#35 – Pai, Thailand

20130717_160010_1

Pai is a picturesque little town found in the province of Mae Hon Son of North Thailand.   Pai has somewhat boomed with an influx of tourists (especially Chinese tourists, seriously it was like Chinatown there) in the last few years due to an increase in guesthouses and developments in the town centre catering to backpackers and tourists alike.  Despite this, I found day to day costs in Pai to be really cheap!  From the serene mountainous landscapes to western restaurants, to chilled out cafes, to tattoo parlours, you can find lots of reasons to go to Pai.  I went during low season when the atmosphere of the town didn’t seem overrun by tourists.   Approximately 135km by road from Chiang Mai (closest big city) in which it was one of the most winding roads I’ve ever experienced.   The journey from Chiang Mai city centre to Pai was 6 hours by minivan.  Keep in mind it was only 135km of mountain road for an actual distance of 50km (by measuring tape).  Gravol (anti-nasea medicine) was my savior… but still one of the most difficult rides in recent memory.

However, prior to arriving in Chiang Mai, I had taken the night sleeper train from Bangkok Hualamphong Station hoping to arrive with a full night’s rest.  I only had 1 night’s rest coming back from Ko Samui (12 hour bus ride) so I was already exhausted when I left for Pai.  At about 4-5 am I woke up due to several people shuffling around on my carriage and I poked my head out just to see what was up.  Someone walked by and said that they want us off the train because it got derailed and they couldn’t fix it.  DERAILED WUUUT?!

In that moment I was so tired I had difficulty processing what he meant.  As everyone gathered all their belongings, I did so as well.  Stepping off the train, we were only halfway to our destination and the entire train was notified that we would finish the remainder of the journey by bus.  I was pissed at this point knowing I wouldn’t get anymore sleep, and just wanted to get to Chiang Mai asap.  Little did I know that the derailment was more severe than I had thought.  When I left the train, from what I saw was that the train looked fine and ON the tracks, but after reading the news, I was a little shocked.

So several carriages were overturned and 41 people sent to the hospital where 11 had severe injuries such as broken arms and such.  In the news, it did say that the train derailed at about 3 am and I woke up over an hour later.  I had successfully slept through a train derailment.  Wow.  I figured that by the time I got off the train that it had backed up a bit preventing us to see any of the overturned carriages.  All injured passengers were likely to have left for the hospital too.  I only remember being half asleep/awake and wanting to go back to sleep.

20130716_144637

Overnight upper sleeper from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, 791 baht.

20130716_185116

20130716_185429

Seat mode.

20130716_204645

Sleep mode.

20130716_205425

1st Generation iPod Touch was my source of music as always.  Everyone wants their hair like them right?

20130717_105825

 The whole derailment and bus to Chiang Mai process I didn’t bother to take pictures, too tired.  But apparently it was like this…

30210630-01_big

Credits to http://www.nationmultimedia.com/

20130717_114338

While waiting for my minivan to Pai.

20130717_114341

Compelled to buy this snack because it said it was a good source of protein.  If I’ve learned anything while travelling is that you shouldn’t always trust labels or signs or advertisements, or even local advice.  But sometimes, this is the best you get.  So meh.

20130717_113550

Counter to buy tickets to Pai.  150 baht (5 dolla!), 6 hours.

20130717_113546

16 passenger (including driver) minivan.

20130717_122523

6 hours of winding road fun begins.  The hairpin turns were so sharp you actually slide left and right in your seats.

20130717_153800

Arriving in Pai, the bus station was more like a driveway that fits a few minivans.  That’s it.

20130717_170632

Lived at Darling Viewpoint Bungalows.  Although the view was nice, it was a trek from town and the price was relatively expensive.

20130717_162439

20130718_085520

Fire pit.

20130718_085524

Unused swimming pool.

20130718_085534

Outdoor theatre.  I did watch something here, I don’t really remember what.  Some knigh’s templar movie.  Wasn’t very good!

20130717_165505

View from where I lived.

20130717_171144_1

To get into town.

20130718_094027

Food.

20130718_203939

Night time streets of Pai.

20130717_200136

Tea served in bamboo.  But I was drawn in by the loud billboard music and this guy with the oddest uniform…

20130717_203552

Twas good at least.

20130717_205810

Khao Soy, a traditionally northern Thai noodle dish and Tom Yum Gung soup.  They say Thai food tastes different here, and they were right.

20130718_161900

The next day I moved closer to town, my own private bungalow with washroom and hammock.  200 baht ($6 CAD) per night.  You heard me right.

20130718_213030_LLS

Fan and mosquito net room.

20130718_154547

Khao Soy (round 2).

20130718_154551

Mango sticky rice.  The fruits here are even better than the city!

20130718_125305

Love these.  In Pai, the cheapest so far, 100 baht for 24 hours.

20130718_132727

Another motorbike with a broken speedometer.

20130718_165129

Spoiled by lush green and mountainous landscapes all over Pai.  Made motorbiking around 100x more enjoyable.  Woo.

20130718_125951

Wuut.

20130718_130424

A Chinese Yunnanese village… in Thailand.

20130718_130528

Traditional huts.

20130718_130601

Foreigners having fun trying to get on this swing.

20130718_130746

And then… I found a Chinese castle.  What the…

20130718_130721

Clear confusion.

20130718_131048

Villages around the random castle.

20130718_142116

Mo Paeng Waterfalls.

20130718_142406

Climbed up.

20130718_144858_1

Pano of beautiful rolling hills going around.

20130718_170520

It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it was still impressive with high drops.

20130718_171044

Pictures are so difficult to show the perception of depth and height.  But the trails here were pretty dangerous but fun.

20130718_171051

20130718_171431

20130718_171815

20130718_174752

World War 2 Memorial Bridge.  Built during the Japanese occupation and used to transfer supplies, the bridge has since been renovated as a historical tourist attraction.

20130718_174254

20130718_174936

Huh.

20130718_182031

Pambok Waterfa.

20130718_182659

20130718_182805

20130718_210951

Bumped into these 2 Chinese friends asking for directions while on motorbike.  Ended up chatting with them and having dinner as well.  Don’t be fooled, they’re both older than me… gosh… Asians.  Unfortunately, they have no English names and no Facebook, Whatsapp, Line, nothing.  So… I don’t remember their names but I wish them the best of luck!  It was nice talking to them.

20130718_200114

Next destination, Chiang Rai.  The place I really wanted to check off my to visit list since 4 years ago.  This town has many famous temple and it will be my gateway into Laos.

To be continued.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Tips, Travel
9 comments on “#35 – Pai, Thailand
  1. Jeff Wong says:

    i think i’d like pai.. one of the coolest places i’ve seen so far

  2. twu says:

    $6 CAD for a hammock and washroom in a private bungalow per night? amazingg

  3. […] Bangkok’s main train station of Hualamphong.  I’ve been here many times this year (to Pai, Chiang Rai, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore were all started from here), and all too […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: