We had a brilliant time in Chiang Mai, however we stayed here longer than we would normally , so we were itching to get on the road again. Pai was calling us! We had both heard & read amazing things about Pai and what it had to offer, so we were hoping the four hour bus journey would go quickly. Of course it never does … especially when the twists and turns in the climbing road make you want to curl up in a tight ball. As we were winding our way up a mountain it is safe to say there was a lot of close counters. We arrive in one piece however , though we were feeling a little worse for wear 😪.
The sickness quickly passed, with the need for food soon become a top priority (as per usual). Pai is well know for its hippie culture with lots of sunrise yoga and vegan food ( obviously very Thai), so on our way to our hostel we came across a little restaurant. The food was great, but the home made vegan truffles were life changing and we definitely had more than we should have.
Our first night out in Pai we fully embraced the hippie culture and spent it exploring the street markets, eating way too much falafel, and listening to some live Jazz music in a bar. It was already clear why there was such a chilled vibe in this area, what with the weather being a lot cooler and the people being more free.
Adventures of Pai
Something we had yet to do in Thailand was to rent a bike, which we have enjoyed doing in other countries we have been in. So, we decided that we would make a list of all the sights we wanted to see, and bike it to all of them.We rented some bikes from a local shop, and before we knew it we were on our way to see the Pai Canyons!
We both thought that the bike journey wouldn’t be too hard as the distances wasn’t that far on the map; however the map did not acknowledge the hills we would have to take on! A foolish call from the Lynch and Mackenzie club. The hills were incredibly steep and in boiling weather made for quite a challenge! We would have known how challenging the ride would have been, if we hadn’t been to busy on the way up trying to retain our stomach contents. But after a few hills we made it to our pit stop – Strawberry cafe! Disgracefully, they did not sell fresh strawberries at the Strawberry cafe, which we were very disappointed about, so treated ourselves to an ice cream instead!
Back on our bikes, we headed towards the Pai Canyons. We arrived pretty out of breath, but were too excited to walk along the canyons to complain. The views from the canyon took what was left of our breath; with views of green forest, surrounded by mountains stretching out as far as the eye could see. It was an amazing experience.
After some deliberation we decided to take a new route home. This was in an attempt to save my legs, as I refused to cycle over the hills we had gone over the first time: it had nearly killed me ! Luckily, Alex was keen to see other parts of Pai so was all for it. The sun was starting to set by now so we had to make sure we weren’t to slow as we wanted to get to the Giant White Budda for sunset. We found ourselves going along a little road with locals stopping and smiling at us and little dogs running alongside us. Feeling very content with life, with the sun starting to dip behind the mountains creating a dusky light, we thought the day had give us all the loveliness it could offer us… we were so wrong.
As we rounded a corner, we came across 3 enormous grey giants having their dinner. Having decided not to go to an elephant sanctuary in Chaing Mai, for ethical reasons, we were so happy to be able to actually see these beautiful beast in the flesh.
There was one man looking after them all and he gestured for us to come and and take a closer look at them. It made for a very special moment.
Our final stop of the day was to see the White Buddha. We had heard that the view was a great place for sunset though we were running a little later due to our chance encounter with the elephants. The trouble with amazing views, is that most of the time it involves climbing a ridiculous amount of steps, and after a whole day of cycling around Pai, our legs already felt like Jelly.
The White Buddha could be seen pretty much anywhere you are in Pai, due to the size of the statue. The million steps that lead vertically up to the statue, could also been seen. After a whole day of cycling, and what felt like a million steep steps climbed to the halfway point, we stopped climbing and just gave up. We did come back the next day though☺ The photos attached to this post will show the view of the sunset over Pai, but it will never quite do it justice.
Pai is an amazing place, and Alex’s favourite so far in Thailand. The only change we would make to it would be for it to have a pie shop called Pie in Pai. Maybe we’ll open one there one day …