Let me first start by saying Pai is a f*cking magical place and you should all go, like now. It’s also the place I honed my hula hoop skills and the place in which I was welcomed to my hut by a man bearing *literal* crystals (when I asked what the different coloured gems were for he relied “healing”, “what all of them?”, “probably”.). Yes it’s a hippie commune by all intents and purposes, yes you may laugh at the impossibly zen staff there who float by with coloured dreads and tanned skin, but it’s so much more than that.
Despite my bohemian tendencies, a hippie I am not, career hippies bore me, it’s kinda passé and they listen to the most boring music. Pai welcomes all; from the dreadlocked stoner to the bucket-hatted shuffler and all have a bloody great time.
My fondest memory is being high in the pool listening to Rihanna ‘Wok’ and watching an american girl practice her interpretive dance skills for an hour – no judgement,, that’s not very Pai. I’m using the tern Pai and Pai Circus School interchangeably because the Circus school *is* Pai. There is another hostel called Purple Monkey but the residents there all come to Circus in the day for messing around with the slackline or at night for a dance and a smoke.
Shout out to Adam from Camden Town who DJed some sweet house by the pool one evening, it had an Ibiza vibe without any posers and I loved it.
I also loved our little hut, which due to the mountains was cool enough to sleep comfortably in at night, sure it was basic, but with a mini speaker, some beers and a great Spotify playlist – it was perfect.
I met so many wonderful people from around the world and the vibe here is very much ‘talk to everyone’ so if you’re a solo traveller you’ll make friends in an instant.
The town of Pai is super lively to say it’s so small, there’s lots of street food (best veggie lasagne I’ve ever eaten, I thank you), bars, restaurants and organic food cafes – if you like juices then this is the place for you! Almost Famous bar is worth a visit but they’re all close together, just pop in wherever is poppin’.
So in conclusion this little hippie haven may be small but it will make a helluva impression! It did on me.
To get to Pai from Chiang Mai you can take a bus for 200THB (£4) which takes around 3 hours. Tickets will normally be available from your hostel or one of the many travel agents in CM.