It Started With Pai

Hey friends, It’s the first time I’ve really had my own space and consistent WiFi in a month to write a blog post.

I’m currently sitting in my hotel room in Bangkok waiting to take a shuttle bus to the airport to take my flight home. My flight is at 2:30 am and I’m having difficulty coming to terms with leaving. As a result, I’m feeling a little restless and even slightly anxious. Writing about my time in Thailand should help!

My teaching contract ended April 7th and since then I’ve been travelling around Thailand because I mostly stayed in the surrounding area of my school throughout my contract to save money. I visited Pai, Chiang Mai, Ko Chang Island and Bangkok. It has been beyond an amazing experience and I’ll do my best to put some of it into words for you.

I started with travelling to Pai, a small town in northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province, near the Myanmar border. I spent the night in Chiang Mai and then the next morning took a very windy road up a mountain road for three hours in a mini van to get there. Luckily, I have a strong stomach. I had heard many wonderful things about Pai. I was told that the ‘vibe’ is great, the people are great and the food is great. Unfortunately I came to believe otherwise.

The streets were packed with, in my opinion, poser hippy backpackers wearing elephant patterns and throughout my stay I was consistently disappointment by their obnoxious attitudes and lack of respect for Thailand and its people. The town of Pai lacks authenticity. The only Thai people I saw were behind a counter serving tourists and this bothered me, having just come from 6 months of being in a city where I was one of the only foreigners around. However, I did meet some wonderful travellers on the same page as me, and we had a great time touring the country side via motorbike, eating, exploring, and having drinks. I stayed at a hostel called PaiZen Resort, and although very rustic, I really enjoyed sleeping in the open air and for a few nights and even skipped using my bed altogether and slept in a hammock. There’s something really special about opening your eyes in the morning to seeing the sunrise over the mountains.

I’m thankful to have met some really cool, genuine people despite my frustration with many others. I spent most of my time with a group comprised of folks from Holland, Germany, and Peru. It was really interesting and enriching to spend time with people from all over the world, each with their own stories, interests and perspectives. Now that we’ve parted ways, we may never see each other again. For the three days we spent together though, we were friends and took care of each other.

I believe that if I were to have stayed longer in Pai, maybe I could have gotten passed the hippy backpacker feel and found some authenticity by staying further away from the town itself. However, I only stayed for three days in town. I was also there during the driest time of the year, so instead of fields of lush green, most areas were brown from the heat. I highly value my time spent there and the people I met, but I couldn’t wait to leave and move on to Chiang Mai for the Songkran water festival.

My favourite part of Pai:

  • Renting a motorbike and exploring the hilly country side with a new friend as a passenger
  • The mushroom shakes
  • Meeting interesting people
  • Pai Canyon sunset
  • The hammock at my hostel

My least favourite part of Pai:

  • Too much partying/drugs
  • Not authentically Thailand
  • Most of the ‘backpackers’ were extremely annoying to me

I’ll write more about the rest of my travels on my layover in Shanghai!

To be Continued . . .  🙂

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