What to expect, see and do. If looking for places to eat see this post.
Pai is a lovely small village in a worth-exploring mountainous area. Get there by mini-bus and rent a scooter in Pai to have some adventure. Getting there by motorbike from Chiang Mai will challenge you with tons of sharp u-turns so we preferred going by van.
You could either love or dislike the vibe of Pai. With roots in the hippie-world, nowadays it’s getting more mainstream but keeps holding on to the free spirit-vibe. It’s filled up with tourists (farangs) and the comfort level is pretty high so it feels more like home. If you are craving for authentic Thai culture than maybe you should go somewhere else instead. But if you are looking for some like-minded and nice people and good and healthy food than go for it! The eco-consciousness level seemed pretty high but it could be that the sellers are just catering perfectly towards the group of tourists coming here. Let’s hope that this lifestyle and all the food options will spread across the country.
Other than the good vegan food and a comfortable vibe, the surroundings are pretty great as well. Rent a scooter (or bicycle) to extend your range and get a good map (or app) of the area. Canyons, waterfalls and much more to check out.
Just outside Pai there lays Pai Canyon. It is like a miniature Grand Canyon. You can hike around this red sanded area and, if you dare to, cross the thin walkway with unforgiving depths on both sides. (This photo only shows a similar width, we were already close to the ground at this point)
While looking for the Pai canyon we went in a street too early and we stumbled upon a lady with a small farm overlooking a small lake. Here we could walk through her fields with labeled plants, try all the fruit she grew, she also gave us fried banana strips and roasted peanuts and she made us some fresh hibiscus tea. Although we didn’t ask for any of this, the pregnant lady was very kind and her small farm was fun to walk through. For all the lovely food we got we could give a donation in the end.
You can find this farm just in front of the ‘land split/crack’. Which we didn’t go to because it looked a bit boring compared to the canyon. Although cute and authentic, I wouldn’t say this little farm is the main attraction, the area has enough other things to do. Check out the waterfalls and if you’re into it, go to the memorial bridge.
Vegan food in Pai
Pai is very good for vegan cravings. Check out here were I ate!
Place to sleep
We slept for almost a week in the Mountainview Guesthouse and its bungalows. A secluded and beautiful spot a bit outside of town. You could walk to the resort but the owner offers a pick up from town if you need it. Private bungalow for two costed only 250 baht per night.
So go to Pai if you want to cruise around a nice area and experience having (more) vegan and healthy food options. A vegan-friendly town found in between beautiful mountains.