As I explained in my previous post, one of the best things to do whilst visiting Chiang Mai in Thailand is to make the three hour trip north-west to the small town of Pai (population: 3000). It's just THE CUTEST and OH SO WORTH IT!
My sister and I actually went there as part of a two day tour by a lovely tour company called Chang Erawan. The tour included an amazing elephant excursion and trip to Tiger Kingdom (again, see my previous post) before you take the bumpy, windy, mountainous roads onto Pai. You stop in Pai overnight in a luxury bungalow and then spend the next day seeing the sights of the surrounding area before heading back to Chiang Mai. All the while, you travel in the comfort of your own air-conditioned SUV stocked with water and soft drinks and driven by the nicest of nice English-speaking tour guide.
It's a bit of a whistle stop tour as you are on the clock to get back to Chiang Mai for early evening on the second day, but there is enough time to cover the key highlights of one of the prettiest places I've ever been!
Without further do, here's the best bits of Pai:
1) Pai Canyon.
Ah, the imaginatively titled Pai Canyon. I hate to burst your bubble, but it's got nothing on the Grand Canyon. Pai Canyon is basically an elevated viewpoint overlooking the Pai valley; it's pretty, don't get me wrong, but it's just not the Grand Canyon! (Let's face it, nothing really compares to that bad boy.) Having said that though, Pai Canyon is definitely worth a look!
2) Pai River Villa.
This is the accommodation where we stayed for the night. We had our own private bungalow with a king size bed and ensuite bathroom which was, you guessed it, right on the river that runs through Pai. It was so peaceful and stunning! We loved it.
3) Night markets.
The actual town centre of Pai is only a couple of streets long and wide. It's very popular with backpackers and holiday-makers alike, however it only truly comes alive at night. There is a daily night market down the main street that is not quite as extensive as the Sunday Walking Street in Chiang Mai, but still fun to walk around! DO IT and I guarantee you will enjoy yourself (and perhaps pick up a couple of bargains along the way)!
4) The White Buddha.
This little guy is casually chilling halfway up one of the mountains that overlooks Pai. It doesn't feel like much from a distance but, as you get closer, it's seriously impressive. There's about 38428 steps to walk up before you can get up close and personal to him (okay, that's a slight exaggeration) however, once you're up there, the view is simply breathtaking.
5) Chinese Yunnan Village.
This is a real Chinese settlement that has turned into a major tourist attraction in recent years. Many people come from all over to experience the Yunnan food and way of life. It's not a huge area so it doesn't take long to peruse - I'd say it was a nice little pitstop on the tour and so cute that it looks like a postcard!
6) Mo Paeng Waterfall.
Usually, this waterfall is one of the tourist hotspots in Pai (well this one and Pam Bok, which wasn't included on our tour). But it was very quiet on the day we visited Mo Paeng and a bit of a disappointment, if I'm honest, simply because there hadn't been any rainfall in weeks so the water was very sparse. (And you need a lot of water to make a half decent waterfall, right?!) The surroundings were still aesthetically pleasing though and I could imagine how lovely it would have looked if only there was a bit more water!
7) Pai Hot Springs.
Unfortunately, visiting the hot springs wasn't included on our tour so we didn't get to experience them. Although, if you get the opportunity, you must do this as I hear great things about them! Take one for the team.
To summarise, we just couldn't help but love Pai. I think it's largely due to the fact that it's so small that it's SUPER CUTE. With it being nestled amongst the mountains up and down some of the most twisty, bumpy roads known to man, it feels a bit like a secret hideaway. Furthermore, I can't emphasise how picturesque it is in town centre - a perfect muse for artists needing a new subject! We were only there for one night but I fell madly, deeply in love with it and I will never forget it! Pai, you BABE!
After Pai, we ventured to Bangkok just for a couple of nights before flying back to England. Unfortunately the trip ended on a bit of a bad note for me as I was struck down with severe wisdom tooth pain which prevented me from being able to enjoy Bangkok as much as I did the first time around in 2014.
However, all in all, I had a fantastic time during my month in Thailand. Indeed, there were some downs: illness at the beginning and illness at the end, flooding in Koh Samui, being attacked by mosquitoes and general lack of hygiene to name a few. But there were also so many ups - just read my last few blog posts back! And I couldn't have done it all without my best friend, partner in crime and Chief Travelling Buddy: my sister, Miss Nicola Davies. That girl is nothing short of amazing! We've had some of the best times travelling together on and off over the last nine months. As I sit here typing in my boyfriend's house in Green Bay, USA, I cannot help but smile at all the memories. It also makes me a little sad knowing that this travelling period is almost over. Once I get back to England in a couple of weeks time, I don't plan on going anywhere abroad for quite a while. It's time to focus on my career! (Also my passport is definitely about to expire, so there's that to sort out first before I can travel again internationally. WAH!)
This brings me nicely onto my next blog post detailing my career epiphany. It's gonna be a good one!
But, for now, Thailand - you have been incredible. You have taught me so much the second time around, just as you did the first! You have reiterated to me how lucky I am to live in a wealthy country with all the little luxuries we have and often take for granted on a daily basis. You have given me a new found appreciation and respect for life. (How much do I sound like Ross from Friends there during the car backfire episode?! Like, SRSLY.)
I'm not sure if we'll ever meet again so - if not - THANK YOU, Thailand! You have been epic and I will never forget you.
(Check out my other posts in the Thailand Travelling Series here, here, here and here! For all those who have stuck with this series all the way through... I just want to say thank you! I'm so grateful that you've taken the time to visit my little blog and care about my thoughts and ramblings. I have a lot of, what I'm hoping will be, interesting content coming up in the next few weeks so please stick with me! Until next time, my lovelies... K-xo)
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