The first time I came to Thailand was over 10 years ago, then I never made it up to Pai. The first time was about three years ago and things are changing fast. The second Seven Eleven has just moved into town and accommodation options are expanding with plenty of resorts in the 3-4 star range. I noticed on this visit more tourists in the older age bracket (probably staying in the classier resorts). There are also many more coffee shops knocking out expensive cappuccinos and lattes. Maybe it was because of the university holidays but it seemed like the Thai tourists were also visiting in big numbers and at a rough guess they seemed to out number western visitors by about 10-1. This gave Pai a very different feel to my last visit a couple of years ago and if this has become the norm then Pai has begun to lose some of its laid back charm. However I still like the Pai of today it has become a funky little town and nothing much as changed to the surrounding countryside and its setting in the Pai River valley, there are still plenty of waterfalls, hotsprings and quiet spots to visit. Increasingly Pai is also becoming a center for hill tribe trekking and adventure activities with rafting and climbing both very popular. I enjoyed this visit and with Pai only a two and a half hour drive from Chiang Mai it has reminded be to get up here more often. I am sure I will be back soon.

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