Pai has long been considered Thailand’s hippie paradise of the North. Its stunning natural beauty, laid-back atmosphere, bounty of wellness practices and healthy food options will likely keep it a soul searchers haven for years to come.
Pai is a small town close to the Myanmar border in Mae Hong Son Province, roughly 146 kilometres (91 miles) northwest of Chiang Mai. Nestled in the mountainous jungle, the town has long been a hot spot for backpackers looking for a holistic sanctuary. At first glance, the atmosphere is similar to a laid-back Thai island, but dig a little deeper and you will soon see that this is a magical hippie paradise waiting to be discovered.
The landscape and scenery around Pai are stunningly beautiful and a nature lovers dream come true. Pai is also a wellness haven, offering yoga and meditation retreats. Kombucha and wheatgrass shots, as well as turmeric and chai lattes, are offered at numerous cafes. Healthy eating is also easy in Pai with local Thai, foreign and health-conscious restaurants. For brilliant, authentic and MSG-free Thai food try Na’s Kitchen, or if you are craving that vegan bliss ball or harvest salad head to The Good Life.
Accommodation also caters to the hippie lifestyle with hardly any flash resorts and no huge multi-story mega hotels. Simple thatch bungalows by the Pai River, or tucked away in the lush jungle on the outskirts of town, are more popular here. However, the real favourite for those that identify with the hippie lifestyle is the Pai Circus School & Guest House, a gathering of all walks of life. Here you can practice juggling, hula hooping and fire dancing, have your chakra realigned, or sit around a fire pit exchanging travel stories with like-minded folks. Many wandering souls intend to come to Pai for a few days, and months later still find themselves living the good life.