Pai

Tag: Destinations, North Thailand, Thailand   Type: |
April 11, 2011   1 Comment

We waited for the public bus to Pai, due to leave Sappong at 12.30pm. It never arrived and so we waited in the blistering heat, nibbling on a sweet jam-topped “pizza” and being harassed by the village-drunk.

 Pai

A pizza... apparently...covered in a sweet topping, it was actually quite tasty!

Eventually the 2.30pm bus arrived – a local, open-windowed affair. Gratefully we boarded the rickety old carriage and were soon careering up & down steep hair-pin bends praying the engine wouldn’t conk out whenever the driver changed gear – a process that took 2-4 seconds to find each gear as we pointed up the hill wondering if we’d start rolling backwards.

 Pai

Photo grabbed through the bus window of some pretty scenery in North Thailand

 Pai

Northern Thailand scenery on the drive from Sappong to Pai

We reached Pai, renowned as a ‘traveller’ town, around 2 hours later and headed down the small main street – bustling with tourists and adjourned with nice cafe bars and hand-made jewellery stores – to find accommodation.

We crossed the river over an unsteady bamboo bridge to where a couple of small complexes stood and – after a brief look at the first two – we settled at the Indiana Cottages. The hut was basic – with a leaking bathroom sink – but in a nice communal area with views of the river. Also the cheapest (decent) place in Thailand we found at 300 bht (£6).

 Pai

We stayed a few nights next to the river in Pai, a beautiful location

That evening we headed to a reggae bar where we started chatting and playing pool with some French guys (with extremely long dreads!). The night turned out to be fairly drunken, speaking a mixture of pigeon French, Spanish & Italian and ending up with us helping a very drunk local lady get back to her own bar! Needless to say the next day was mainly spent lounging about, reading and sunbathing!

 Pai

A fiery sunset on our first night in Pai

The day after we hired a scooter and visited some local sites, including the Japanese War Memorial Bridge, Pai Canyon and Pai hot springs.

 Pai

World War II Memorial Bridge

 Pai

A perilous path at Pai canyon

 Pai

Hotsprings of varying temperatures - some too hot that you can barely dip your toes in

 Pai

Spiders at Pai hot springs. There were thousands of these spindly things everywhere!

 Pai

Cooking eggs in the hot springs

We also decided to move accommodation as we soon found that we were sleeping next to a temple where, at 4am in the morning, they would start morning prayer, and it would last until 9am. This was a sung, monotone, chanting drone of a male duet. So we headed around the corner from the main street and found a lovely bungalow in a very smart complex Baan Pai Village where we had 2 very peaceful nights.

 Pai

Nice bamboo bungalows at Baan Pai Village in Pai

One night we headed to a open-air bar early in the evening and being the only ones in there, we started chatting to the bar staff and the DJ – playing right-up-Ben’s-street chilled house music. Then all of a sudden the cool music was turned right down and we noticed a police car had pulled up outside with its lights flashing. The police came in and wandered around, looking smart and crisp, giving us a few dirty looks.

 Pai

Buffalo!

We noticed the DJ had shut himself away in his booth (slowly lowering the front flap and silently shutting the door) and the owner was doing all the talking with the police. After a while they seemed to leave but before getting into their patrol car, they came back and targeted the DJ booth and the DJ came out. They talked for a while. They led him away to their patrol car. We felt sorry for him having bonded over a 125 BPM classic or two.

It was all very strange and we can only guess that he may have been an illegal immigrant from Burma – seeing as we were still close to the border. We soon drank up and left, with only the quiet hint of the great music, feeling uneasy about the whole situation.

 Pai

River view from the Memorial Bridge

Overall we found that Pai, although only there to serve tourists, was still a nice, friendly chilled-out place to visit with quite a few decent restaurants and bars and nice local attractions. Enough things to do to occupy a few days at the very least. A relaxing retreat.



Your views on Pai? Please add your tips, recommendations or general thoughts about Pai to help other round the world travelers:

One Response to “Pai”

Margie
April 13th, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

It really is another world you are inhabiting, so far away from London life, tulips out in the garden, waking up in the same place each day. The photos are wonderful as is your account of your adventures, very enjoyable. xx

Contribute your thoughts




  • Twitter: RTWTcom