Heavenly slice of Pai

Everything happens for a reason. Our time in Chiang Mai seemed to have been cut short, when in fact it was simply the universe’s way of telling us, “I made this Pai for you and you’re gonna love it!” It only took three hours to get to Pai, weaving our way through the northern Thailand countryside. If Chiang Mai was supposed to be a relaxing break from Bangkok, then Pai was a relaxing break from Chiang Mai. The main part of town existed on four streets forming a square with sides no more than 300 meters long. Quaint guesthouses and artistic cafés populated the two-lane roads. The place we decided to stay at was a simple bamboo bungalow with glass-sliding door, front porch, and a hammock for $6/night (wifi and TV included).

For two days we rented another motorbike to explore the surrounding area. We drove to Pai Canyon, the WWII memorial bridge, Pai hot springs, and one of the many waterfalls in the area where you could use the rocks as a waterslide. There were a few elephant camps in one stretch of road and artsy little cafés here and there. Most of the time was spent just cruising around the winding streets, embracing the mountainous scenery of banana trees and rice paddies. I think I drove about 150km (90 miles) on one gallon of gas! (a gallon that cost over $5, I’ll have you know)

The rest of our time we spent relaxing at different cafés and browsing the bric-a-brac at the nightly street market. Pad Thai was deliciously consistent from one vendor for $1/plate. There was usually a fruit shake or two in there as well ($.80/$1 for one/two fruits). A couple of places even had kombucha! One day, we got simultaneous massages with a hot herbal compress in a (get this…) air-conditioned room! We thought we’d only stay for 3-4 days, but stuck around for 8. Time doesn’t seem to exist in a place like Pai…

From there, we took the quick journey back to Chiang Mai in order to book a slow boat package to Laos. Unfortunately, my body didn’t agree with leaving Pai (so soon?!) and my neck and upper back became incredibly tight and painful the day we left. We spent two days in Chiang Mai, instead of one, so I could get a couple oil massages and start to feel better.

We left Chiang Mai Friday morning for a 3 day/2 night journey to Luang Prabang on a slow boat down the Mekong River. Day 1 took us to the border in a minivan and Days 2 and 3 were on the boat. Included in the package was a stop at The White Temple in Chiang Rai en route to the Thailand/Laos border. I thought it would be “just another temple”, but this place was unbelievable! It’s a contemporary Buddhist and Hindu temple designed in 1997, but still under construction. Check out the pics, but they certainly don’t do it justice. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen so far. (this site has some pretty good pics and a better description: http://www.neverendingvoyage.com/white-temple-chiang-rai-a-photo-essay/) I just wanted to mention it because it’s in Thailand, but the details of the rest of our adventure into Laos will have to wait for another post…

Categories: Thailand | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Heavenly slice of Pai

  1. Unbelievable! Super stoked to be able to follow your guys’ adventures, it looks like an amazing time. Good on ya!

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