This is solely based on my experience and not sponsored.
Hi Guys! It’s been a while since my last blog. I just came back from my trip to Northern Thailand and brought so many memories to ponder and share with you. 🙂
To begin with, I traveled to Chiang Mai to visit my blogger friend Pretty, Wild, World who’s currently based there. After chilling and eating so much street foods in Chiang Mai, we decided to spend a night in Pai.
Pai is a small town located in the northwest of Chiang Mai, Thailand and it’s near the border of Myanmar. Due to its proximity from Chiang Mai (about 2.5-3 hours by drive), there are regular minibusses that come and go there. The minibus is the far most common transportation to visit Pai. For only 150 Thai baht (4,22€) one way, you’re good to go there. You can either book a ticket beforehand via the internet or buy it directly from the ticket booth counter in the bus terminal.
It lies in the mountainous area and the road to go there is mostly curvy and sharp. So if you usually get carsick, it is better to take a medicine prior the trip to lessen up your suffering. Coz mind you, it’s not an easy trip.
We reserved our hotel room for one night at Pai Country Home from booking.com. For only 12€, we already had a decent room with AC, own bathroom, and balcony. It’s also just one step away from the city center. Quite convenient and cheap right? Though Pai is already a major hub for westerners and backpackers, many establishments prefer to have a cash transaction including our hotel. That’s why it is good to have an extra in case of emergency.
We arrived at Pai in the late afternoon, we then roamed around the city center and along the Pai river. The moment we stepped out in the street, we already felt its cozy atmosphere. No wonder that a lot of foreigners opt to stay longer or even live there permanently.
We spent our evening in the night market and looked for a restaurant that caters Khantoke or Khan Tok. It is a wooden tray with a stand that usually used by Northern Thai people as a small dining table. We found Huan Khan Tok and it’s just beside Pichai House. It’s easy to find coz it’s along the night market road.
Traditionally, Northern Thai people sit on the floor when dining and they use a khantoke tray to keep off the food from the ground. They usually serve food at khantoke tray on special occasions. However, there’s no particular food that is being served on khantoke as it varies according to social rank.
On our way back to our hotel, we saw that farm fields were getting burn. Actually, late February up to March is not a good time to visit Northen Thailand coz it’s the peak of the burning season. Farmers usually do it to prepare for their next crop. The air quality is pretty bad and it’s not advisable for babies and adults that suffer from asthma and allergies. Therefore, many travelers are avoiding Northern Thailand this time of the year. It is also a dry season so it’s quite notable that most plants and waterfalls are dried. Hence, we did not bother to visit the latter.
The morning after, we already checked out from our hotel and with all our stuff, we started to tour around Pai. Getting around there is quite easy with a motorcycle. In fact, many locals have motorcycle renting business. We rented a motorcycle for a day plus vehicle insurance for only 219 Thai baht (6€). If you are two sharing, this is relatively cheap.
Our first stop is the Pai Grand Canyon. It was freaking hot at that time but we still decided to hike on top of it. The view is just majestic. You can see the whole Pai. Unfortunately, the sky was not clear due to smog-forming on air.
After that, we drove directly to Land Split. It is basically land that has been split due to an earthquake. It is private own property but after the split, the owner has opened it to the public as a tourist attraction. There’s no fee in visiting the land but a little donation is much appreciated. The owner also offers free cold rosella juice and snacks picked from his own land after looking around the place.
On the same road of Land Split but a little farther is another tourist attraction in Pai. It is called Bamboo Bridge or locally known as Boon Ko Ku So. Never underestimate the road to the Bamboo Bridge coz it is quite rural, stiff and a lot of up and downhill. Always wear a helmet and drive slowly for your own safety. Entrance fee is 30 baht. It is literally a long bridge made out of bamboo. While walking in the middle of the bridge, you’ll have a chance to see a wide stretch of rice fields and mountains. At the end of it is a temple.
We also passed by the Memorial Bridge on our way back to the main city. It was remarkable site coz it was the bridge that was used by the Japanese to transport weapons to Burma, Myanmar during World War II. Nowadays, it is one of the tourist places in Pai.
After sweating out from hiking and walking, we drove back to Pai city center and stopped by at Coffee in Love Cafe. It is along the main road and has a nice landscape view of Pai. Unfortunately, we were in a rush to catch our bus back to Chiang Mai so we just stayed there for a couple of minutes.
Though despite in a hurry, we missed the last bus that goes to Chiang Mai. We had to stay another night in Pai and swiftly booked a room and bus ticket online. Since our cash budget was QUITE TIGHT, we chose the cheapest room. (We had our atm and credit cards with us but we just didn’t want to pay the extra withdrawal charge)
Anyways, we were so happy and amazed that for only 6 euro, we were able to secure our night at Monkey House 2. We got a small nipa hut house with a small electric fan, mattress and pillows, towels, and a mosquito bed canopy.
Having 260 baht (7.19 €) as our remaining cash, we still had a proper evening meal and took home big mineral water with us.
Generally, Pai is very laid back and a good place to visit or stop by in Northern Thailand. People are very welcoming and the array of food selection was just fantastic. From westerner food to local food, you can find it easy peasy there. If you love nature hopping, food tripping, trekking, or even just being lazy, then this is your place to go.
Have you also been to Pai, Thailand before? What are your thoughts about it? Shall I write about Thai Local Food next time? Please comment below 🙂