After a late and somewhat hungover start we headed to the bus station and got a minibus to Pai. We had heard such good things about Pai from everyone we talked to so had high expectations for this place. After a very windy, twisty road (with a woman being sick into her hat – Zorros’s personal highlight) across the scenic lush green mountains we arrived in the most adorable small town. The centre was very small and narrow so a lot of streets couldn’t have vehicles down (except motorbikes of course).
The place was buzzing with backpackers, the air was alive with smells of fresh food being cooked by the street vendors and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Just what everyone had described. Perfect. Our hostel, Spicy Pai, was made all from bamboo and was in the middle of a rice paddy which added to the cool vibe of the place.
The next day we hired mopeds as it’s the best way to explore the surrounding area. After a very shaky start with me failing to understand the concept of leaning when going around corners and Zorro chickening out and letting someone else drive hers instead we made it to town where we met up with friends we made in Chiang Mai. Next challenge was the petrol station, but luckily there were attendants to fill the bikes up for us. It was good timing too as Zorro’s bike ran out of petrol literally 10 metres before the station.
With Keith as our guide as he’d already been the day before we set off for the waterfall. It was probably one of the most terrifying things I’ve done, I was not a natural at riding motorbikes. Not only did I have to concentrate on balancing straight and turning corners but you also have to dodge the other bikes, trucks and cars. And as I was being a tortoise I kept losing sight of everyone else so then was panicking I had missed a turning. It turns out they were really good at waiting for me so that was fine. Towards the end of the drive to the waterfall I was feeling much more confident and even was enjoying the rode, until I nearly ran over a bludy chicken. Why did the chicken cross the road? To knock Amy off her bike.
The waterfall was a combination of mini waterfalls with the same smooth rock which meant they were excellent for sliding down. It was a lot of fun and we started to bump into people we had already met in Chiang Mai and our hostel. It’s always good to see a friendly face.
Once we were all waterfalled out we drove on to Pai Canyon. This had amazing views if the paths at times were a little tricky. We hiked around a loop taking in the gorgeous scenery minus Zorro and another girl who couldn’t handle the heights. There was a big discussion about where to go next as it was getting late in the afternoon. Some wanted to go to the other waterfall and some wanted to go see the sunset at the giant Buddha statue and some didn’t care either way (me). In the end the sun set won so now it was a race to get there in time. After a sticky moment at a petrol station to refuel with a less than helpful woman who screwed us over we were on our way. This was my favourite part of the drive. The lighting was incredible as the sun was starting to go down, there were lush fields, serene mountains and candyfloss clouds.
The sunset at the Buddha was a little disappointing as the mountains were blocking most of it. However the atmosphere was really good filled with backpackers sharing their adventures of that day. We went for a group meal that evening at a great little restaurant in town which was the perfect end to a perfect day.
We were sad to leave the next day as a lot more time could be spent at this funky little town in the mountains. But next stop Laos.