Our Pai Adventure
Would you rather watch a video on our Pai adventure then read about it? Head here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIqVuPUbHWs
Study break! Near the end of our time in Chiang Mai, we got a chance to have a chilled few days before heading on the adventure-filled road trip. This wasn’t done in Chiang Mai, rather Pai. It’s a little hippy village located three hours north of the city we had come to call home, known for its beauty and chilled vibes.
Despite what I’ve just wrote, we decided to book ourselves into a party hostel- The Famous Pai Circus. Stay with Hug had a casual vibe where, during the evenings, most people would either be relaxing out the front while socialising or would go elsewhere to party. This place had a completely different feel.
WHAT IS PAI FAMOUS FOR?
The road between Chiang Mai and Pai has a reputation for having an insane amount of bends. There are 762, although there’s so many there was a debate in the group as to how many there actually are. With this exciting addition to the trip, we went through who wanted sick bags and travel medication just as a precaution.
In the end, we were all fine bar some nausea, although one woman who we had picked up on the trip didn’t quite have the same fate. Her and her husband were the first to get off our minibus, and while the driver was getting their suitcases for them, we begun taking photos of the ‘Welcome to Pai’ sign located in front of their hotel. Despite the bumpy (or rather twisty-turny) ride, we had made it!
PAI CIRCUS HOSTEL
All of us bar one ended up in a twelve-bed dorm, so we acquired a few new dorm buddies compared to our usual group since there are only nine of us. Anju, on the other hand, decided to upgrade for the two nights we were staying there into one of their new triangular-shaped huts, which contained a double bed, fan and mosquito net. It was basic but looked great.
The hostel had a pool next to it so the group decided to head there for swimming and sunbathing. Despite Pai being exposed due to its high altitude, the pool was freezing and took some getting used to. Some never went in, others stood in the edge of the pool just enjoying the water whereas Tom and Molly played catch in the deeper end.
The ‘circus’ part of the Famous Pai Circus isn’t just there as a title. Each day for an hour, circus-centric classes are held for free. To break up the chilling, Joe, Jordan and myself tried out some of the classes. Joe and I tried the basics of poi whereas Jordan learnt how to hula hoop.
PAI NIGHT MARKET AND EVENING ACTIVITIES
After sundown, we headed to the night market located in the main part of the village. We noted how insanely cheap it was, even compared to Chiang Mai. Most of us took up the offer of three vegetable spring rolls for 20 baht (just 48p). Other choices were gyoza, smoothies and Indian.
Once we explored the length of the market which was much larger than I expected for a village, we went to a bar for some drinks. Some went for non-alcoholic beverages because they were underage or weren’t in the mood for drinking, whereas others tried buckets. They are quite literally what it says, and only cost 250 baht (£6.03) for a huge amount of alcohol.
Some decided to continue on their partying spree whereas Joe, Jordan and I headed back to the hostel. We got there about midnight, just as their own bar and party was finishing up, and spent some time stargazing before heading to bed. The sky was pristine compared to the more urban Chiang Mai so it was the perfect opportunity.
THE NEXT DAY
Some used the whole time as a break from their studies and stresses so just hung around in the hammocks or in the pool. However, on the second evening, we all headed to Pai Canyon. We paid 100 baht (£2.41) for transport so were expecting a car, but instead of being in one, we were sat at the back of a truck.
While we were a bit shocked with some protesting at first, we loved it. The openness lead to use being completely windswept in the end but the views were much easier to see and appreciate. Admittedly it was really cramped, but none of us felt stiff or in pain as we got off.
Pai Canyon was amazing although a steep, narrow climb. There were 360 views of the mountainous area surrounding the Canyon and plenty of sitting and photo taking areas so we could appreciate and capture the view. Some parts were a little too steep for us and Joe ended up giving some fellow travellers a helping hand at one section, but being there while there was a beautiful sunset at the same time was one of the coolest views in our Thailand section of the semester.
THE FINAL DAY
On the final day, most planned to get a little more tanning and swimming done. Others decided to do a little bit of studying but Joe and Jordan both went around on a motorbike catching some of the views Pai had to offer. This ranged from a WWII bridge to the natural scenery. While the rest of us were at the hostel (which had been chilled, none of us got any party vibes while there), they got plenty of photos of the area around the village.
At the end of the third day, we headed to the village to wait for the minibus. Most of us got snacks from 7/11 since the bus was delayed slightly and relaxed with music and/or Netflix as we went through the curves again.
About the author
Jasmin Dawling is one of Global Grad’s January 2019 students and is completing a full-time Bachelor’s degree with the Open University in International Studies. While this is her first time formally blogging, she has had plenty of writing experience in the past, from novel writing since the age of six to working on the school newspaper. Apart from seeing the sights of South East Asia and working on her degree, Jasmin spends most of her time either procrastinating or writing down her novel ideas, be it on her travelling-inspired new ideas or the 7-part series she’s been toying with for almost ten years.