To pai or not to pai, that is the question…

Before coming to Thailand I heard so many good things about this little hippy place in the mountains north of Chiang Mai, called Pai. I heard you could ride a motorbike there, and this sounded just like my kind of adventure. Ok, so i’m no petrol head but I like bombing about on a scooter from time to time. Surely its a no brainer right?

Since I came north, all I’m hearing is how horrible Pai is. Full of 20 year old wannabe hippies, more travellers than locals etc etc. And my local travel agent (a cute girl call Noi that I like because she’s brutally honest) said I would be crazy wanting to ride a bike to Pai. What if the bike broke down she said.

Good point.

I recalled my brothers hellish motorbike trip to the Himilayas, and then immediately ditched the idea.

I had my heart pretty set on going though, even if by public transport, and this morning after I gave the key back on my scooter bought a mini bus ticket for 179baht, picking me up from my hotel tomorrow morning at 11am.

But now i’m getting cold feet.

Two reasons:

1. This afternoon I did a trip up to the mountain to see the famous Chiang Mai temple, and then we went winding up further to a hill tribe village where opium used to be farmed. The journey was the most intense mountain trip I have ever done – bar of course that frightening trip in Lombok when I went to the Gilli Islands and I genuinely thought I was going to DIE.

Reminiscent of that hairy ride, this half hour slip n slide round hairpin bends made me question:


Then I read this thread (where some travellers debate Pai over another northern town called Mae Hong Son):

When debating why everyone goes to Pai, when Mae Hong Son is better someone says:

“IMO, it’s because most of the backpackers travel to Pai by van, and are so terrified at the experience that they won’t go further. Thai van travel is not for the faint hearted or the weak of stomach, LOL.”

We’re all thinking the same thing, right?

2. Hmm. Can’t remember what my 2nd point was. But i’ve kind of made my argument, right?

So I’m sat here in my hotel, its bed time, I’m tired after little sleep last night and I’m thinking I need to sack off Pai and get myself to Mae Sot instead (another town a bit further south I want to go to, which isn’t really on the tourist map). Mae Sot is the Burmese border town where the Refugee camps and NGOs are. I have secured a meeting with the head of an organisation there that supports young people through training and education; they’re also a social enterprise with some interesting revenue lines, including an arts studio, guest house and coffee shop. They’re called Youth Connect, check em out.

The only snag is that the bus leaves either 6am or 8am daily – so as far as leaving tomorrow is concerned, screw that. I’m tired! I really really really need a lie in tomorrow.

Only tomorrow night I don’t have anywhere to stay at present. But that’s okay. There’s heaps of places, it’s just a case of doing the rounds after breakfast. Again.

I think i’m at the part of this trip where I just need to roll a dice. Indecisiveness. Too relaxed.

I could just not think about it for now, and decide over breakfast 🙂

How’s that for living in the present huh?


Just remembered my second reason for disputing going to Pai.

I hate wannabe hippies.