The seemingly sleepy village of Pai has a lot to offer all year round. Pai radiates its true spiritual nature through the locals’ rite of merit making during the Buddhist Lent.
Unlike many other places in the northeastern part of Thailand, where extravagant candle festivals are held to celebrate the three-month-long Lent, the Tai ethnic minorities in Pai celebrate the event in a quiet and peaceful manner.
While Buddhist monks take a vow to stay at a particular place and teach young boys or men, who wish to later ordain, the Buddhist Doctrine and preach to interested public, the Tai, like other good Buddhists, engage themselves in merit making and refrain from all kinds of bad deeds, including taking alcoholic drinks. However, there is a slight difference in their ways of practice.
The Tai does not just offer food to monks, but also pay homage to Lord Buddha by presenting a bowl-like container made from fresh banana leaves and filled with food and desserts in front of a pagoda or along the temple’s walls, with lit candles and incense on the side. They call such offering ‘Kok Som Tor’ and treat it as an offering for Lord Buddha. The Tai bring this to Wat Luang temple every morning during Lent in remembrance of Lord Buddha and pray to him.
Tourists, of course, are welcome to observe and even participate in such a simple, yet unique spiritual practice of the locals. Either way you are guaranteed an insight into the locals’ way of life. So grab this opportunity and pack your bags to enjoy another cultural delight in Pai while all the hotels, be it the boutique, hip or small ones, still offer great discounts.