Monday, 15 June 2015

Thailand: Pai

After an amazing few days in Chiang Mai, it was time for us to leave and head to Pai which we had heard so much about from various people. After boarding the minibus, it didn't take us long to realise why the journey there came with a warning! The winding roads and cliff edges were enough to make anyone feel ill and with Sophie suffering from travel sickness, she decided to take some medication and was soon as high as a fairy and oblivious to the entire thing. It was hilarious watching her trying to find her mouth while she ate a packet of crisps haha! When we arrived, we instantly fell in love with the look and vibe Pai had. Every little cafe, shop and bar were so unique from the last and the people were all so chilled out, we knew we'd love it there! It was a bit of a mission trying to find our accommodation as the directions we got from online were all wrong, eventually we had to get a local to ring them for more directions then get a taxi! 

Upon arrival, we were stunned at our accommodation because we were expecting so much less for the money we paid. We stayed at Prod-Pai Prachaupmaoh Guesthouse and were given a bungalow on stilts all to ourselves, it was the cutest thing! It was about a 15 minute walk back into the main town which meant that we could sit on the balcony and enjoy the peace and views of the surrounding mountains. The women at reception soon informed us that there would be a weekend market in the main street that night and would taxi us there and back for free of charge, so off we went to explore the goodies Pai had to offer. The market was different from normal Thai markets, it still sold some of the classic purses, elephant printed trousers etc but also sold unique hand-crafted items like dream catchers, jewellery and clothing. We ended up in a cafe which served the best variety of hot drinks and cakes for a good price, how could we ever resist!? The walls were covered by so many flowers, at first sight we thought it was a florist but soon discovered otherwise.

The next day we decided to hire a moped (which we named Phoebe) and head to a few of the local tourist spots. After a few runs up and down Pai's main street, Sophie eventually got the hang of how to ride it and we began the drive to the hot springs in Huai Nam Dang National Park. They were just a short walk from the car park and we were shocked to find that some were so hot, you could actually pay to boil an egg in them, who would do that haha!? We settled for the hottest one we could handle and made ourselves comfy as our bodies soaked in the natural minerals. There were plenty of signs in the park warning tourists not to stay in the water too long because if your body absorbed too much of the minerals, it can make you feel dizzy and unwell so we made sure to sit out for at least 5 minutes before moving down to the next one.

After spending a bit too long relaxing in the springs, it was time to dry off and head to Pai canyon which was only a 10 minute drive away. Some people say the canyon is Pai's answer to the Grand Canyon, it could more accurately be described as narrow red ridges with steep-sided valleys, both filled with pine forests. The steep 50m drop either side and stunning views over the surround countryside are impressive but we had to be extra careful because the path is extremely narrow in some places.

Next stop, Koh Tao to begin our PADI Open Water Scuba Diving course.. EXCITING!

Here are some photos of our time in Pai:

Our home away from home
Outdoor BBQ and seating area

Cute quote at Pai market

Some of the handmade jewellery at the market

The most flowers we've ever seen in one room!

Hot chocolate and cake before bed, perfect!
The fabulous 'Phoebe'!
Arriving at Huai Nam Dang National Park

Cruising to the canyon

The view from the canyon

One of the narrow ridges to walk across

The Happy Wanderers

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