by Mandeep Gaygoat
Pai is a small town in northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province, near the Myanmar border, about 50 miles/80 km north of Chiang Mai on the northern route to Mae Hong Son. It lies along the Pai River. The town has thesaban tambon status and covers parts of the tambon Wiang Tai of Pai district. As of 2006, it has a population of 2,284.
Today we enjoyed the resort and the amazing views of rice fields and mountains from our balcony, relaxing by the pool, making arrangements for South Thailand. Then we scootered towards Pai town.
Hotel swimming pool
Still on the resort
We took a wrong turning which turned out to be a blessing, we saw amazing scenery including farmers tending to their fields against mountainous back drop, narrow streets where locals relaxed and chatted, beautiful temples, and dogs that refused to move from their chill out spot in the middle of the road!
Back on track, we headed through town on to Wat Phra That Mar Yen, 1km east of town and on a hill with stunning views over Pai.
Stall outside the temple
View from the temple
Pit stop at a cafe then into town where the evening market was beginning to set up.
We had a wander around the market then popped into Black Canyon cafe for drinks where we met Harbans Singh from Ipoh, Malaysia. He was on a road trip with some friends. We chatted to him for a while then wandered down to Chew Xin Jai restaurant, afterwards took in atmosphere of the night market which was now in full swing where there was lots of live music, great food and good quality local craft merchandise.
Buying fresh strawberries
Eating at Chew Xin Jai
We then scootered back to the resort, it was a very cold journey back, where after gazing at the spectacular star studded sky, we called it a day.
by Mandeep Gaygoat
Today we sorted out what clothes to take to Pai, it did not make sense taking two huge back packs to Pai, especially when we were only going for two nights. We left the backpacks at the Gurdwara. The Gianiji had to check with the president if that was okay. Luckily it was, quite amazing the president did not have to call a committee meeting to discuss! (Sarcasm!!) We went over to the Gurdwara to drop bags, chatted to Gianiji for a while, he showed us the library and where Gurmat / Gurmukhi classes are held, we left our back packs there. Gianiji came out with us and hailed a red song thaw for us to take to the bus station. He explained that the standard charge for these is 20 baht (per person), wherever in Chiang Mai you are going. That makes the 250 THB we paid to the Songthaw driver last night seem very steep!!
We were at the Arcade bus station (terminal 3) by 11am, so in good time.
I look miserable because there was a screaming child getting on the same bus!
There was a lot of activity at the bus station, including people handing out sim cards – I took one, well it was free!
Stopping at the services
Our minivan was packed. There was no room inside for passenger luggage so it went on top of the van. We set off at exactly 1130 and tried to make ourselves comfortable for the next three hours. The minivan was clean and the ride fairly comfortable, though the driver would speed over bumps every so often leaving us a bit shaken! We sped up 107 and then turned onto 1095 near Khilek where the views were very scenic.
Police check point
We drove through amazing unspoilt forest, climbing up some very steep and bendy roads. We saw villagers going about their everyday business. There were some stunning wats (Buddhist temples) to be seen along the way and the mountain views were truly spectacular. We arrived in Pai at 2.45pm. The iPhone map displayed Phu Pai Art Resort (where we had booked accommodation) as being around 1.5km from the centre of town, so we decided to walk. Map was wrong – again!
After almost half an hour of walking in the sweltering heat, some locals explained that the resort was actually 5km out of town (which is what we were expecting) in the opposite direction!! So we went back into town with the intention of catching a taxi. We ended up at a vegan restaurant :
Chew Xin Jai
222 Moo 4
T: +66 85 7173628
Shrine at the back of the restaurant
Restaurant from the outside
The restaurant owner was very helpful and gave us a map showing us exactly where our accommodation is and also directed us to where we can hire a scooter, after a delicious meal, we headed to the scooter hire company, walked round quite a bit, searched for an ATM, picked up the scooter and headed to the resort. With all the walking we did, we actually managed to see most of the centre in the space of a couple of hours. Pai seems very relaxed and a bit of a hippy town. People seem to come here to get away from the troubles of life.
Arranging the scooter rental
On the scooter
Back at the hotel, we were blown away by just how tranquil the setting of the resort was. We were the only guests around – our own personal resort!
Phu Pai Art Resort
92 Moo.1 T. Mae Na Theung A.Pai
Mae Hong Son, Thailand 58130
T: +66 53-065 111
E: [email protected]
W: www.phupai.com www.thailand-resort.net
After relaxing on the verandah admiring the view for a while,
we popped over to the lobby for a stronger wifi connection so we could make some arrangements to extend our trip a little and arrange necessary transport / accommodation. It got very cold at around 8 / 9pm, it’s a strange feeling, something we haven’t experienced for a while!
The resort at night