Oh, Pai. What to say about you? You are magic, you are mountains, you are chill, you are art.
I spent three nights in Pai (or was it four? five? it's hard to tell) and loved almost every minute of it. I traveled from Chiang Mai on my own, without knowing anyone, and chose a hostel up on the mountain that so many people had recommended. And it was lovely -- you know, except for the bed bugs it's famous for and the toilets covered in ants and the rude other guests and the way everyone was high and didn't give a shit about anything :) (Though, it did have a lovely view, which you can see in the first photo below.) I sadly spent two nights there, hating every minute of it, until I could get into another (much better) hostel. (Which I now think is maybe my favorite hostel I've stayed in in all of SEA.) I also ran into two of the friends I'd made in Chiang Mai, which was such a saving grace -- and the three of us soon became best friends.
There's not much to do in Pai -- it's a tiny little hippie town up in the mountains, with wonderful street food and cheap massages and cute cafes and good sunsets. It was so nice to slow down a bit. And once I got away from that awful hostel and met wonderful people, it became one of my favorite places in Thailand.
I'd go get a massage, and meet a British guy who I'd run into later that night and stay out late having drinks while it poured and then get a ride back up on the mountain on his motorbike in the pouring rain. I'd brave going out to a bar by myself and soon be accumulating a table full of people, new friends. I'd hang out in my new hostel and spontaneously join a group of strangers heading out on motorbikes to the land split, and join them even though I'd just woken up.
Pai was full of possibilities and trust and faith, in myself.
Sweet, sweet Pai. I'll be back.