Most of the accommodation choices in Pai are budget and mid-range guest-houses with just a few more expensive hotel options. I was last in Pai back in February and was looking to stay somewhere for one night that wasn’t expensive, but had a bit of character. I chose The Countryside Resort, which is a quirky collection of round chalet-style huts located just outside of the town on the other side of the Pai River.
I booked the day before by telephoning direct and was told there were rooms available and was quoted 600 Baht for a standard room. I was advised to give them a ring when I got to Pai and they would send somebody to pick me up for free. I took the bus from Chiang Mai to Pai the following morning and on arriving at the bus station I rang The Countryside. Within 10 minutes a pick-up truck was there to collect me. The accommodation is approximately a 5 minute drive from the bus station. After being shown to my room, I went back to the reception area had a drink and a chat and paid cash for the room. The Countryside is certainly a unique venue, but one that works quite well. The concrete chalet-style huts sit, as the name suggests, in the Pai countryside. A nice feature of the huts is that each of them have a small rooftop terrace which is just about big enough for two chairs and a table. Because of the lack of adjacent buildings, the 360 degree views of the rice fields and mountains are superb especially at sunrise and sunset. The rooftop terrace is also a pleasant place to relax in the evening and enjoy the cool mountain air with the absence of any light pollution making for great views of the stars in the night-time sky.
The main town is within walking distance (approximately 20-25 minutes) which is fine during the day, but at night involves a walk up a bit of an incline and along a dark lane to get back to the accommodation. If you hire a motorbike that isn’t a problem and would also give you more flexibility with dining options. The owners have been careful to ensure that the vehicle parking remains far enough away from the chalets so that the peace and quiet of guests isn’t disturbed.
The standard room I stayed in was small, but clean and comfortable. With the window open (and mosquito screen closed) the night air was wonderfully cool. I stayed there back in February of this year and during the cool season months in Pai (November to February/March) temperatures at night can drop quite significantly. The accommodation does provide extra duvets and blankets in the rooms. I had lunch and dinner in town, but had breakfast at The Countryside which was enjoyable and the staff were charming. The place is run by a Thai-Dutch couple and I got the impression that people actually enjoy working there and consequently it helps with what is a very informal and relaxed environment to stay. There are a couple of salas dotted around where guests can eat or just relax with a book and enjoy the quiet surroundings and there is also a small swimming pool.
If you want to totally get away from it all, then The Countryside Resort is a good choice. However, if you want to be close to activities and the traveller scene in Pai, the location probably won’t be suitable for you. I only stayed here one night, but it was exactly what I wanted and I’d be happy to stay again.