My favorites place/Pai Thailand
Pai (Thai: ปาย) is a small town in northern Thailand near the Myanmar border, north of Chiang Mai on the northern route to Mae Hong Son. It lies along the Pai River. The town has thesaban tambon status and covers parts of the tambon Wiang Tai of Pai district. As of 2006 it has a population of 2,284
Pai is located on Thai highway 1095, which connects Mae Hong Son with Chiang Mai. The Pai Airport, which had been decommissioned for 20 years, was paved and refurbished in 2005-6, and on 1 February 2007, Siam General Aviation began daily passenger service to and from Chiang Mai International Airport.
Pai was once a quiet market village inhabited by Shan people (ethnic Tai whose culture is influenced by Burma; see the History section below), but nowadays Pai primarily thrives on tourism. Well-known among backpackers for its relaxed atmosphere, the town is full of cheap guesthouses, souvenir shops and restaurants. In the proximity of the town are spas and elephant camps. Further outside of town, there are several waterfalls and a number of natural hot springs varying in temperature from 80 to 200 degrees Celsius. Some resorts tap the hot springs and feed hot water into private bungalows and public pools. As Pai lies at the foot of the mountains, many tourists use it as a base for trekking and visiting hill tribes like Karen, Hmong, Lisu and Lahu. Another notable attraction is the town's excellent Wednesday Market which brings large and colorful crowds of local villagers and tribal people from all around the Pai Valley.
Recently Pai has appeared on the Thailand tourist map and has received major infrastructure upgrades including an airport with several daily flights, two 7/11's, several small- to medium-size luxury resorts (adding to the more than 118 guesthouses and restaurants which existed as of June 2007), a couple of live music clubs, beer bars and two sets of traffic lights. This has done little to dampen the small and peaceful spirit of the town out of season. However, it has led to a recent influx of business investment and land speculation by both farang (non-Asian foreigners) and big city Thais. While some hail these sweeping changes as a new age of prosperity for Pai, others point to the loss of Pai's traditional customs and culture.
In the tourist high season of November through March there are large numbers of tourists. Prior to 2006, foreign tourists predominated, but now Thai tourists make up the vast majority, particularly after Pai featured in two popular, Thai-made romantic movies, The Letter: Jod Mai Rak (Thai: จดหมายรัก, 2004) and Ruk Jung (Thai: รักจัง, 2006).
Pai has music festivals regularly as well as staging an International Enduro Championship.
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