Pai – the laidback capital of northern Thailand!
I had the great pleasure to stay in a delightful guest house in the center of Pai town. Apart from the friendliness of the owner (Nu) which is expected, I was not prepared for the welcome I received from others nearby.
Within a week, I was befriended by local business owners and passers by alike.
I was in the Evergreen Guesthouse (soon to become Eden Cottages, due apparently to a change in taxation status)and met the owners of the bamboo tattoo shop across the road, the operators of the guesthouse next door, the massage shop and adjacent cookery school, the local mayor, who was renovating a nearby building and the proprietors of two local restaurants.
In each case I was greeted as a friend and that friendship was actively pursued without any apparent agenda for profit.
I quickly developed a habit of having breakfast coffee at a convenient roadside table at the front of the guesthouse and almost without exception I was greeted by everyone who passed…from children going toschool, to housewives heading off to the shops, and business people going about their work.
The Pai environment is very pleasant. It is typically Thai with the occasional ‘odd’ pong, electricity poles which appear to have been hit with a bucket load of black spaghetti and bits of paper and junk left on the sides of the street, but it is without doubt the most friendly and accommodating town I have ever visited.
And then there is Na’s Kitchen which it seems to me, sells the world’s best Thai tucker. Na, the co-owner dubbed me “loom David”(uncle), which I took as a great compliment. It was there that I learned Chang Light beer is the pale equivalent to Chang Dark….and not a low alcohol beer as I had expected.
Pai is indeed everything good which is documented in blogs and articles across the internet, and its appeal is equal for dreadlocked teens to 60+ travelers..with activities, bars, tours and so much more.
But for me geography, culture and tourist trappings take a second place to the welcoming and accommodating nature of the locals.
It is a wonderful place to gather one’s thoughts and to relax surrounded by a friendly, happy people!.