Chiang Mai and Pai

Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
Trip End Dec 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
A little Bird guest house, Chang Mai
Pai River Resort, Pai

Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Saturday, October 30, 2010

We arrived in Chiang Mai late Saturday night, following a 1 hour flight from Bangkok airport and pretty much just hit the hay. We weren't sure how the flooding in Thailand had affected the bus and train route, so we just decided to fly with Air Asia instead.

The Little Bird Guest House was a really relaxing place, down a quiet soi (side street), with a nice communal area to chill out with other backpackers, with bars/restaurants/7eleven just around the corner.

On the Sunday we explored Chiang Mai itself, which has a few temples and sights, but is more of a working/transit town, often used a base for trekking/tours. We went to Wat Chedi Luang where we chatted to a Buddhist monk (recommended) for about an hour, learning about his life, the monastery and Buddhist beliefs. But it was good fun as he had a very dry sense of humour and was able to spot that Sophie and I came from the north and the south of England and by the end of it he was impersonating my "cockney" accent!

In the evening we went to the Sunday market - which is HUGE and good value for money. Sophie and I got a few bits and pieces we were looking for and spent about three hours just walking around looking at all the "shiny shiny". It's becoming a bit of a theme that Sophie can't walk past a street market without buying something.

In the evening we chilled with some other backpackers back at the Little Bird Guest House, who were in fancy dress, for Halloween. The guests (about 15 others) were in amusing fancy dress, but there was also five members of staff in Halloween costumes, all ready to go out too!!! We ended up in the Reggae Bar (there appears to be a Reggae Bar, a pancake stall, a 7eleven and night markets just about everywhere we've been) partying away to the early hours with people we had only just met and haven't really seen since. You have to love the backpacking lifestyle.

On Monday morning Sophie did a half day Thai cooking course and has been waxing lyrical about Thai food since and explaining to me what I have actually been eating. For example there's four types of egg plant (aubergines) used in Thai cooking, and there's 14 different ingredients for a green curry paste and coconut cream is what is in a coconut and coconut milk is watered down coconut cream and....(you get the picture). In the morning I just chilled out with a few people from the Halloween party and went for a late brunch. 

In the afternoon, we traveled to Pai  (4 hours in a mini bus). It was a beautiful scenic journey, but the winding roads meant travel bands were required for Sophie.

Pai is a very chilled out place in the Thai mountains, a bit tourist-ville with a nice evening market. When we first arrived we didn't have any accommodation booked and the first couple of places we saw were either not up to Sophie's standards and/or full, but eventually the last place on the river has a room and it was very comfortable and with a bit of bartering on the price we were set in our own little bamboo hut looking over the river.

We spent the evening browsing the night market (Sophie bought some more stuff, to be fair I bought a T-shirt as well) and relaxing in a restaurant listening to some live music (two guys on guitar playing Hotel California, Layla, Yesterday, etc...)

We knew we wanted to do a white water rafting trip on the River Pai to get to Mae Hong Son but we weren't sure whether to do some sight seeing around Pai the next day and raft for one day or do the rafting for two days.

We found out that for the one day trip we would have to get up at 7:30 am, but for the two day trip it was 8:45am. A no brainer - we went for the two-day trip!!!


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