Insider advice, South East Asia, Top travel experiences

Five reasons why Pai should be on your Thai bucket list

Pai is an incredible hidden gem in the north of Thailand. Well known to backpackers, it’s void of tourists, which is the best kind of place. Here’s five reasons why it is amazing.

1: scooter missions

It’s quite common to see half the town limping around in white. The accident and emergency centre here must do a roaring trade in crepe bandages. Despite this, I threw caution to the wind and hiked off to the scooter hire. They make you drive around in a back paddock before they set you free. Unable to turn corners by the time I graduated, I was dubious as to how I was going to stay alive. Our scooter gang set off for a waterfall, and had the best afternoon. Word of warning: theft insurance is essential. Just sayin’…

2: the night market

Pai has one main street. At night, this is closed to traffic, and becomes a night market. Mostly for food, which will all know is the best kind of market! You’ll find most of your hostel as you sample things along the way, and waddle home, extremely satisfied. Papaya salad quickly became my favourite. Green papaya and other veges make up the spicy dish, which is to die for.

3: Muay Thai

If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at Thai boxing, this is the place to do it. Hungover, we struggled out of bed at 6.30. I hitched a ride on the back of the scooter (see point 1) and we joined the group, unsure what we were in for. The session takes place in an open sided gym, which definitely was a good idea as things heated up. It was probably the hardest two hours of my life, but so rewarding. Some of the girls asked how far through my month training camp I was. That’s how I knew I’d made it! Just don’t expect to be able to walk the next day.

4: avocado ?

This gorgeous specimen deserves a whole point of its own. If you happen to be there around May, you’ll find it everywhere. I was confused why it was available. One place that sold me an avo milkshake, guacamole, and an avo sandwich told me there’s mountains nearby that are the perfect conditions for avocado growth. Another reason to never leave.

5: The atmosphere

Everyone here is so chilled. It’s the kind of place that half of the bars and shops are run by people that visited and forgot to leave. It gives it such a diverse, international vibe. Everyone is happy to look out for each other, and is super inclusive.

Pai well and truly stole my heart. I went there on a whim, and was so glad I did. I’ll be back for sure, and hopefully you will too!

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