Everyday is a Winding Road

Wanderings in Pai, Thailand

We were ready to leave the beaches and do something new. But when we got to Chiang Mai, it fell a little flat. So…we got out. We hopped on a minibus and went on the very winding road to a place that is famous with backpackers as a spot to do…nothing. That’s right, there’s nothing to do in Pai. It’s just some town in the mountains that has a pretty awesome night market (we love a good night market).

Street Sushi? Tempting

There’s actually a ton to do “around” Pai though. Sure, there are a lot of hippies bumming around town, but all you need to do is hire a motorbike for $3/day and zip around the bends to find a few surprises.

Pai Canyon - walk across at your own risk


hanging out at hot springs...


...where it's literally hot enough to boil eggs


a different kind of traffic


"Pai in Love" was a Thai movie filmed in Pai. For the Thai tourists the town is about love.

The other reason we went to Pai was to go trekking. We heard the treks out of Chiang Mai were very touristy. We wanted to trek into a village that hadn’t turned itself into a tourist attraction.

Sometimes you end up getting more than you bargain for. Cha, our tour guide, had talked to us when we were shoppin for treks, and explained that we would stay in his village for the night and we would trek there on the first day and on the second day hike to a waterfall.

skiing without the skis

It turned out the trek was always either uphill, downhill or brief intervals of flat with a steep drop-off on one side. The downhill was the worst. As we walked there was a constant chorus of butts hitting the ground. It always happened quickly – one second your feet were on the ground the next they were in the air. I had a black bruise on my entire right butt cheek for the next week.

When I wasn’t falling on my ass it was a great experience. Here’s a glimpse at some of the rest of the trek:

dinner


10 to a one room house is um, cozy


Day 2: Chillin with the hill tribe next to the fields


from bamboo to tea kettle

When we got back to Pai that night we stayed in a place called the Chai-Niz Village. The bamboo huts ($10 a night) are rebuilt every year. They are swept away each rainy season. When you’re walking around in the hut it feels like you might fall through but it’s a great illustration of the interesting lodging options available in town.

After 5 days we were heading back south, but we could see how so many travelers have a hard time leaving. It’s the sort of town that just sort of captures you.

“What I find is that you can do almost anything or go almost anywhere, if you’re not in a hurry.”
– Paul Theroux, quoting Tony the beachcomber, in “The Happy Isles of Oceania”

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 14:12:13

    beautiful, guys…so cool. i am really enjoying your blog!!

    Reply

  2. Grandma Barb
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 17:12:25

    Your descriptions, Robin make me want to be there … some places more than others…like crossing the canyon is a great photo but tell me you didn’t ?! And I think I know why you are sleeping under nets … been there
    done that … with a bat 30″ from my nose on the wall in Madagascar with
    no electrity. Bats are noisy creatures so I was awake all night wondering when it was going to land on my net-covered nose. Nah, on 2nd thought I’ll enjoy yours and Tim’s experiences via the blog; go get my sun block and tennis racket.
    Forever proud and amazed by your adventurous spirit. Happy hearts day !!
    Kiss-Kiss,
    Grandma & Grandpa in the Palm Beaches xoxo

    Reply

  3. GRANDPA
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 17:48:05

    At 25 I was in the exploration stage of travel.
    At 50 I was in the discovery stage of travel.
    At 60 I was in the adventure stage of travel.
    At 75 I was in the sedentary stage of travel
    At 81 I am in the “Did we really go to all those places?” stage

    You both have 70 years to accumulate memories. It appears you already started with a boatload of experiences.

    Henceforth, the family will refer to you both as , “THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF DARING!!!

    Godspeed and congratulations. I envy you.

    Love
    Grandpa

    Reply

  4. Sara Wall
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 03:32:37

    I’ve thrown up driving the road to Pai several times 😉
    It’s one of my favorite areas.
    Thanks for the pics (of the CM night market too! Did you try the crickets?)
    Enjoy!
    Sara

    Reply

  5. crazy sexy fun traveler
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 12:52:47

    The trek sounds fun! Very nice place.

    Reply

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Views expressed on this blog are solely the opinions of the blogger. Media found on this blog is for preview use only. If any artist or their representation wish to have the links removed, contact me and I will happily comply!
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