We first heard of Pai through Minty, an eccentric and at times neurotic Kansas City gal who left her fiancee, her sheltered life for the crazy streets of Vietnam. She set herself up in a TEFL course for a month but never taught, choosing rather to wander through the region and meet people along the way. She told us it was a travelers paradise, a place where backpackers go for a brief visit but never leave. Some stay for the beautiful mountain scenery, the chilled out restaurants and bars while others treat it as a hippie retirement home where 25-year-old dredlocks are still accepted and a beard braids are cool.
I fell in love with Pai, the peaceful, gentle feeling of the town, the breakfasts where residents gather at streetstalls sipping on coffee and listening to the flute player play his favorite tunes. I loved our guesthouse that was more of a home with its rock garden bathroom and owners we almost never saw. The restaurant scene was diverse ranging from organic muslim bakeries to pad thai stalls on the street. At night the bars were jam packed with Thai and Farang jamming together to cover bands playing everything from the Stones to Bob Marley. I can easily understand how people could get sucked in. It was mellow, comfortable and enjoyable.