For our long weekend we cherished a magical 4 days in Pai (pronounced more like "bye" than "pie"). My dear friend Emma found a circus school and has been living there for the past few weeks, so we had to check it out.
Fair warning to anyone planning on going to Pai, the bus ride from Chiang Mai is absolute hell. I do not say that lightly. Over 1000 turns and twists winding up the mountain, you are lucky if you can take even a brief nap. Also you are very lucky if no one pukes in the bus (we had 2 out of the 10 people in our bus vomit...with an hour to go in the ride). I found myself becoming exceedingly irritated that I couldn't just sit still, I had to be thrown from side to side every couple seconds...for nearly 3 hours. Soo best of luck to everyone.
Like this...for 3 hours.
The best way I can describe Pai is like Vegas for hippies, except you kind of want to stay in the utopian paradise forever instead of desperately trying to leave after 3 days like the real Vegas...but both are good at taking a lot of your money. You will get more than your fair share of colorful knicknacks, tea that is renamed "healing potion", large portioned western food, those printed market pants every white person in Thailand must own, body paint, drink specials, open mics (which I got to sing at!), and of course, the circus.
We spent the days wandering around the markets, eating far too much fruit and noodles, and scouring Muslim shops for things we don't need. We found a waterfall that left me absolutely speechless. At the circus we played with fire and hula hoops, relaxed and doodled, jammed on the guitar and sang songs together.
The people I met in the short days I was in Pai were some of the most radiant humans I've met in a while, thank you for a magical weekend.
I hope to return to Pai and photograph more and spend time with these incredible people. If anyone is interested in joining the circus, check out their Facebook page for more information. I also forgot to mention they just finished building a pool that over looks all of the city...yes a real pool and it IS as magical as it sounds.