'Do nothing in Pai', read the postcards. This seems to the measure of it. It is, we think, our favourite place so far.
The road to Pai, famously known by Thais as '1095', was quite spectacular. Our rickety old bus spluttered and wheezed its way up and around the winding mountain pass, sounding, most of the time, as though it was about to stop altogether. We did make it, though, and arrived to find a fabulously peaceful little town full of hippies (both Thai and Western) tucked in amongst the lush green rice paddies and tree plastered mountains.
We wandered with our packs until we found Pai River Lodge, which was down a little dirt track running parallel to the River Pai. We were greeted by the lovely Yom and his freshly squeezed passionfruit juice, before being shown ro a wonderful little bamboo hut on stilts, overlooking the sleepy river. Utopia! We even had our very own hammock from which to drink in the beautifully unspoilt scenery which rolled up to our doorstep. (Well, if bamboo huts had doorsteps, then that is where it would roll to.)
Wandering around the four little streets that constitute Pai reveals a number of juice bars and bakeries, ethnic clothes shops and cosy live music venues, as well as the all important abundance of massage shops. The streets are really quiet and peaceful, more of a home to the flowing trousered, waistcoat wearing hippies who trundle about on mopeds and pushbikes than of anybody else in particular. Dogs rest in the shade along the sides of the road and old women with no teeth sit on street corners weaving brightly coloured bags and purses. The hammocks in the handwoven hammock shop swing lightly in the breeze. There is very little movement.