Why Pai, Thailand, Is a Hippie Paradise

Pai has gorgeous natural beauty all around
Pai has gorgeous natural beauty all around | © Julian Peters / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Iona Proebst
4 September 2021

Pai has long been considered the hippie paradise of Northern Thailand. Its stunning natural beauty, laid-back atmosphere, bounty of wellness practices and healthy food options will likely keep it a soul searcher’s haven for years to come.

You’ll find plenty of healthy restaurants in Pai | © Image Professionals GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Pai is a small town close to the Myanmar border in Mae Hong Son Province, roughly 146km (91mi) 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 if you dig a little deeper, 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 lover’s dream come true. It 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.

Fire dancers are a common sight in bohemian Pai | Courtesy of Pai Circus School and Guesthouse / Booking.com

The accommodation also caters to the hippie lifestyle, with hardly any flash resorts and no huge multistorey mega-hotels in Pai. Simple thatch bungalows by the Pai River or in the lush jungle on the outskirts of town are more popular here. However, the real favourite for those who identify with the hippie lifestyle is the Pai Circus School and Guesthouse, a gathering of all walks of life. Here you can practice juggling, hula hooping and fire dancing, have your chakras realigned, or sit around a firepit 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 in this chilled little town.

Pai is a wellness haven, with many yoga retreats available | Courtesy of Pai Circus School and Guesthouse / Booking.com

Feeling inspired? You can travel to Pai with Culture Trip as part of our immersive nine-day adventure around Northern Thailand. Led by a local insider, you’ll be fast-tracked to all the coolest destinations and get a much deeper cultural insight along the way.

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