We’ve been in Pai since Sunday afternoon when we arrived by bus from Chiang Mai. The name of the town is pronounced with a hard “B” sound, as in, “Bye Bye”, not, “American Pie”. The weather is quite different up here in the mountains of Northern Thailand and we wake up to the chilly morning air protected by a couple of blankets and a mosquito net in our cabin. The cabin is the ideal setting for a little morning stretch and exercise, complete with a straw mat and a beautiful view of the gardens.
We decided to skip the included “American Breakfast” as it’s called and cross the street for something a bit more interesting and healthy. We first dropped off our dirty laundry, also across the tiny street, where they wash your clothes for 20 Baht (50 cents) and it’s ready by 6PM the same day. The breakfast cafe was small and charming with statues, flowers and little offerings of food in dishes which the passing dogs seemed to enjoy very much. Tamar had a fruit, yogurt and muesli cup and I enjoyed a mushroom crepe and some very strong and good coffee.
We rented a motorbike yesterday and we’ll probably keep it for the entire week that we’re here. Motorbikes are only 100 Baht here in Pai which is about $2.50 and you can fill up the tank for about the same price so it’s just good to have a bike handy for whenever you might need it. However, the air is so cool and clear in the morning that we plan to go on mini-excursions each morning before the afternoon heat arrives.
Today we ventured South past the turnoff to the waterfall we visited yesterday, our current destination being the Pai Canyon. The travel agent we spoke to in town apologized to us in advance that it’s “much smaller than the Grand Canyon” and she told us to not be disappointed. It’s true that if Las Vegas were to create a “Grand Canyon, the Experience” theme park it would be roughly the size of the Pai Canyon but with the mountain view and trees everywhere it was really a nice place to visit. Many narrow natural walkways or dirt paved ridges surrounded the canyon, most of them looking too precarious to even attempt. The view from the canyon was beautiful.
We then continued further South to the “WWII Bridge” which was an old steel bridge over the Pai River. This was actually the same location from which we set out on the previous day’s bamboo raft journey down the river. From the bridge we could see several miles of farmland extending all the way to the surrounding mountains.
We decided to visit another waterfall to the East of Pai and we stopped for lunch along the way. While waiting for our food I set out on foot down the road a bit to photograph some water buffalo. I got pretty close to one who was near enough to the roadside but I think the real camera worthy moment must have been me jumping up and down, waiving my arms and making noises trying to get the buffalo’s attention for my own photo.
We followed the flow of water while driving on a narrow dirt road through fields of crops until the road ended in the shade. We found out that the waterfall was another seven kilometers walk from there. Since this was the hottest time of the day we decided it would be best to return for the hike to the waterfall tomorrow morning when it’s still cool and we weren’t stuffed from eating such a large lunch.
Back in Pai we have WIFI Internet, electricity and a large selection of organic, vegetarian food (and seafood) and fresh baked goods at a nice restaurant called “The Sanctuary” just along the river. It’s the perfect place to chill out during the peak of the day’s heat and to catch up on our blogging!