Pai. The lovely, laidback, hippy, peaceful Pai, resembling an island town, located deep in the mountains of Northern Thailand.
We got the bus from Chiang Mai. I’d heard that the route is AWFUL and the windy roads can induce travel sickness in even the least likely of travellers; I fall in the most likely category, so I had no hope. I took two Stugeron tablets (recommend by Momma thank you), which were AMAZING. Didn’t feel the twists and turns of the road whatsoever, in fact I can’t really recall feeling anything, so I simply arrived in Pai 3 hours later feeling slightly dazed and sedated. We spent the first afternoon wandering around the town, sitting by the beautiful river, and then ambling up and down the “Walking Street”, home of the night markets. Elliot’s been craving a good curry for a few days now, so when we saw “Curry Shack”, we decided to have dinner there. It was actually closed, but the owner saw us looking at the menu and offered to cook for us anyway. Thai people are so lovely and trusting; he had to go out after cooking our food, but was completely fine with us staying to eat, and even told us to help ourselves to bananas when we were done!
We’d planned to hire a scooter and visit the sites that way, however this idea was swiftly interrupted following the realisation that we would be scooting illegally (who knew you needed to take a test), thus, rendering our insurance void. The Yun Lai viewpoint was one of our priorities, so we got up earlyish this morning, had a beaut breakfast in the town and then set off on the 6km hike up to the viewpoint. Safe to say we were absolutely knackered when we got up there, in the 35 degree heat, but it was worth it for the views.
The variety of food available here is staggering for such a tiny town; burgers, sushi, curries, traditional Thai food, American breakfasts, Vegan salads, avocado bruscetta, whatever, it’s got it, and it’s incredible.
Went to Om Garden Cafe for breakfast (amazing breakfast, I had pitta with hummus, tomatoes and eggs), before walking up to the White Buddha. We’d then booked to be driven up to Pai Hotsprings Resort for the afternoon, where there are lovely pools, fed from the nearby thermal springs. We arrived early at the tour office on the off-chance we would be able to go earlier than booked, in what we thought was going to be a taxi; upon us asking, the man at the desk simply said yes, hopped out of his chair, and gestured towards a jeep, leaving his shop open and unattended! Yet another example of the Thai peoples trust. We hopped in the back of the Jeep and off we went.
It’s so peaceful here. We’re lying on one of the pavilions between the pool and the river. Apart from an annoying, noisy child, all I can hear are the insects in the grass around us. Across the river, there are Thai people lined up across the field, with umbrellas shielding them from the sun. I assume they’re picking/farming something. It’s hazey in Pai; apparently it’s “burning season”, when locals clear land for planting and hunting by burning it. Although I think the haze makes it hotter, we’re finding the heat far more bearable than when we first arrived in Bangkok. We’re no longer drenched in sweat the second we step outside, and we can walk up to viewpoints without passing out (everywhere in Pai is up huge hills in seems; lol that we even considered cycling everywhere).
Elliot’s smug because he thought to wash his microfibre towel before we came, and I’m covered in pink fluff from mine (I should have listened to you, Mum).
Just arrived back in Chiang Mai. Someone was sick in the minibus on the way back. At least it wasn’t me. Yesterday afternoon, we walked (/climbed) the 5km from the Hotsprings Resort to Pai Canyon to watch the sunset, which was really beautiful, and then our “taxi” picked us up again to drive us back to the town, where we spent our evening eating burgers (I had chickpea burger with avo and cheese YUM) and drinking beer/g&t’s.
Pai is so beautiful, and lovely, and peaceful. I’ll miss it. We’re back in the wonderful Chiang Mai now for another two nights, then we’re going up to Chiang Rai.