true must is the Yun Lai Viewpoint. I was just so blown away by this place that we actually visited there three times during our five day stay. Yun Lai is a Viewpoint where you get to see all of Pai from, literally a breathtaking view like you won’t believe. We got to see it in mid day and also first thing in the morning and each time was so beautiful and unique. Yun Lai is also where Max popped the question, and I was so surprised and couldn’t think of a more perfect place to get engaged in. My guy just knows me all too well. Love him.
Pai is a dream and though this was our second time I’m pretty sure we’ll visit again someday. There’s tons to do and explore so if you’d like some more tips and tricks send me an email and I’d love to elaborate more! Hope you had a good read, more of our Thai experience is coming up soon.