A Journey To Pai

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July 24th 2008
Published: July 27th 2008
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 Video Playlist:

1: A Little Pai Countryside 19 secs
2: More Pai Countryside 25 secs


Thursday, July 17 and Friday, July 18 were Buddhist holidays so that gave us a four day weekend!! This was our first chance to really take a trip out of Chiang Mai. We had heard good things about a small town about 130 kilometers northwest of us called Pai so we went.

Until about five years ago Pai was one of the best kept secrets in Northern Thailand. It attracted a bunch of foreigners who were mostly artist types (aka smelly hippies) and Thai artists (also smelly hippies). The town also maintains quite a bit of cultural diversity and tolerance. Now the secret is out and tourism is in full swing…kind of. It’s developing but still really small. There are lots of western food places and tons of guesthouses. You’ll see plenty of tourists and there is a little nightlife scene.

Pai is in the mountains and while the roads are good quality they are very windy and steep. Our only two options to get there were to take our motorbike or a bus. That’s right, I said our motorbike.

We bought a motorbike a few weeks ago cause…well, cause it was time. You see everybody
A Small View of PaiA Small View of PaiA Small View of Pai

Taken from a road break
and their 8 year old kid drives a motorbike here. It’s really convenient. I’m serious about the eight year olds driving motorbikes too. Also, it’s not uncommon to see a family of four on one bike. We'll get pictures of that.

Our bike is a 125cc Honda. It’s a few years old but works very well. I drive the thing really well (I practiced a lot) and have been giving Claire lessons (she does well too). And don’t worry moms and dads, we always wear helmets. The Chiang Mai police are crazy about having helmet checkpoints. I think that’s the only thing they do during daylight hours. Helmet check points.

Anyways, back to the story. We took the motorbike cause we figured it would be a beautiful drive and it was. In fact it was one of the most beautiful and exciting driving experiences I’ve ever had, and I’ve driven a lot of great places. We had Rob and Paige accompanying us on the way up and Lauren and Angie joined the group for the trip back. Aaron was the last member of our party and he took a bus up and back.

While we were in
Coffee HillCoffee HillCoffee Hill

This was about halfway to Pai. This high end coffee shop is evidence that Pai is becoming quite the tourist attraction for foreigners and Thai's (from Chiang Mai and Bangkok).
Pai it rained a lot. That’s really ok though cause it’s the kind of place where you just hang out. Our little guest house had a big common area with a bunch of games and the guy played really good, relaxing music all day. At night we ate and drank.

The one thing that kind of sucked was that the bars were closed the first two nights because of the Buddhist holiday. It was kind of the beginning of their lent period. The hardcore part of the rainy season is upon this part of the world so the monks traditionally stop traveling and remain in their respective temples for about three months. In fact, I think it’s to the point where they can’t leave now. Ask Claire. She’s been studying Buddhism more than me. I’ve been trying to learn Thai.

The western food was also ridiculously good in Pai. We ate a lot of it. We also saw a few waterfalls and went to a hotspring/spa thing. Finally we drove the motorbikes around the mountain villages. A tour, if you will.

Well, that’s about all the words I feel like putting in. I’ll let the pictures do
That's PaigeThat's PaigeThat's Paige

Paige is our 1st grade teacher at PRC (my school). She has a tendency to make really strange faces in photos. She's from Arkansas and sings like an angel.
the rest of the talking. We had a great time with our little crew and I’ll be sure to write good captions for the pictures.

And finally...we added a few videos. There's not much there but I suppose they're worth a look. Turn down your volume though because they were filmed on the motorbike and the wind messes with the microphone.

Additional photos below
Photos: 59, Displayed: 24


Roadside BreakRoadside Break
Roadside Break

Whenever we stopped on the side of the road the passing Thai motorists all waved and smiled really big. It was great and funny.

We were trying to make a heart. This is during one of our roadside breaks.
1st dumb picture...1st dumb picture...
1st dumb picture...

many more to come. That's Rob. You haven't met him yet. He's from San Jose and went to UCSB (at about the same time Claire did). He's the kindergarten teacher at PRC.
Picture of Paige Taking a PicturePicture of Paige Taking a Picture
Picture of Paige Taking a Picture

This is where it really started to get beautiful. Pai is in a large valley surrounded by mountains.
Coffee Hill (encouragement)Coffee Hill (encouragement)
Coffee Hill (encouragement)

They do serve beer here so I'm thinking this sign is very inappropriate especially considering the super steep and windy part of the road is after this (heading north-east).
Our GuesthouseOur Guesthouse
Our Guesthouse

These little bungalows were our homes for three days. They had a matress, mosquito net and fan...all for $5 a night. They were almost on the river. Some of the cheapest housing in Pai but it's really all we needed. It was a shared bathroom too.
Brian SleepingBrian Sleeping
Brian Sleeping

This is me fast asleep under the mosquito net. The secret is to take a cold shower before bed. That dries our your skin enough to fight the 100% humidity, otherwise you just feel like a sticky mess.
View from our BungalowView from our Bungalow
View from our Bungalow

That's what we woke up to. Not too bad.
Rob and ClaireRob and Claire
Rob and Claire

This is in town
Hippies do smellHippies do smell
Hippies do smell

There's also no h in trousers

I'm pretty sure these are termites. They were all over the wooden bridge we crossed.... Lauren took this photo.

from our group. Left to right we have Lauren, Angie, and Aaron. Lauren works at the AUA and some other place and Angie and Aaron both work at PRC (Brian's school)

31st July 2008

I LOVE the jumping pictures............... They say that once you've tasted termites there is no going back, they are so delicious!
10th August 2008

Saying hi
Hey you two! Looks like your having a blast. I could never imagine Brian riding a motorcycle....weird. Anyways, you and Claire be safe. Tracy and I both miss you two. Keep the pictures coming
16th October 2008

How did you guys find these teaching positions? Did you work through a recruiter?

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