Pai

2 Nov

Last week we had off for October break, so naturally Orestes and I decided to go cavorting about northern Thailand. We visited the small town of Pai, followed by  Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai. We enjoyed it immensely, I took more photos than necessary, and fun and adventures were had.

First things first: the road to Pai is officially the craziest road I have ever been on. Pai is off in the northwestern most province of Thailand, Mae Hong Son (I know my mother will get out the map, so these details are important). It’s tucked into a little valley, surrounded by lovely mountains. To get there, we flew into Chiang Mai and then took a minibus shuttle to Pai. Seems easy, no? Little did we know that the road to Pai is infamous. One can literally buy t-shirts bragging about having survived it. We set off, late afternoon, completely unprepared for what lay ahead. 150-ish kilometers and 762 curves in the road later we arrived, slightly motion sick. Our driver was clearly on the last run of the night; he drove like a bat out of hell, using the yellow center line as a vague suggestion, around blind curves in the dark. The road was a combo of the craziest roads I have been on (VT peeps – picture the Notch times a zillion; Guate peeps – the road out of San Pedro; anyone who’s been on Maui – that crazy road around the north part of the island). Add some serious erosion and places where there had previously been mudslides, and there you have it. We survived it, although we did not get t-shirts. (The return trip was less eventful, perhaps because our driver obeyed the majority of the traffic laws.)

All that aside, Pai was fabulous once we arrived. It has the vibe of a beach town tucked into a valley; lots of backpackers, lots of yoga, lots of falafel. The mountain views are stunning, and the air cooled off in the evenings. After the heat of the Bangkok rainy season, we were pleasantly surprised to need jeans at night. I even purchased a light scarf. Also there were crickets and one could see the stars, so I was in heaven. Pai highlights include:

* Renting a motorbike and driving off into the countryside for adventures, then subsequently purchasing gasoline off the beaten path from a lady who sold it in empty Chang beer bottles

* Wandering the streets during Pai’s nightly walking street (markets with crafts and street food)

* Laying in the hammock outside our bungalow admiring the palm trees. Side note: the place we stayed was awesome and called Pairadise – haha. Triadvisor review to follow.

* Having a small child in pink jammies hand-deliver Orestes’ large bottle of Chang whilst in a bar Monday evening.

* Meeting Thailand’s own Jack Sparrow and having my photo taken with him!! (see below)

* Using the automated petrol pumps that applauded when one finished the transaction

And now without further to-do, a sampling of the many photos I took.

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2 Responses to “Pai”

  1. heidiwgorto November 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Many things:
    Love your endless use of positive adjectives
    Love Orestes’ facial expressions, all of them
    Love that you have helmets because otherwise I would be sad
    Love vacation, I want one!
    Love the tinkering with the blog format
    Love you and can’t wait for the next update

  2. Corky November 14, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    Darcy – I LOVE reading your blogs. Quite an adventure (and you are quite the writer!). This blog in particular peaked your mom’s attention! The countryside looks beautiful. Thanks for keeping us all posted. – Corky

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