Pai in Thailand is the only real freak hangout left now that the developers and local Thai mafia have commercialized the islands beyond the point of recognition. The waves of Gap Year backpackers followed demanding their banana pancakes and it was goodbye hippies on Koh Phangan, welcome organized full moon parties that are a vulgar parody of the early days.
Pai, on the other hand, is a village up in the hills of North Thailand, not far from Chiang Mai and its relative isolation means that a good number of Thai and Western hippies live there , the latter making monthly runs to the border for new visa stamps.
The climate is cooler in Pai, making it a welcome break from the relentless Thai humidity and the town is full of bars with live music, buskers on the street and artisans, most of them with smiles on their faces.
Pai is growing way too fast for most people’s liking and the alternative folk are now heading out of town more and more, coming in only to enjoy products from the bakery and groove at the jazz club.