Pai is an awesome village to visit in Thailand. The scenery is great, it’s cheap, there’s plenty to do, and the area is beautiful. You can rent a scooter for a couple of dollars a day, or splurge and get a dirt bike for $15. There are dozens of restaurants to eat at, and the night market is something special. If you’re planning on making the trip to Pai you’ll want to find a great hostel, and that’s what we’ll look at in this article. These Pai hostels are all popular and they’re a great deal too.
1. Darling Hostel
Situated on the outskirts of town, it takes about 10 minutes to reach Darling from the main street in Pai. Most people who stay here choose to rent scooters and the parking lot is often jammed with them. Darling offers a couple of nice features that make it a fun place to stay. Foremost it has an excellent view out over the whole town of Pai, and you can watch the sunset over the mountains. In the morning you can order breakfast, and it’s one of the few hostels in Thailand with decent coffee. There’s a pool that’s ice cold, plenty of deck chairs to relax on, and a communal fireplace that often gets lit at night.
The best accommodations at Darling hostel are the two and three bedroom private rooms. The dorms are reputed to be less comfortable. The WiFi works OK in the common area, but don’t expect to get any kind of decent coverage in your room. Darling is really the best fit if you want to stay somewhere quiet, and you’re travelling with someone and can split a private room. It’s a beautiful hostel and the atmosphere is excellent.
2. Circus Hostel
Circus hostel is one of the most unique hostels in Pai, and in all of Thailand for that matter. The hostel is situated on a large hilltop and everything takes place outside. There’s a small pool, plenty of space to lay out a mat and tan, or do anything else for that matter. Next to the pool is an outdoor bar which opens around four and closes at midnight. By the bar is a popular pool table and a set of couches and chairs to hang out on. A short walk away is an outdoor eating area where you can bring food in to eat, or buy your own from the hostel. There are communal bathrooms and fire shows at night.
Living at Circus hostel is akin to high level camping. Half of the bathrooms don’t have hot water, and the rest are a decent walk away from the bungalows. Also, it has the worst WiFi in all of Southeast Asia. Even getting a connection to check your email is often impossible. That being said, it’s a fun hostel to stay at. Something is always happening, it’s very social, and there’s always someone to meet. Also, the private bungalows cost less than $10 a night, which makes this an ideal choice for anyone on a budget.
3. Purple Monkey
The first two hostels Pai that I mentioned I’ve stayed at and can vouch for. The Purple Monkey I’ve never stayed at but I have heard good things about it from several other travelers. While Darling and Circus are both ideally suited for people travelling in groups, the Purple Monkey is a better fit if you plan on staying in a dorm. The beds are cheap and comfortable, and there’s a large communal space to meet people. With an outdoor bar and pool table you won’t be bored at night. There’s also a pool, but in the tradition of almost every hostel in Pai, it’s very small.
If you have the time you may want to consider staying at several different hostels. Each has its own unique flair and has plenty offer in the way of entertainment. Pai is a lovely place to stay, and with the difficulty of getting there it doesn’t really make sense to stay a few days and leave. And for anyone else that’s been to Pai and knows of other good hostels, leave a comment to let everyone else know about them!