Twin Peaks

Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On with the rain proofs and we hitch a local bus to Pai. The bus turns out to be hilariously falling apart at the seams as we block leaks with tissue and plastic bags. We arrive in Pai at 5pm after getting through the journey by watching 5 episodes of fringe. 

It is cold, and Lara & Courtney shelter with coffee whilst the boys search for accommodation. There is a wide range of budget bungalows and we settle in for a rather expensive but warm and dry bungalow at Villa De Pai for 400 baht a night (8).

We end up crowding around the fire at Bamboo Bar where we meet a couple of freaks from Canada, but we will soon discover this is a common trait of the people who come to Pai. 

Another day of torrential down pour as we enjoy a lie in until 9am. The most comfortable beds of our trip so far. We eat at The Witching Well, which makes delicious sandwiches and juices. We eat a vegetable tempura sandwich with chips, but it was a bit too much batter. We decide to head to the Tai Pai Hot Springs, picturing this to be the ideal retreat from the rain. So we rent motorbikes for a torrid 10 km journey. The springs were ideal but expensive to get in at 200 baht each. We walk through the forest before reaching the springs, which are made up of different pools going downstream. They get hotter as you get up and there was a strange scent of sulphur near the hottest area. Begrudgingly we left the nice hot water before riding back to town and going for dinner.

That evening we bought some whisky and had a few drinks on our terrace with the Texans, Nick & Courtney. 

Sun! Beautiful sun streams through our window and we are quick to act. We eat at Little Big's Cafe, who's owner makes his own sausages that are delicious. He tells us the best waterfall to visit so we jump on our bikes and head straight there. To reach the fall it requires some off road motorbiking and a 3 hour trek through the jungle following the stream. It is an enjoyable walk, especially with our new companion, Tits the Dog. She walks with us all the way to the falls and we help her through the tough terrain, discovering she has a love for rocks. The jungle was alive with creatures and the waterfall was spectacular. But we couldn't stay for long as we had a long walk back and didn't want to be caught out in the dark.We got some serious stomping on after losing the track for 30 minutes but we make it back with enough time to catch the sun setting over the hills at Pai Canyon

We ate some lovely street food and washed it down with a good beer whilst watching the local wierdo's. We start to worry if we will ever escape, as the people here appear trapped. It all feels like an episode of Twin Peaks. 

Arise early for our motorbike adventure tour around the north of Thailand and the famous caves near Sap Ong. Jamie rents a semi automatic, Lara rents an automatic and the Texans rent a Honda Phantom, easy rider style. Almost straight away they disappear behind us and when we ride back they are pushing the bike out of the ditch. Unhurt, we head onto the top of the mountain with awesome 360 degree views before dropping another 28km to The Caves Of Tham Lot. The total length of the cave is 1600m and for 600m a river runs through it. Apart from the main chamber, there are 3 side chambers, Column Cavern, Doll Cave and Coffin Cave. They can all be reached by ladders and it takes about 2 hours to explore the whole thing and you must take a bamboo raft to access the side chambers. It costs us 350 baht in total and we get a lousy guide who was unusually fat and largely a disappointment as we get the feeling she rushed us through and din't want to show us anywhere. Apart from this the caves were spectacular and worth the time there. 

We rode back, swapping our bikes, Jamie riding The Phantom and looking pretty damn cool. We stop off at Mor Paeng Waterfall where we heard it was fun to slide down the rocks but in reality it was full of Pai wierdo's promoting poor ethical travel. We decide to end our Pai adventures there and organise our visa run to Laos.

A chilled day on our bungalows terrace, completing blogs and job applications. The Texans went to Chiang Mai to catch their flight but we plan to meet up with them in Krabi to climb.

16/3/11 30.50
17/3/11 32
18/3/11 20
19/3/11 28
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