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Published: July 28th 2013
We have finally left Chiang Mai, after extending our stay twice! We met some great people and the hostel was lovely, so it was hard to leave! On monday morning, the day we left, David, Kai, Jess, an Australian woman from our hostel and I all got up at 5:30am to see the monks walking around the town receiving food offerings. Aree had told us that because it was the first day of Buddhist lent that there would be lots to see, and the best place would be the Wat on the other side of the old city - furthest from our hostel. Whilst we did see monks walking round the city receiving many food offerings, it wasn't quite as spectacular as Aree had made it out to be. David's constant moaning, idiot abroad style, did make the morning much more entertaining however, and I still managed to get some photos, so it was worth getting up to see.
The bus to Pai was fairly comfortable and air conditioned, however it was hard to sleep as the road was so bendy - 762 curves in 136km! It didn't help that we were stuck in the back of the mini bus,
with no view out the front window, so by the time we reached Pai I was feeling quite travel sick and very glad to get off the bus! Luckily someone offered us a lift from the bus stop to our hostel, he wasn't a taxi driver, which he told us, but there were no taxis about so we were more than happy to pay him. We are staying in Darling Viewpoint, which as the name suggests is up a hill to gain a good view, so I'm glad we didn't walk the dirt track with our bags on!
When we checked in the hostel owner was very insistent in informing us that there were two very nice, very handsome English boys in our room, then started to giggle! She didn't seem to want to take no for an answer either, so we just went to our room anyway. Well at least she's friendly!!
After a late lunch at the hostel we wandered into town to see whats on offer, and soon found an amazing cake shop to sit in for half an hour!! The cake was delicious - a struggle to finish but well worth the battle. Unfortunatly
that meant we were too full for all the delicious looking street food on offer, but there was plenty more time for that.
That night we met a couple of guys from Chiang Mai in our hostel, so the next day after dragging them into town for brunch - we'd already been in for breakfast and come back - we decided to check out Pai canyon. We got a taxi from the only taxi desk in town, and managed to get a deal to go and visit a waterfall to swim in on the way too. Swimming in the waterfall was great - it was really refreshing in the heat of the afternoon, and we even saw a tiny turtle on the rocks. I wish I'd thought to take my underwater camera, but luckily Roberto had one, so hopefully I'll see the pictures we took one day! It was good to finally get to swim in a waterfall too, after the failed attempt in Chiang Mai. The canyon was really scenic too, we timed it well avoiding the heat of the day, so it was nice to just walk around the parts that weren't too thin and precarious! Overall
it was a great trip for a few hours, and 2 places I'd recommend to anyone visiting Pai.
Yesterday it was horrible to say bye to everyone, as they were all moving on and leaving us behind. This is one of the worst things about travelling, having to say bye to so many new friends. After leaving them all at the bus stop we headed off back to the cake shop to cheer us up a bit! The sofas are really comfy so we stayed there quite a while reading and eating cake! On the way back to the hostel we also stopped for an Oil massage, because when they're only 200 baht (around 4 pounds) for an hour it'd be silly not to!
By the time we finished our massages it was chucking it down with rain - the joys of travelling in rainy season! so we couldn't eat from all the market stalls, as there was no shelter. We ended up taking shelter in a bar before running to 7/11 for ponchos so that we didn't get too soaked on the way back. This was also the first time i've been cold the whole trip! Not
bad considering i've been away 2 weeks and only been wearing t-shirts and shorts.
Today we decided to get a taxi out to the hot springs after lunch. The entry was 200 baht, but there are loads of pools to swim in, so it was well worth the cost. The hot springs range from 80 degrees at the top - where they actually boil eggs in them in the mornings! down to 34-30 which are the pools that have been channelled with the stream running through to make pleasant swimming areas. At first the 32 degrees pool was too hot, but I soon adapted to find it very pleasant! As Pai is quite high up the air also appeared pleasently cool after being in the thermal pools, which made a nice change!
This evening we finally got to eat from the market stalls! We got a group of 6 of us together from the hostel and went to check out what was on offer from the market - mostly lots of pancakes for vegetarians, I'm not complaining in the slightest!! When we got back to our hostel there was a fire alight in the main common area, so
lots of us sat round the fire for the night, which was a really nice way to say bye to Pai!
On to Chiang Mai tomorrow for the night, then Sukhothai on Saturday morning.
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