I can’t wait to return to Pai in Thailand because I hated my time there.
Okay, hear me out.
I was visiting Pai on advice from the many backpackers I met in Thailand and Malaysia. I decided to skip Chiang Rai in the north and go to nearby Pai instead.
Scenically, Pai is beautiful and sits up in the mountainous region of northern Thailand. But Pai is more than that; it’s a state of mind and a centre for hippies and nature lovers.
However my visit didn’t go how I wanted it to. I can't fault the lodging at Amy’s Earth House. I loved the open air showers and mud huts with wine bottle window panes. The views had me feeling peaceful and relaxed while being lulled to sleep in a hammock. The price was perfect at $12 a night for a dorm bed. The owner friendly and helpful and let me borrow the bicycles to ride at my leisure with just a short ride into town that took me past rice paddies and little local restaurants.
The teeny, tiny problem that ruined my visit to Amy's Earth House was that I was one of the only guests at the time, one of three in fact. The other two guests were Dutch and quite happy to chat to each other in their own language and I felt left out. Am I being childish?
I had a dorm room to myself, a bonus in some towns, but Pai is about connecting to others, about smoothies with your dorm buddy or renting a moto with your new travel buddie for a jaunt around the surrounding hills.
I was also down with a cold for the whole three days I was in Pai and I felt extra miserable for it. I ate the guesthouse restaurant because I was mostly too poorly to bike or walk to town and find food.
So when I did feel up to it, I would bike into town and sit by myself, watching people laugh and down a beer while I'm sitting in a funk, feeling too shy to just go over and introduce myself to people who already looked as chummy as lifelong friends.
Yes, my time in Pai was boring, lonely, miserable and sickly but I understand why people loved it. Serene but lively, Pai is a wonderful temporary home for homesick backpackers with a readymade family waiting to welcome you into their group.
Eventually I will venture back to Pai for another try.
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