Four hours North of Chiang Mai lies the small village of Pai. It consists mostly of guesthouses and restaurants. A few years ago there were no ATMs, dirt roads, and sleepy locals. Then people like us arrived. We arrived by the thousands. Walking down the streets was like walking through a small Hawaiian town. There were stalls selling anything that you could want. Music was playing out of everywhere, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, and Jack Johnson.
Every morning, Pai is blanketed in a cold mist. The people of Pai dress as if they are living at Everest base camp. Nepalese looking hats, scarves, gloves are all common in Pai. As the sun makes its entry, it slowly burns off the mist and the days get pretty warm.
Little did we know that we would be arriving in Pai for the biggest event of the year, the “Pai Music Celebration”. This was a festival that was a Vans Warped Tour, country fair, and swap meet all in one. Entry fee = about $1. There was a small stage with a local band playing Thai rock music. Then there was a big stage of a Thai band playing Bob Marley covers.
There isn’t much to do in Pai, but that is the appeal. The most popular things are trekking, elephant riding, and white water rafting. The trekking consisted of overnight camping for a couple days and we were only there for one night. The white water rafting was in a river that looked toxic. Brown and slow moving wasn’t appealing, so we opted for the elephants. Very happy that we did!