Perfect Pai and THE BEST TOUR EVER!

Monday, 19 June 2017

After Krabi we did what most sensible backpackers do and headed north! We actually flew from Krabi to Chiang Mai, it wasn't expensive and saved us a lot of time - as we didn't have long in the north. First on our list was the picturesque mountainous town of Pai. After a short stop in Chiang Mai we jumped straight on the bus for Pai (with obvious plans to return to Chiang Mai on our way back). We'd heard many backpackers say how much they loved Pai and that 'if you go up north you have to go to Pai!' - it was kind of the 'done thing'. Known for its breathtaking mountain views, hippy vegan cafes and bars, waterfalls and general quaint vibe we were super excited to check it out. Before I move on to where we stayed I want to quickly mention the notorious bus ride to Pai - with 726 snake turns in the road, along side huge cliff faces it was one of the most thrilling (terrifying) journeys I have encountered. It would have been okay if the guy hadn't been driving at 80 the entire way! With that said just pop a couple of travel sickness tablets before you leave and you'll be Aokay!

We stayed at a homestay a little out of town called 'Mountain View' for just £6 a night we got our own little private bungalow set in a jungle environment with (like the name suggests) AMAZING views! Although the bungalow was literally crawling with bugs (you would expect it from the location) it was still really pretty and well kept. The only thing that was a tad annoying was the long walk into town everyday - if you feel comfortable I would recommend getting out a scooter - me and Craig however opted to walk.

As soon as we arrived in Pai I knew I was gonna like it - unlike lots of Thailand Pai has a very different feel. Everyone seems a lot more laidback and chilled and there seems to be much more of a community feel. We only had 3 days in Pai so wanted to see as much as poss in the time we had - that's why for our first full day we opted for an all day tour using a local company AYA. For just 500 THB we got taken to all the main tourist spots in Pai in the back of an open air truck. We were really lucky enough to share the tour with some lovely girls from Korea - who were loads of fun and so so sweet (South Korea is now on our list). So without further ado here's what we got up to in Pai...

The White Buddha
So our first stop for the day was Pai's famous White Buddha, which was actually first caught a glimpse of on the bus into Pai. Unfortunately for us the Buddha was under construction when we visited, which did take away some of the 'wow' factor. However nothing could spoil the outrageously good views from the top of the Buddha, it made climbing all the stairs 100% worth it!

Yun Lai View point
Now as we just came from the view point at The White Buddha I wasn't expected anything more than the views we got there but this view point was even more special. Not just for the views but for the entire experience! At the top was a little tea shop and anyone who visits the view point gets there own traditional Chinese teapot and tiny China cups. It was such a cute experience sitting drinking our tea, admiring the views. I have to also mention the extremely adorable kittens having a little snooze as well - views, tea and kittens what more could you want?

Chinese village
When I saw this on the list of stops I have to admit I wasn't that fussed about it - I hadn't come to Thailand for a Chinese style village! However it was actually really great. A women gave us some freshly grown berries, some corn on the cob and some more tea! Plus the village was really cool and we got some pretty cool pictures overlooking the mountains.

Tha Pai Hot spring
Next we enjoyed Pai's famous hot spring. Although it was an extremely warm day and it felt a little odd wallowing in hot water it was very cool, I felt a bit like Jane from Tarzan! There were loads of pretty butterflies around by the hot springs and I even got one to land on my hand! After the springs and we were all relaxed we enjoyed some lunch (included in the price of the tour).

Coffee in Love
Next on the list was probably my favourite stop 'Coffee in Love' this amazing little cafe is like no other! Completely love themed and set amongst the most breathtaking scenery and views (yet again). The coffee here was also amazing, we both enjoyed iced lattes. It was so much fun exploring the little garden and all the hidden treasures here.

Bamboo Bridge
So this was another surprise! I feel like a lot of these 'things to do' are played down in Pai because this was also spectacular and we hadn't even really heard about it! A bridge completely made out of bamboo set out amongst a little river and some rice paddies, it was wonderful to walk across (if not a little risky) and take piccys!

Pambok Waterfall
I was excited to visit this waterfall as we were told we could swim in it and I was so ready for a cool off! Although it was quite tricky to walk down to, especially as the rocks were very slippy but once you were in it was so refreshing! There were even some daredevils jumping in from the rocks above.

Strawberry Fields
Another beautiful stop! A bit like Coffee in Love, this place took the theme of strawberries and ran with it! You could literally buy anything strawberry themed, from wine, to cake to juice (which I sampled and can confirm is delicious). It was a lovely place to explore and chill - plus the owners had a very cute puppy.

Memorial Bridge
This was a must see when visiting Pai, a very important piece of history. Memorial bridge was built in WW2 by the Japanese as they wanted a way to invade Burma, which at the time was owned by the British. Sadly many people and elephants actually died making the bridge. It was really cool to walk across the bridge and think about the history - however one of the girls on the trip actually really hurt herself falling through one of the planks of wood that made up the bridge. Luckily she didn't slide completely through but she did really cut her leg! If you ever visit be sure to watch your step - it's a very old structure!

Pai Canyon
This was our final stop on the tour and the perfect stop for sunset! I had seen tones of pictures of Pai canyon before visiting and knew I wanted to see it for myself. Although I wasn't brave enough to walk the entire way round (I probably would have slipped knowing me) we still found the perfect spot along the side to watch he sunset and marvel in the beauty of this place. Be prepared for tones of selfie snapping tourists though!

Our other days in Pai involved lots of wandering about, cafe crawling, eating and noisying in the little markets. Some of the places we loved and would highly recommend are...

Grunge Burger
Come here for the best dirty veggie burger ever (yes that's right a veggie burger that's healthy but tastes naughty) plus they had two or three options which you don't often get as a veggie.

Incredible Mexican cafe! You have to try the veggie breakfast burrito - it's huge and delicious. They also do blue bottle coffee here - which if you read any of my Japan blog posts you will know it's a fav!

Earth Tone Cafe
Came here when we first arrived. Really lovely chilled vibe with good simple vegan and veggie food. They also ran cool events and had a free drinking water fill up station.

So that's it from Pai - we both wished we could have stayed for longer, it really was a place we felt at home in and loved exploring! Although we were sad to leave - we both couldn't contain ourselves for the next step in our journey...

Elly x

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