Pai Travel Blog

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gotta love my overnight sidetrips. as with hangzhou & the blue mountains, pai was well worth it.

being the flashpacker i've become sometime in china i wanted to try one of the privately run aircon minibusses that pick you up from your guesthouse and deliver you in pai. deliver is the right word as the road up to the mountain village is the worst i've seen in 6 months around the world. steep & tons of curves... i got a strong stomach, but this was borderline, especially with the speeding van driver. but i got the front seat so i won't complain too much hehe

everyone arrived in pai, happy to have his feet on solid ground and looking for accommodation. of course i took the unsocial route of first mover advantage and speeded away towards the cheap riverfront bungalows to gather myself some prime real estate for the night. and it worked nicely, while the minivan tourists were still walking around in a big group for some reason, i got the biggest of the cheapo bungalows near and far. ok i paid 250 baht for it but it is bigger than my first flat in zurich and has ensuite bath with hot shower... haha - everyone else enjoy your night in your 2m2 straw huts on the cheapo side of the river.

250 baht is a bit less than 10 swiss francs and in banking-work terms thats about the time value of one powerpoint presentation printout. haha i will never moan again doing that, just think of the bungalow hilton night i cross-finance with it hehe

explored pai, which is a strange little town. i loved the view over the river & hills from my bungalow, the town itself is cute, but looks all too familiar. pai has a vibe like lake tekapo in nz but add to it a trainload of 'alternative kids' (read retarded) and their hippie parents that exploded & settled there. this is the place where the girls with khao san road dreadlocks come to relax. not my thing really.

decided to live out my easy rider fantasies and try to ride a motorbike for the first time in my life... pai seemed perfect: almost no cars, straight streets, no one checking any licenses & dirt cheap (100 baht for 24 hours). i asked for a crash course and picked a nice bike (afterwards discovering that i fetched the most powerful one). the girl drove us out in some place where i cannot possibly kill someone as she assessed my skills perfectly.

drove a bit, liked it. did a turn, liked it. did another turn, fell flat on my face - did not like it anymore

luckily neither me, the bike nor the chickens were hurt and i've decided to call it a day and take my next crash course in laos :-)

the best night spot in town was closed and everything got really quiet after nightfall so i headed back into my bungalow, enjoyed the riverview, the fresh & cool air and gave the mozzies something to bite into hanging around on my veranda. i've heard about 50 animal sounds i've never heard before but slept like a baby

decided to rough it on the way down, ordinary non aircon bus. and surprise, it was 10 times better than the bloody minivan. meet 3 other travellers with great stories, a bus driver who is just mad (he was a lot faster than the minivan) and the cool breeze from the window seat in my face. great experience

ditched the "taxi to town" tuktuk / songtaos at the bus station and hopped into a songtao on the road filled with thais. of course, cost me about 1/3 of what the official one would have cost... hehe good bye flashpacking, i am back!

will head to chiang rai tomorrow and i'm getting ready for the transition to laos, e.g. sending more stuff home, buying more anti-malaria drugs, cash up and download loads of movies & music for those 2 day boat rides :-)

flickr set: pai
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photo by: Stevie_Wes