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Thailand has treated me well. I have been here for a total of two months and experienced a variety of things that the country has to offer. Koh Phangan and Pai are for sure my favourite places to visit. In Pai, my friend and I searched for places that are worth the visit and not really touristy. In this article, I will give you my three best tips.
To see the most beautiful sunset, everyone will probably advise you to go to the Pai Canyon. That’s pretty good advise because the Pai Canyon is insanely beautiful and watching the sunset over there is a real treat. A downside to this place is that it is very touristic and also used as an outside photo studio for all types of Instagram pictures.
An undiscovered place someone told me about is called Stone Forest. It reminded me a little of anime series and movies like Avatar or Spirited Away. When you hike into the fields for about ten minutes, you’ll find a little hill with a lot of big stones and an amazing view over the valley and mountains. Going here at the end of the day, instead of Pai Canyon, you’ll have the entire place to yourself to watch a very romantic and beautiful sunset.
Undiscovered nature by mountain bike
Okay, for this one, you need to be quite fit and a little adventurous. I was in Pai with my friend that I met at a volunteering project and we both care about the environment. We didn’t really want to drive around on a scooter all day every day. That’s why we decided to rent a mountain bike and conquer the mountains. Renting a bike only costs, just like a scooter, 150 baht per day.
Going up the steep hills in the burning sun was not the easiest thing to do, but we still loved it. It was a great workout and a lot of locals passing us were smiling and cheering us on. After a while of only cycling upwards we stopped at the side of the road and discovered that we could climb down to find the most magical, undiscovered little piece of nature that we had seen thus far. It was a small water stream coming from higher up in the mountains, with soft sand and stone terraces. No one was there and no one could see us. We bathed ourselves in the water, saw crazy birds, trees and insects, and meditated for a while. I personally have never felt more connected to the earth as I did that day.
Life of Dacha
A place I discovered just before leaving Pai to go to Koh Phangan is called Life of Dacha. It’s a place kind of hidden in a corner of the centre of Pai. The place is very relaxed and they often organise dance nights different than the regular party scene. The dance floor is in their big garden, the sound system is really nice and you can just go on stage and play every instrument that’s there (even if you don’t know how). The place is very open-minded and relaxed: some people chill in the grass and have good conversations while others are dancing like nobody's watching. You will find no judgement here, just enjoyment.
Although I really love Pai, I did start to long for beautiful beaches that Koh Phangan offers. Gladly it’s easy to travel south. Just book a minivan (they leave every hour) to Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai, you have two options. If you’re not in a hurry then I advise travelling the traditional and environmental-friendly way: by train or bus. You will first go to Bangkok and from there to Koh Phangan. But, if you don’t want to spoil your time on the road, then you can also fly to Koh Samui or Surat Thani. Keep in mind that this way you will also always have a layover at Bangkok. Koh Phangan is really worth it, ‘though.