A little disclaimer to any potential family members reading this post; I did not get a tattoo, nor do I have any to date. Ease the worries. However, I did accompany a friend on one of our recent outings to Chiang Mai for her first ink. Along our path to the parlor, we got to do a little exploring within the city walls and I was able to witness a man getting tatted via bamboo needle. Also known as Yantra Tattooing, these works of art are traditionally performed on the seeker by Buddhist Monks throughout Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. My friend stuck to the traditional ink gun and had กล้าหาญ or fearless engraved on her wrist. Heres a little insight into the evening.
A couple weekends ago, I hopped into a van with a few fellow Krus from Phrae and made the 700 odd-turns up a winding mountain road to a little expat village known as Pai. After our three-hour ride, we were dropped off in the center of what felt like Macklemore’s personal thrift shop. We purchased a bottle of the town’s finest Hong Tong, and made it our mission to reach the Pai Circus, where we would reside for the next several days. We headed away from the town center, crossing a bridge made solely out of bamboo sticks and leaves, followed by more bamboo bungalows along the way. After trekking, backpacks and all, up a narrow dirt hill, we had finally arrived at the Circus. We had stepped into what felt like its own bohemian universe. The camp was full of misguided twenty-somethings juggling fire, hula hooping, and lounging by an infinity pool that over looked the mountains and countryside. I had found my happy place. Pure contentment. The next several days were filled with shots of wheatgrass, conversations with expats from foreign lands, canyons, hunting for trinkets, strawberry fields, planting banana trees with the soy-bean farmer who discovered the Pai Land Split, drinking hibiscus juice, kindred spirits, lounging in hammocks, chasing waterfalls, late nights and early mornings wasted at Don’t Cry Bar, and getting wonderfully lost on the back of a motor bike. If you are ever given the chance to visit this magical little town, do not hesitate. Go immediately.