Pai – Popular Mountain Resort and Farang Enclave in Northern Thailand

If you’d like to disappear off the face of the map and drop out from the real world, there is no better place than Pai, a very pleasant mountain resort and dedicated farang enclave in Thailand’s northern province of Mae Hong Son.The mountain air is clean and crisp and free of pollution, and during the dry season, the morning temperature is below 50F and at night, a comfortable 65F. So bring a sweater or light jacket during the dry season, November – May.

Pai is “A real United Nations Village” as in a short amount of time, one will meet people of so many different nationalities – Israelis, Swedes, Canadians, young Japanese backpackers, Flemish, Finns, Dutch, Germans, Aussies, Kiwis, French, Italians, Brits, Swiss, Spaniards and a token Yankee or two. Although somewhat devoid of Thai ambiance per se, there is something special and magical about this rural mountain resort. The most popular activity in Pai is getting high, hanging around any number of small cafes shooting the breeze with fellow farang travelers. In addition, a lot of artistic types – writers, poets, watercolorists, musicians etc – find Pai a perfect place for their creative juices to flow and have made it their permanent abode.

In an odd sort of way, arriving in Pai is sort of like entering “The Twilight Zone”. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to, Twilight Zone was a popular science fiction sitcom in the 1960′s. Many visitors stay in Pai for months or years, never to go back to their westernized home country or to the trappings of real civilization. I believe that many visitors’ stay in Pai comes to an end when their traveler’s visa expires. Some of these dropouts make the run across the border to Myanmar and get their visa extended. Like I said, many people disappear in Pai and never return to the life they left behind.

“You’re travelling to another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound… but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are only that of the imagination… you’re entering… the Twilight Zone”