Bright and early a small bus arrived to pick the five of us up from Thailandwow. The three hour minibus ride was an experience in itself. This route is famous among motorcyclists, three hours of what must have been over 100 tight turns up and down the rolling hills of northern Thailand. Something we are still adjusting to is the real lack of law-abiding drivers. There seems to also be a serious lack of patience amongst the drivers, it was pretty terrifying watching our driver weave around scooters and other busses with at times over 100 foot drops just a couple feet from the edge of the road.
We arrived safely then parted ways to our separate hostels. Thrilled to say that we for sure chose the better place to stay, Spicy Pai Hostel! This place was AMAZING. Only a couple years old, it had new amenities amongst a truly old Thai country feel. Set amidst a rice paddy field about a 10 minute walk from Pai's city center, we felt like we were back at summercamp in 4 story tiered bunk beds in a bamboo bungalow, hay-thatched roof and all! There was a fabulous common area with hammocks to chill in and meet other travelers. We had only booked 2 nights here but loved it so much that we decided to stay for 5. Oh and should probably note that we also got Chili Pepper tattoo's to remember what an amazing time we had.
The city itself is quite small and super bohemian. Ton's of small restaurants and bars with people from all over the world working there. There is a market street that bustles in the evening and is a must to walk up and down, try the food and make some small purchases. Our favorites were the grilled corn and these mini coconut pancakes. Along the river there are some lively bars like The Sunset View, Bamboo Bar and Don't Cry. Everynight we had here was fantastic. One night, after meeting some mutual friends from Canada at Spicy, we staked out along the river, ate some special champignons, and shared travel stories, lit fireworks and sent our wishes into the night sky with paper lanterns.
The food here was also fantastic. Myself and Danielle have been making a relatively good effort to eat healthy, so we often seek out Vegetarian/Vegan joints. Pai had an amazing selection of fresh and healthy restaurant options. We found our favorite place was called "The Good Life". I think we came here 4 times, fresh salads, juices, wheatgrass shots, amazing curry, gluten free cookies... the list goes on and on. The atmosphere here was so cool as well- shelves upon shelves filled with wheatgrass plants and books you could swap with your own.
Pai was the type of place you could plan on coming to for a few days and end up staying for months ( we met so many people who had done just this!) We feel so lucky to have had such a great experience here and could both totally see ourselves going back one day.