Paddy fields surrounded by hills and oodles of peace is how I would describe the town of Pai situated in the mountains of Northern Thailand. This town, situated between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son on the scenic highway used to be completely unknown a decade back, but it is now a fairly popular tourist destination. In spite of its popularity, it has a relaxed feel to it.
The Pai river flowing from the mountains gives the town its character. It is this river that made Pai popular through opportunities of river rafting and kayaking on its rapids. This river also forms a scenic drop for those staying near it. Today, this river separates the main town from the village where most of the guest houses and bamboo huts are located.
Apart from river based activities, people come to Pai to indulge in some jungle trekking in its lush forests and see the largest cave system in South East Asia in Sappong that is situated an hour away (56kms away). In the night, the main street of Pai turns into its only night bazaar with a variety of shops and food stalls.
Life here is very simple. You either relax, explore or indulge in some adventure activities here during the day and come evening, you can soak in the festive atmosphere of its night bazaar. When compared to places like Mae Hong Son, Pai definitely has more tourists, but they are all here for a reason. The reason is…Pai is totally worth the visit.