The road to Pai from Chiang Mai is very windy through the mountains with a lot of switchbacks. I was riding in a mini van with a bunch of other backpackers going the same place. The Thai driver was very funny. When we saw water buffalo crossing the road, he said “Oh! Thailand Elephant with tallons!” And the next time we saw a dog in the road he said “, Oh Hyena in Thailand!” I giggled both times.
The van dropped us at the beginning of a street that was walking only and full of food stands and things for sale. It was quite crowded and all lit up. So I walked down the street with my backpack and tried to follow my map to my bungalow overlooking the town. It was dark, but I crossed a bamboo bridge and walked up a scary dirt road and then when I decided I might be lost, I called the lady at my guest house. She had a french man with a scooter come pick me up… turns out I was 100 meters away just around the bend.
I woke up to this view from my bungalow. I’m sitting here now enjoying the afternoon after a long day of touring.
Turns out someone has counted the number of curves on the road I took. This drive is not for the faint of heart. If you get motion sick, sea sick, or nervous when your driver passes a slow truck on a blind turn, then don’t go. Or bring a barf bag!
This is the cute bamboo bridge I crossed in the dark. It’s the quickest way for me to get to town from where I’m staying. It’s creaky and scary but I love it!
After breakfast, I hired a private driver in a brand new truck with AC to drive me to all the major sites around Pai. Here is a place I had him stop in the countryside so I could take a quick picture. It was lovely! I’m going to do a separate post about Pai Canyon because it was amazing. Here are the rest of the places I went:
This is called the World War II Bridge. Originally the Japanese built a bridge here to get over and attack Burma. When the war was over, the Japanese destroyed the bridge, but Thai people rebuilt it because it was so helpful. Then there were some floods that knocked the wooden bridge out, so in the 70’s the locals asked to have a steal bridge brought from Bangkok. The sign made it sound like this is a recycled bridge. Anywho, the wood floor on the bridge is very creaky as well. There is a real concrete bridge next to it for the actual road traffic. The bridge is just a symbol of the history of the region now.
This is the Chinese Village outside Pai. I think it’s just a tourist trap but I’m not sure. In this picture, I’m standing on top of what I think is the Great Wall of China. It was cute to walk around, just a bunch of chinese food places and tea shops.
This is part of Mor Paeng waterfall. It’s a beautiful stretch of waterfalls and the water has carved through these rocks in a funny pattern of dips. In the upper falls people were swimming and playing around. Looks like a great way to spend a hot day and reminded me of a waterfall near my home in Maryland.
This is the view of Pai from a beautiful temple called Wat Mae Yen. It’s situated up on the side of the mountain with great views of the valley.