Pai, Thailand

Although a shorter post by nature, given we spent but one night in Pai, we felt it notable given the unique and easy atmosphere of this little town. We arrived in the late afternoon via a windy ride on a shuttle bus from Chiang Mai, stepping out into a bustling street of backpackers spilling out of every juice shop, cafe and sidewalk travel agency. Motorbikes buzzed around in the midst of cyclists and vendors moving their carts about, but the town overall took on a very laissez faire feel. Known to be more of a “hippie town”, given travelers come from all over for it’s widely regarded yoga retreats, by day it’s an easy place to relax and by night an even easier place to unwind. We’re sure there’s much more to explore if you visit on your own, but here are a few of our limited but favorite highlights:

Must stay

Darling View Point Bungalows. The bungalows are set atop a hill a bit outside of the center of town. Besides the incredible views at sunset, the short walk from the town to reach your bungalow is a special journey in itself. You’ll cross over a walking bridge made of bamboo (it shakes a bit but it’s surprisingly solid), onto a dirt road that winds through a small farm where you’ll catch a few glances of neighboring cows, up a slightly steep hill to your room. A heartwarming story about the woman who owns it, and for many reasons why all of her guests rave about their experience- she was rescued by one of her prior guests years ago from a flood where she almost died. In her own way to give back, she now ties a bracelet onto the wrists of everyone who stays smiling all the while, telling you she “loves you, and it’s good luck to have a bracelet tied on you from someone else, and she’ll love you forever and ever”

Must imbibe

Any craft beer or cocktail at Jikko Cocktail Bar. U (likely spelling his name incorrectly) is the owner of this niche boutique craft beer and cocktail bar in Pai. It’s on the main road and, in line with the growing hipster style, is paneled floor to ceiling in rich dark wood, with a TV in the corner showing old cartoons. U imports some of the finest beers in the world to his small location (ranging from Japan, Germany, Belgium, USA and Laos to name a few) with Chang on tap. He offers a number of craft cocktails as well, and offers wonderful conversation, given he’s a Thai native, but went to school in the US and has had a colorful life to share up to the point of opening Jikko. We truly enjoyed and hope you do as well if you get the chance to visit!

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