At a Chiang Mai guesthouse, I told a guy I was headed to Pai (Thailand) the next day. He sniffed at me. "Everyone goes to Pai," he said, "So I'm going to...."
My tip: Sometimes "everyone" goes somewhere for a reason. Don't let "got-to- get-there-first" snobbery hold you back from one of Thailand's sweetest destinations.
When I got there after a bumby four hour busride through beautiful mountain scenery, I quickly realized that just the right number of people went to Pai. There are plenty of laid-back food and lodging options for backpackers, lots of cool travelers to meet, and just the right number of possible day-trips to take and kinds of massages to get. I fell so in love with Pai that when I wrote a novel set in Thailand (CURRENCY), I had my characters fall in love there.
For sweets, look for the rotis in the night market. Look for banana dumplings (triangle-shaped, wrapped in banana leaves) and khao niaow ma muang (sticky rice with mango) in the day market.
Go by bike or motor bike to visit the waterfalls and soak in the hot springs.
Written and contributed by zoezolbrod