Pai

Pai is a very small and picturesque town in the hilly region of northwest Thailand. The 3hr minivan drive to Pai is sort of uncomfortable due to the endless winding roads which prevent you from taking a nap and make you wish you hadn’t eaten anything before the drive!

The pace of life here is so slow that it seems to be at a halt, but in a good way. The town centre has a number of really good restaurants and cafes with healthy and tasty food. More than once I’ve heard people who went to Pai for a few days and ended up staying for a few weeks. There’s actually not much to do in the town except eat lots of delicious food, shop in the night market, listen to live music performance at Edible Jazz or (from what I’ve been told) smoke pot. The night market has some outstanding food from fried spring rolls to one of the best Thai curries I’ve eaten in Thailand to some delicious burritos. My fav way to spend an evening there was to eat in the night market and head to Edible Jazz and relax on a mattress or a hammock while enjoying some live music.

Ben, who I met at my guesthouse, and I went for a 100km bike ride to the Tham Lot cave close to Soppong. Although the cave was good I’ve seen much better caves at Phong Nha in Vietnam.

At the mouth of the Tham Lot caves
At the mouth of the Tham Lot caves

But the ride to Soppong and back was one of the best rides I’ve done in my 3 months in Asia. The steep ascend, the relentless winding roads, the countless hair pin bends, riding in the clouds (m not kidding!) and being on top of the highest mountain in the region and looking down on the mountain range was nothing short of spectacular.

At the start of the ride to Soppong
At the start of the ride to Soppong
View from one of the countless hair pin bends
View from one of the countless hair pin bends
Watching the endless mountain range from the Pang Ma Pha mountain. Definitely one of the most beautiful experiences so far.
Watching the endless mountain range from the Pang Ma Pha peak. Definitely one of the most beautiful sights so far.

This ride is not for a the faint hearted or for those who are not sure of their biking skills. I’ve heard stories of people who’ve had some nasty accidents on rides around Pai. Ben had a fall too but it was rather unfortunate as he braked hard on a slippery stretch. The fact that he had just moved off and was riding at 10km/hr didn’t help much as the bike landed on his feet! Ouch. But we managed to ride back to Pai before the pain got unbearable for him.

There are a lot more caves and waterfalls around Pai and I skipped all of these. I did however wake up at 4:45am to ride to the Pai canyon in time for the sunrise which I didn’t see it coz, as I found out later, it was the wrong spot but I had the place to myself and it was definitely worth the loss of precious sleep.

People actually walk on that narrow path! I didn't
People actually walk on that narrow path! I didn’t
Quiet time at the top of the canyon.
Quiet time at the top of the canyon.

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