8 November 2011

Rasta Pie [Pai, Thailand]

Pai did not disappoint. A tiny town located among mountains, forests and rivers. It is a haven for hippies and rastas, and people who like to relax in the beautiful wilderness, while possibly using a variety of mind altering substances.

We set off from our guesthouse in Chiang Mai to catch the advertised 4pm local bus (for B60). We opted not to take the guest house recommended tuk-tuk for B80, even after the owner told us what a good deal it was, and found our own one on the street for B50. It seems that you really can't trust anyone here. When we got to the bus station we were told that there were only two buses a day, and the last one left at noon, despite what it said on the big board right beside the ticket office. We ended up getting a mini-bus (B150) for the VERY windy and bumpy trip, through some amazing, lush forest.

Accommodation was similar in Pai, nothing under B200, but we were getting even less for our money! Basically a box with a mattress. We weren't really worried too much about the facilities, we just wanted to be paying less.

Pai comes to life at night, with the two main streets being closed off to traffic, and hundreds of small stalls opening up. They sell everything from souvenirs and clothing to some amazing street food. We spent a lot of time just wandering around, sampling the food and enjoying the atmosphere.

We had wanted to just hire bicycles and ride out into the wilderness, but it was going to cost B50 each for a POS old bike, or B80 for a scooter. We decided on the scooter and scooted ourselves all over the outskirts of Pai; visiting some nice waterfalls surrounded by thick jungle (and taking a nice dip in one of them) and Pai canyon (a strange area with some just plain dangerous walking tracks!).

I can see why drugs are considered a bit of a problem in Pai. As soon as you drive out into the countryside almost every local tries to sell you weed. Mainly by yelling out "ganja!" as you fly by on your scooter, and making a smoking motion with their hand. It is quite amusing watching some of the old ladies do this, I'm not sure why, it just is!

So a short bus sweet visit, well worth the couple of days we spent. Our next planned destination is Chiang Rai. There is a road connecting Pai to Chian Rai, so it would seem logical that there would be bus services. But the only place we could find was one travel agent that wanted B550 each for the 6 hour journey. Screw that! So we found ourselves taking the local bus back to Chiang Mai (B70). The hilly, windy journey was bad enough on a small mini-bus, but on a big, old, bumpy bus it was even worse. The French girl next to me was almost throwing up! Good times.

Shitty random observation: beer is expensive here. A local beer at the corner store will cost you about B45 (US$1.50!), and about double that at a restaurant. I know that is still cheap compared to western standards, but for SE Asia it is daylight robbery!

1 comment:

  1. I really like to rest in Thailand. Last year I was in Chaing Mai. I agree, that it's a beautiful city. In order to see all the beauty I rented a scooter http://catmotors.net/mae-hong-son-loop/ here. Most of all I was impressed with "Doi Kong Moo" - it's a mountain with a view of the most beautiful mountain sunset in the world! This trip left for me the best impressions in my life!


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