It's a small town, with a hippie vibe nestled in the mountains of Northern Thailand. 762 turns to be exact, up and around the mountains from Chiang Mai to Pai. It is a ride not made for the weak of stomach. One woman on our bus was retching most of the way. Once you get there though it is certainly a place you can get lost in, as is evident by the population of young and aging, free-thinking, dred-sporting hippies that have all but taken over the town. Our hotel was about 8km out of town, away from the hustle, at a place called Pai Treehouse. That is right, we stayed in a legit tree house.
We arrived in the evening, so we could hardly take in the coolness of our situation until the next day, but ladder climbing into the trap door of your hotel room definitely makes an immediate impression.
We decided not to go too crazy on our two day excursion. The hotel was the perfect place to just chill out and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding hills. However, when we heard about Pai Canyon, a popular hiking spot just a short 2km away, the adventurers in Christina, Cece and I just had to check it out. We easily walked the 2km from our resort over wooden bridges, through fields and villages, and along part of the long winding highway to the canyon which was a stunning sight. The hiking paths were along thin ridges that you could see winding their way around the rocky, tree-filled canyon. Parts of the ridges jutted far out into the expanse with a daunting drop below. Other parts of the path you needed to climb to get through. We didn't bring much more than flip-flops with us so many times it was easier to take off our shoes and climb these areas bare footed. We hiked for over two hours, hardly noticing the killer heat of the day, which had to have topped every bit of 90 degrees.
By the time we got back we were exhausted, but we still made an effort to go into town for dinner and to walk the evening market. The food was amazing, no mater what we tried we could not go wrong. Unfortunately the next day was our last and we hopped a van back to Chiang Mai around mid-day. I wish we could have stayed longer. I would have loved to do some more exploring around the area.
For anyone interested it was easy to book a van from the Chiang Mai bus station to and from Pai for only 150 THB (or about $5) each way.