…or not. Part of the charm of Pai is to simply be, without having to actually do much. Lie in your hammock all day and read a book, meander around town at your own pace, or simply sit in a café somewhere with a cup of coffee.
But those with a more active bent will find plenty to fill your hours. Rent a bicycle, motorbike or car, grab the excellent Pai Explorer map and guide and head off.
• Yunnan Chinese Village and Yun Lai View Point
Drive through the picturesque Chinese village, or better yet, stop and grab a bite of some authentic Yunnanese cuisine before hopping onto a horse for a trek around the village. A drive beyond the village will take you to a breathtaking viewpoint where, for 20 baht, a charming old man will offer you a pot of tea and as many bananas as you can eat!
• Pai Piranha Fishing Park
Pai: Where even the piranhas are vegetarians. Actually, the man-made lake at the uber-mellow Pai Piranha Fishing Park, Bar and Guesthouse is stocked with pacu, the not-so-carnivorous cousin of the piranha. Spend an hour or a week hanging out with British Dave and his wife Nat, eating home-cooked food, drinking 50 baht gin and tonics, and trying to catch a pacu of your own at this delightfully unique little spot in the mountains. Fishing costs only 30 baht per hour, including equipment.
Piranha Fishing Park & Guest House – Pai, Thailand
Contact Dave 053 065 187 or 085 707 5074
• Pai Canyon
Grandiosely called the Grand Canyon of Pai, this ridge of rocks offers fabulous sunrise and sunset views over the valley. Watch your step…
• Pai Hot Springs
Put on your bikini or Speedos – if you must – take a towel and head off to the hot springs for a healthy, rejuvenating soak.
Foreigners be warned, national park fees apply!
• International Martial Arts and Meditation Training Camp and Retreat
Develop your chi up on the mountains at this residential martial arts school. Known to be most beautiful when the early morning mist is rising, you can practise Shaolin Kung Fu, Chi Kung, Muay Thai and more in an enigmatic highland setting, whether you are a beginner or advanced. The retreat also offer rehabilitation and addiction programes.
• Art Scene
There is a very vibrant art scene in Pai with mini-galleries, or simply street art to be found all over the place. Check out Pitalew Art Gallery www.pittalew-art.com where a monthly exhibition and party is held during the high season.
Any one of the tour operators will be able to book you on a litany of activities ranging from ATV, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, trekking, zip lining, white water rafting…
There are a few waterfalls within short driving distance of Pai town, each one is well maintained and easy to take a dip in.
For 50 baht, rent a tube and simply float down the gentle Pai River. A wonderful way to take in the views…mind your bottom on the bottom of the river during the dry months!
• 7th Annual Pai Reggae & Ska Festival
Get your rasta on 27-29 January at the Pai Treehouse Resort. Music begins (rather tellingly) at 4:20pm each day, and lasts until 2:00am. Free mini van shuttle service from Pai High School. http://www.paifestival.com/
• Tacomepai Rice Harvest Festival
Come celebrate the new year on an organic farm at this family-friendly festival, featuring musicians, dancers, poets and art. 26-28 December. http://www.tacomepai.com/
• Walking Street
Pai is a sleepy town, but tends to rouse herself each evening for the walking street where villagers display their organic produce, hippies sell their silver jewellery and artists peddle their masterpieces du jour.