Nestled in the mountains, Pai is one of Thailand’s best-kept secrets. It eloquently intertwines a social backpacking scene with a nature lover’s paradise. Pai has managed to keep the perfect small-town hippie vibe, amidst waves of expats and other travelers flooding Thailand.
We arrived at Bueng Pai Farm as the sun cast a golden hour glimmer on everything it touched. In this very moment, I fell deeply in love.
The farm lies just outside of the bars and the bustle of town. We specifically searched for housing in Pai that was more authentic, and had less Western comforts then we were used to.
As we were shown to our bungalow, we walked past banana trees, chickens, peacocks, and rows of fresh vegetables, aloe plants and cattle. We were encased in a simple, and serene way of life. Every morning the kitchen was home to warm tea and coffee; fresh eggs and bananas that were gathered only a day prior. Our bungalow was equipped with simple mosquito nets, a rust orange bathroom and a hammock that overlooked a large pond. I was in heaven. We only had a few days here, but we sure did make the most of them.
Pai’s innate peaceful ambience, rolling mountainside and Zen aura crafted a perfect setting for some yoga. We woke up early, scooped up our new French friend on the back of a scooter, and eagerly scurried to a neighboring hostel. We arrived a little out of breath, and running a few minutes late only to find out we had been misinformed. The class was three hours later than we thought. Our French friend, Yohann, had never done yoga before and was greatly looking forward to his first class in Pai. Instead of allowing a deep sense of disappointment to bruise our morning, I turned to Adam and said, “Screw it, let’s make the most of it.” We pulled out three yoga mats and co-led my favorite yoga “class” to date. We gently guided each other through a vinyasa flow session, and even gathered ourselves a joiner. The air was crisp, cool and quiet. Our view was farmland, and mountainside. I’ve never felt more connected to my body and to the world then I did that morning.
Yoga at Deejai Backpackers
After feeding our soul, we needed to feed our bodies. Yohann had showed me a restaurant called Earth Tone only a day prior, however there was a catch. It wasn’t open yet. Eager to introduce Adam to the friendly staff, and organic fresh food we decided to wait it out. What’s the best way to pass the time in Thailand? If you answered “a massage” you’d be correct. We received 30-minute massages, outside, under a tent, with Tiger Balm, and Blue Pea Flower tea for 100 Baht or roughly 3.50 USD. The day so far, was perfect.
Homemade granola with coconut milk from Earth Tone
Earth Tone was open! We took our shoes off (common and polite among Asian cultures), and walked across the bamboo floors to a stretch of restaurant that was built out much like a tree house. We sat on Thai style cushions and began to search through the extensive, raw, vegan and vegetarian menu options. The entire staff- was female. The entire menu-sourced from their garden out back, or local farmers. I would highly recommend this gem to anyone setting foot in Pai.
Food, booze, music, and local artisans were all the best of the best that I experienced in all of Thailand. Perhaps my personality lends more towards loving Pai than another’s would; Perhaps I’m a little biased. Be that as it may, I’ll never forget those few simple, perfect days spent in Pai with lovely company.