We checked out of our hostel then headed to the bus station ready for our 11:30 bus to Pai. The journey was a 3 hour trip north via some VERY windy roads. The first person we spoke to said there would be 150 turns, the next said 300, it’s one of those things where the number keeps growing, so as you could imagine we were pretty apprehensive. As it turned out, after a couple of travel sickness tablets, the journey wasn’t as bad as people had made it out to be. We arrived at the bus station and hopped in a taxi to our hostel.
Our hostel: “Spicy Pai” was essentially a bamboo hut, in a field on the outskirts of Pai. The roofs were made from neatly arranged dried leaves, overlapped to create a tile like effect. We loved our hostel, it was just what you picture when you think of a chilled out hostel in a Thai town, hammocks, views of the mountains and even the luxury of WARM running water! The wifi was better in our bamboo hut than in a lot of places at home. Needless to say we were pretty impressed.
After settling into our hostel we decided it was time for food. We headed into Pai, on foot, with a group of boys who were also staying at “Spicy”. We ate in a little restaurant and I had my new favourite Thai dish: “Khoa soi”. Sadly, this dish is only available in the north as it has strong Burmese influence. We grabbed a beer in a roof top bar before heading back to our hostel to play cards. After a few more beers we had constructed a team trip for the next day.
In the morning we met the boys and wandered into town to sort the days transport. As a small town, public transport doesn’t really exist and sights are too far apart to walk. Instead of jumping on the moped band wagon, we opted for the less cool but just as fun option of a car. One of the boys volunteered to drive us and I was lead navigator and tour guide so it was us in the front, leaving the three others slightly cosy in the back. Our first stop was the utterly stunning Pai canyon (definitely worth a google if you’re not familiar). The canyon was a maze of thin ridged rock, folding into shapes due to seismic activity. The dips between ridges were carpeted with tress and plants. It was definitely not for the faint hearted as none of the sides were walled or protected so people walked at their own risk. We wandered around the ridges for about an hour or so and didn’t stop revelling at the beauty. We struggled to go a minute without someone commenting on it being “ridiculous” or “amazing” or “crazy” which, admittedly, it was all three of these and more. The canyon had no shade and was quite a work out so after we’d taken in the beauty there, we headed straight to “Pom Bok” waterfall to cool off.
I’d heard from a guy in our hostel that if you’re willing to explore you can reach other, less busy pools. We followed his tips and adventured over to try find the smaller pools. We weren’t disappointed. We ended up swimming and exploring around the pools for a good few hours. One pool had loads of neatly piled rock towers. We wanted to make our mark too so we each took on the challenge of the risk stack. Let me tell you, it’s harder than it looks and I definitely don’t have the patience. Louise and the boys had more success than me and we left, leaving the pool 4 rock towers richer.
By this point the lads were getting hangry (hungry/angry) so on our route back to Pai for food we had a quick stop at the land split. The land split is similar to the canyon but on a far smaller scale, however the land was owned by a farmer who’s farming land had crinkled and cracked away. He welcomes visitors with goods he grows including bananas, rosella juice and passion fruit. After a quick pit stop and stroll around, we were back on Pai for a snack before dinner.
That night “Spicy” was hosting a BBQ, allowing everyone at the hostel to get to know each other, it involved having a few drinks and eating BBQ food (a rarity so far in our trip).
Day two in Pai was a comparably very lazy. We said good bye to the boys before Louise and I headed to the public pool. We lounged around until early afternoon, reading my book, playing cards and listening to music. We then walked into the town to buy our bus ticket for the next day and settled on the 7am bus (or ratther we had no other option). Louise and I then had a lovely lunch in “earth tones” where we both had avocado and tomato salsa on toast it was delicious.
If you couldn’t tell I LOVED Pai, it was such a shame to leave and I will definitely miss it. Onto the manic Bangkok next 😬