Our Piece of Pai: An Escape to the Hills of Northern Thailand – 21/06/2019 to 26/06/2019

Emily here! Pai. A small village nestled in the mountains of north Thailand known for its relaxing atmosphere and popularity amongst backpackers, especially the more “granola” crowd. Liam and I decided to stay at a place more removed from the vegan / western restaurant filled town itself and do our bit of R&R at the Pai Village Farm Homestay. During our time here we got to hang out with ducks, bunnies, sheep, goats and some prehistoric looking chicken with feathery feet. We also took long winding walks through mazes of rice paddy fields and did some reading on our covered porch while we listened to the rain fall around us. As if all of that wasn’t serene enough I also got to see my first few fireflies! It was perfect.

Doesn’t this just look like a postcard for relaxation?

When we weren’t enjoying all this homestay had to offer we did two days worth of excursions. The first day we were picked up after we had a bit of breakfast at our hostel and headed out to three places we thought sounded interesting when we researched Pai, but weren’t available on the full day tour we booked.  First stop on our DIY tour was the WWII memorial bridge. It was originally built by local villagers and POW’s during WWII. The Japanese army wanted to reach Burma with greater ease and they had the expendable people to do it! The bridge is now a place to reflect and take in the scenery around you.

Our taxi driver also doubled as a fantastic photographer!

Pam Bok waterfall was next on our list. When we got out of the car the falls appeared to be only a small cascade which was pretty, but not really something you’d want to go out of your way for. But after a little hike away from the parking area and after we had scrambled over slippery rocks and fallen trees, we made it to the actual, very impressive waterfall. To make it even better we were the only ones there! A private waterfall experience. Couldn’t ask for more. Eventually others arrived and we took that as our cue to head to our final destination for the day.

Living our best life solo at the falls

The Land Split. This was easily my favourite stop. In 2009 the family who lived here had their farm literally torn in two as the fault line its located on decided it was time to do its thing and split. Mother nature sometimes has 0 chill. This gaping crack in the earth is something that could have easily destroyed this families livelihoods. Instead they evolved their family business to use this amazing geological event to be a point of interest for visitors to come explore. The family still farms on some of the land and has various organic treats they grow for people to try as they come in. Liam and I had an amazing spread of tamarind, peanuts, starfruit, rosella jam, and pumpkin chips that the family made there. It was a fantastic treat! Walking around this natural marvel was the best way to end the day.

Loving this Jurassic feeling walk 🙂 

We did our second day of exploring Pai through a tour that took us to six sights. The first was the white Buddha of Pai. You can see it from any point in the town nestled amongst the green hills and mountains. While it was a cool sight to see up close I think it’s something that has a greater presence when viewed from a distance. Or I’m starting to get Buddha fatigue.

Another day, another Buddha

The next stop was a view point near the top of a mountain where you could see the valleys below. It was a bit cloudy but it was still pretty spectacular to see all of the clouds drifting underneath. Brief stop over,  we drove on until we made it to Cave Tham Lod. The locals who run tours into the cave lead you in by an old fashioned oil lamp. As you descend into the dark, gradually the glow of the light illuminating the massive cave formations are all you see. Once in the darkness of the cave we got on a bamboo raft to go further in and explore the massive mineral columns, while listening to hundreds of bats flap around in the shadows. It was such a unique experience and one we would definitely recommend!

What an eerie environment! 

After a quick lunch we went to the Sai Ngam hot springs. It was already misting at this point so getting into something hot sounded perfect. Unfortunately, the rain diluted the hot part of the springs and it felt more like sitting in a warm bath with ten other people. All the same it was nice to relax for a bit and chat with the group on our tour. Luckily, Mo Paeng waterfall was up next! This gave us a fantastic opportunity to swim around and listen to the roaring crash of the cascading water. It’s obviously a massively popular spot with locals and tourists alike as there were several Thai families hanging around having a evening picnic at the falls.

So inviting! Watch out though, the bottom is covered in slippery plants

The final stop for the night was Pai Canyon where cloud coverage never really left us, robbing us of our advertised sunset! The canyon is still a stunning area with plenty of narrow pathways to wander across if you’re brave enough. A few of us headed down a bit early so we sat down outside the food vendors at the bottom. The family who ran it kindly invited us to try their massive family style dinner. We had some papaya salad with seafood and pork sausage washed down with some homemade rice whiskey. The Thais sure know how to do moonshine!

An adventurous spot to wander around, but don’t look too close over the edge

Once we got back into town we hit the walking street for some food and then had a few funky fruity mojitos with new friends from the tour. Pai was definitely the calm outdoorsy little getaway that we had hoped it would be! There’s something in this village for everyone. Our advice would be to stay longer than you need and simply do nothing. If you’ve already spent some time in Thailand before arriving (and minimum you’ll like have been to at least Bangkok and Chiang Mai by this point) it’s a welcome break to just soak up the atmosphere and not the temples. That’s what we did, at least.

Feeling the wind blow through the fields. Bliss! 

I’ve been Emily Colorado and you can check me out on Instagram

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Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pai,_Thailand

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tham_Lot_cave