Published: September 20th 2012September 17th 2012
Wikipedia tells me there are 762 curves and most of them hairpin in nature on the road to Pai. I didn't count them as I was too busy closing my eyes and blocking out the sound of the lady sat next to me being sick into a crisp packet.
Pai is a quaint calming place with spectacular countryside and abundant tranquillity. There are about 3000 residents, many it appears are ex pats that have stayed to enjoy the peace and the weed. The town centre is a quiet few roads lined with organic eateries, bars, jewellery shops, tattoo studios and guesthouses. If I'm honest I was a bit disappointed, I was expecting it to be a bit more bohemian than we found it and was looking forward to buying a hemp seed necklace like the one I lost 14 years ago! Never mind, we still really enjoyed Pai and got that magically calm feeling just being there, bliss.
Our lovely riverside cabin was especially tranquil and we enjoyed doing nothing more than listening to the sounds of crickets, birds and lizards as well as sleeping and catching up on some blog posts and posting pictures to FB!
We hired a scooter and ambled around the countryside, it was stunning. The rainy season had brought out all the flora and fauna and the many shades of green accompanied by exotic flowers was breath taking. The only thing that dampened our ride was seeing elephants chained up by their ankles waiting for tourists to climb on their backs, they looked so unhappy compared to the ele's we'd spent a week with at ENP.
We drove through the Chinese village that is still home to some of the Chinese Yunnan community that once dominated the area along with some Japanese. This took us to a view point up a steep dirt track which was good for some snaps, but the best bit was freewheeling back down on the scooter!
Mo Paeng waterfall was in full flow through the verdant green valley, but full of other tourists, so we had a quick dip and went back on the road exploring. I can't remember how many people offered us marijuana as we flew by, but it was a lot!
The canyon was not exactly what we expected after reading it was Pai's answer to
the famous Grand Canyon! We didn't venture onto the narrow red ridges with 50 metre high drops with steep sided valleys filled with pine forests. The views of the surrounding countryside however were exceptional and well worth the stop off.
At sunset we meandered around the countryside passing locals working in the fields, but most were sat smoking and half asleep in the hazy light. On the way back to Pai centre we passed over the WWII memorial bridge, built by the Japanese.
We spent our evenings drinking happy hour cocktails for a quid and generally hanging out in bars before venturing for cheap Thai food.
I get the feeling Pai is no longer the simple hippy nirvana it once was, but it was still a relaxing bohemian place to chill out in and we really enjoyed it and were glad we took the windy road to get there.
There are more photos below