Hostel Common Grounds Pai
Location: Pai, Thailand
116 Moo 3
T. Wiang Tai
Mae Hong Son
Phone number: +66 6 2034 8509
Why we recommend this place
Pai is quite different from the southern Thailand. It’s right in the north, next to the border with Laos. But it’s not an off track place if you want to explore and find something new. Pai is swarming with backpackers so it’s a very lively small town surrounded by nature.
When we visited this place we did not know what to expect. As soon as we left the bus we were surrounded by people offering where to stay. Surely first thing we did was shake them off thinking that we are better finding a place by ourselves. But there was this chap on his motorbike who offered us (in a very chilled and polite manner) to have a look at his hostel that he has just opened. He also offered a very good deal, so we thought why not, it was right next to the bus station so we would not lose too much time if we didn’t like the place.
As soon as we walked in the territory of the Common Grounds Pai hostel we felt that this is exactly the kind of place we were looking for. It had a big garden, a covered area where you could just chill and have a beer, the rooms were tidy and had bathrooms in them. I have to say, it’s not what I actually look for when trying to describe a great place. We don’t recommend it because it was neat and tidy. We recommend it because of the chap who showed it to us – Mitchell. He is an American backpacker, who opened this hostel with the help of his brother and girlfriend. When we were there we could feel the energy in him, trying to build that place from scratch (we were one of the first guests he had from what we know).
Mitchell was constantly asking questions about how to improve the place. Of course, we did suggest a few small bits and pieces. The strangest thing was that the next morning these bits and pieces were already there! One day he would think of a new idea, next morning he would be working on it. This guy was really passionate about building this place and turning it into a backpacker hub and he never hesitated to make the things happen. He was also employing the natives there, who had problems in getting a job because of some internal Thailand matters that we do not wish to discuss in this section. It was amazing to see him work and to witness the development of Common Grounds Pai hostel.
Finally, when we were there, it was just a hostel with a few rooms ready, some nice and cosy pillow chairs laid on the ground and a promise that there will be a bar. And we found it to be an amazing spot. Now a couple of years passed and I believe they have the bar and even more. I can only imagine how cool the place should be looking right now. Hope to be able to get back there in the future.
So if you are in the area, try to find Common Grounds Pai. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.
- If on the time of your stay there are no events happening in Pai do not hesitate to ask the hostel owners for some suggestions. The town is packed with backpackers and there are many events organised by the backpacker community itself.
- There are tons of places to visit around Pai – nature, parks, old villages, ruins… The best way to do it is to get a map and rent a motorbike (really easy with the automatic one). The tip here is that bike rent in Thailand is really cheap, but if you get into an accident and damage the bike you would have to pay a LOT for damage and repairs. And I mean a lot in European prices, not the local ones. There are a few rental agencies that offer you insurance and it’s not that expensive. So be sure to get the one that will pay the damage costs if you do an accident. Accidents like this sometimes lead to having to cut your travel plans short. Better safe than sorry.