Pai #1

Here, I'm throwing another photo-heavy post at you. Near the end of 2012 a girlfriend and I made our way along the treacherous road to Pai from Chiang Mai. The actual road itself is riddled with potholes, steep curves and, apparently, 762 bends. It was a nightmare, although I do recommend that same old hired 110cc scooter I mentioned before as the vehicle of choice. There's just nothing that beats that adrenaline rush you get from sliding over every stone, or that "flying" feeling you experience when your tyres lose their grip on the road. And if you're lucky, you might witness a fellow scooter-driver plop on the road in front of you. If you're not so lucky, you might be the scooter-driver who ends up being squished by a truck - Falang Roadkill. Nice.

All in all, Pai is a lovely place, if a bit small. Go for a weekend in high season - you'll experience everything from waterfalls and bungalows to jazzed up guest houses and crowds of young party-minded tourists. It's awfully easy to forget you're in rural Thailand when you're casually hanging out at a flashy pool party getting chatted up by army guys. And then stopping on the way back to your guest house for a gelato cone and an avo baguette from a street-stall. And, of course, waking up to go get crepes and coffee for breakfast. Yes, this is still Thailand. It's just that you're in Pai now, and life is a little different here.

Typical outskirts of Pai scenery.
A collection of solitary birds hanging in their cages at our guest house.
A Red-Whiskered Bulbul - a commonly caged bird in South East Asia.
Okay, enough of the caged bird photos!
I would like all of the above.
All we need is love.
And cheap cocktails!
The 'Magic Mushroom Crepe' is a fake. Sorry, guys.
DIY filling up.
Some more pretty Pai scenery.
A little pool at a guest house.
Rains in the distance.
Late afternoon.
Somebody scratched this onto a table at a waterfall site. Odd.
The (small) waterfall.
Yes. Okay.
A pretty little house.
A sign at one of the best restaurants in Thailand - Mama Falafel. No joke!
Mmmph. Falafel!
"Are you ting tong?" - a question Pai likes to ask its visitors.
A neat little bar spilling onto the street.
The place to be at 2am for avo baguettes and cheesy garlic bread.
A guest house exterior done right.
Burger Queen. Awesome.
A guest house on top of a popular bar - Yellow Sun.
My friend helping a man draw on his taxi. In the high season there are always taxis trucking people around to parties.
A nice-enough guy who was insistent we go party with him.
A view on the drive home.
Doing it right.
A stop on the way home in the middle of nowhere. Only 643 bends left.


  1. I heard the drive to Pai is really dangerous! Do you think it's smarter for an unexperienced driver to go alone or to take a bus?

  2. Definitely take a bus! The adrenaline wears off pretty fast on a bike, and you've still got a trillion twists and turns to get through. Not fun!

  3. I went with a friend on bikes. the best ride ever. it was not so much about adrenaline but about feeling the land smelling the woods and turning. you don't go fast on this road, you enjoy the landscape...I would have hated doing it with a bus...! every road can be dangerous. there was almost no traffic. This is one of the less dangerous I have done though...:-)

  4. Oh yes, I have been twice on bikes. The second journey was on my CBR 150cc which was a whole lot more fun than a shaky little scooter =)

    I am just saying inexperienced drivers should take a minivan, even though they are supposedly death-traps on wheels. Whatever you do, it needs to be slow, and like you said, you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery much better that way.

    And also, I have heard the traffic changes depending on when you go. When I first went in October 2012 during the day, the roads were actually quite busy, and we saw so many horrible accidents! But when I went again in May 2013, the roads were empty =) I'm glad you enjoyed your trip though! It's a lovely place.

  5. I would suggest using the AYA rental service in Chiang Mai. You can rent your bike in Chiang Mai and return in Pai. They will even haul you luggage to Pai for you so you can ride baggage free. The ride is great...a bit challenging but if you take your time you'll be fine. I highly suggest the ride:)

  6. Looks like you guys had an awesome adventure. Am I Ting Tong Too?? =P

  7. Thanks Ryan =) And Gabriel, you could be! It depends if you're the right mix of silly and crazy!

  8. My partner and I did The Loop last August (in a car!), and were pleasantly surprised by Pai; we thought it would be overrun with tourists but it wasn't - probably because it was the rainy season!

    Your pic of the cheesy garlic bread stall is also our cheesy chips lady... best chips in the world as far as we are concerned! We were staying in a fab place just outside Pai, so in the evenings we'd drive in, grab some veggie lasagne from one stall, cheesy chips (in a banana leaf basket), and banana and Nutella roti from another stall, and then take it back to our bungalow! Definitely the best food in Pai .... we weren't that impressed with the rest of it, especially not Mama Falafel's. Mind you, one thing that put us off food in general there was all the smoking in the caf├ęs and restaurants - horrible!

    Did you see 'Jack Sparrow' while you were there? Funny guy!

    1. This post is actually about the first time I went to Pai, which was October 2012. It was really busy at that time!

      And my friend and I were addicted to the street food - it felt so exciting compared to what we were used to in Chiang Mai.

      Mama Falafel's wasn't that bad for me, but then again, I thoroughly miss falafels in Thailand - they used to be a staple for me back home! Pai definitely spoils you with food options though - I loved the Witching Well.

      And no, I didn't get to meet Jack Sparrow! I have seen pics of him online though. Well done to him for being anonymously semi-famous, haha!

  9. Very pretty pics :)