I decided to go to Pai, 3h north to Chiang Mai as the location itself seemed to be quite nice; the landscape on some pictures I saw was stunning. About the town itself I heard so many different opinions that I had to check it for myself. Some say its beautiful and chilling, others said its a party town with lots of wannabe hippies. I have to say it is all of that. I got the peace I wanted as I stayed in a hotel (yes, my first own bungalow instead of hostels after a while of travelling) around 15 minutes away from the center, it has a pool and some nice places to chill. The place is called Paitopia (Bungalow 400 Baht) and its pretty cute apart from all the ants who liked to enter my room.
In the city you get cheap food as always (35 Baht per meal) but you can also spend a lot in touristy western food. You got lots of bars – so yes, you can do partying but there are also places you can escape from it. On the nightmarket you can find some Thai hippies as well as some western looking people with dreads. A bit of everything I would say – just take what you like. There are massages places as well as yoga places.
I did some classes in the thaibox center (in the same road as Paitopia) – seriously – we practiced in the ring! Quite a cool location though unfortunately the teacher wasn´t there those days and the clases were done by one of his students which lets say, can be improved as the asana sequence didn´t had much logic at all. But this is a personal thing as well. I just never did it that way and for me it didn´t felt right. We just were on the floor, went to a standing postition, back to the floor and so on. Anyway in case you want to check it out, classes are every day at 10am and 5m.
Apart from this, there is yoga almost every day at 9h30 in the Circus hotel.
I didn´t spend too much time in the center. During the day there are plenty of things you can do around having a scooter so I did one hike, went to a couple of waterfalls and sightseeing points, the Chinease village (a bit fake…), the white buddha and the bamboo bridge. Another highlight was definitely the elephant sanctuary. It is not the typical tourist rip-out but a privately owned farm where they try to reforest the land and additionally have 2 elephant ladies which were both pregnant. They charge 500 Baht as a donation and you just get to hang-out with the elephants the whole afternoon. They give you pumpkin en-mase so you can feed them for hours – and they eat a lot! They need around 200kg of food every day!
I would say the best thing is just to drive around, the nature is so beautiful and just let yourself flow within the vibe. As with all previous destinations, I met great people to hang around with which made this one another place of where I could have stayed longer.
Now its time to move on. Next stop: Luang Prabang in Laos. Before that: one day in the bus and two days in the slowboat on the Mekong to cross the boarder. New days and new adventures to come.