THE ROAD TO PAI
Love potions, magic brownies, motorcycle accidents. To be honest, this time last week, my expectations of Pai weren’t terribly high. A little mountain township nestled in the jungle north of Chiang Mai, Pai is a magnet for backpackers and hippie types – and with good reason: you can travel there and back in air-conditioned comfort for the grand sum of 300 baht (about $13). Central Pai is overflowing with cheap guesthouses and bars, and at night, the main thoroughfare turns into a walking street, offering travellers banana pancakes, fruit smoothies and hot food of all varieties in exchange for little more than loose change. It’s easy and affordable to hire a scooter (or bicycle, like we did); each of the scenic roads that stretches out from central Pai into the hills leads to a waterfall, hot spring, hill village or fishing spot of some kind. Yes, the town is brimming with gorgeous vistas of verdant rice fields, bike trails and tasty street food, but would you blame me for saying my favourite thing about Pai was our accommodation?
PAI VILLAGE BOUTIQUE RESORT & FARM
Centrally located, Pai Village is a five-minute walk from the bus station. Just follow the main street towards the river and around the right-hand bend. The hotel itself is set well back from the road, so it truly feels completely removed from the gentle energy of the town centre. We loved the breakfast spread (especially the honeycomb, which was so fresh it still had the bees attached) and the hotel’s friendly staff. Best of all, we loved the rooms: private cabins of various sizes linked together by lantern-lit pathways. The grounds here are incredibly well-kept and although we didn’t get a chance to visit the nearby ‘farm’, there were plenty of activities right on our doorstep to keep us occupied during our three-day stay in Pai.