Pai is in the beautiful northern mountains of Thailand 3 hours bus ride away from Chiang Mai. After those 3 hours of winding bends up and down amazing mountain roads with great views, you end up in the friendly small town of Pai.
Twenty minute walk or 5 minute scooter ride out of the main town is the amazing hostel Spicy Pai. Set in the middle of a rice paddy, the breathtaking Spicy building structure consisting of wood and bamboo walls with a handmade dry leaved roof welcomes any traveller.
Straight away a warm welcome from staff members and fellow travellers in the common room which is all open planned above the small reception. Checking in at Spicy with a price of just 150bht per night for a dorm bed, with the option of a girl dorm which has 6 beds and is a separate to the larger dorm building which has 20 beds in it. 10 beds either side all made into the buildings wood structured walls with two beds amazingly being 3 bunks high (fun to climb up and down drunk!) All with mosquito nets provided.
As soon as I arrived I dropped my stuff off (lockers are provided) and went out for dinner with the spicy staff and everyone staying there. It was the warmest welcome to any hostel I’ve had.
After two days I knew I wanted to stay longer than the three days I originally planned. After a week, a good staff friend of mine was leaving and I was offered his position after showing my interest of staying a while. My two fellow travelling friends who I came to Pai with moved on and I stayed another two and half weeks helping out, truly living Spicy style!
The typical day at Spicy consists of the following, grabbing some free breakfast provided go on a Pai tour on a scooter (which is a must have to get around easily) in a big group with a spicy staff tour guide, visiting the main sights including the big waterfall in the mountains. After that head to the local food market and all chip in around 40bht and purchase some great food (e.g. Curry 20bht + 10bht rice =very cheap) which is all shared when back at the hostel, creating a great feast. Evening arrives and it’s common to shower and let the drinking games commence, around 10pm head into town with everyone and hit the good bars and enjoy the great atmosphere all night long!
The main bars in Pai consist of:
Live music bars – Edible Jazz, Bebop and Buffalo.
Chill out bars- Yellow Sun, Jikko’s and Living rooms.
Then the only bar to be open past 1.30am is ‘Don’t Cry’, which has no lights after that time and just has candles everywhere due to the police restrictions. Everyone who is out at that time will be there. Good thing is it’s only a few minutes walk away from Spicy, making it an easy drunk walk back.
I eventually had to leave Pai due to my Thailand Visa due to expire. I headed to Laos where I spent 12 days in total also staying in the two other Spicy hostels in Luang prubang and the tubing area of Vang Vieng. S
till living Spicy style but missing Pai, I decided to go back for another week and then head down south to the islands with friends I had met in Pai. Another warm welcome home and another great leaving do when I had to leave again. I was very sad to leave but I will be returning in Feb 2012 for a few weeks, at least!
Atmosphere – 5/5, it’s the most friendly place in Pai
Cleanliness – 4/5, althought it’s a clean up after yourself affair there’s a maid during the day
Facilities – 5/5, hot showers, kitchen, free wifi, washer/dryer and great staff!
Value – 5/5, at only 150baht (around £3) inc breakfast it’s a steal!
Join the Spicy Society Facebook page and you can save 10% off any bookings for Spicy Thai (in Chiang Mai), Spicy Pai, Spicy Luang Prubang (Laos) and Spicy Vang Vieng (Laos)
This hostel review is courtesy of Tom Hibbert – who tweets via @reallynicelad. Have you stayed at an epically amazing, or even horrific hostel? If you’d like to share your experience and write a guest post for the site simply head over to the Contact Us page and send me an email!