My love for Thailand significantly increased when I reached Pai. It is a smaller town in the middle of the mountains in NW Thailand. It’s hit like the rest of Thailand during the day, but gets cold like the Rocky Mountains back home in Alberta. I ended up rocking a bunny hug, leggings, and socks and sandals; and then sleeping in a bunny hug, shorts and socks because it dropped down to +6 and I was in a little hut. As soon as I got out of the van and stepped foot in Pai, it had a totally different vibe than any other place I had traveled too so far.
I checked into my hostel; Buzzas Boutique Backpackers, and got to know Mil, one of the ladies who works there well. She first had to teach me how to ride a scooter (a pink one to boot), and then offered to take me with herself and her friends to see the sunset at the Sunset Playground. I learned how to ride a scooter here because it is much safer than in any other city center, my hostel has their own bikes to rent, and because I would have to walk 20 minutes into town every time. Also cabs don’t come out this far or drive by the hostel as much since were slightly out of town which is part of what gives it its charm.
My scooter tutorial essentially was how to turn it on, fill it up with gas, and doing a few loops in the hostel driveway and going across the street and doing the same there. I also have to think about what side of the road I drive on because it’s different than at home. Then she told me I could go, so away I went. It’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be, you just have to be careful around the corners.
Sunset playground was this interesting little bar that is made to look like and old playground for sitting to view the sunset behind the mountains. It was gorgeous and peaceful as it looked over farmland with some animals and because it was quiet. It made you feel closer to nature which is something I enjoy. This is also where I got to meet one of my friends here. She was older than me but very nice. She had been traveling Thailand and had decided to get a visa extension. She is very spiritual and helped me feel more grounded and safe know that another Albertan was here and had similar anxieties even though there was an age gap. I am very appreciative of her and her advice. I also ran into her again the following day.
There is a giant white Buddha and Wat to see up on a hill, you can choose to walk to take a scooter up (very happy I learned to ride a scooter), and there are also natural hot springs to go see. The hot springs were neat as you had the more man made ones that people were swimming in and then you have the natural ones about 50m away up a slight hill. Here, people were boiling eggs in it. Some things continue to surprise me here. As you continue to follow the paved path you come across another one that says “do not boil eggs” it made me crack a laugh (see what I did there haha).
The first night I spent in a private bungalow at buzzas and the second night, I stayed at the same place but in a private room that was massive. I highly recommend this place to anyone who may be travelling here, it’s very laid back and very hippie. They also have a campfire going every night which helps keep the misquotes away as there can be a risk for malaria since you are close to the Burma border.
I also had the opportunity to go to Pai Canyon and watch the sunset. It’s about a 15 minute drive on my scooter from my hostel. I recommend going here for sure. It reminded me of Drumheller, Alberta but with tons of vegetation.
Pai I feel has provided a way for me to feel grounded again. I ended up at the right place in the right time and met some amazing people. Many my age and a couple that were wiser. This was the perfect place to end my Thailand journey.