Posted by Daisy on

We braved the 762 curves to Pai, for a taste of Northern Thailand. A three hour minivan journey provided us with the hairiest trip yet, full of twists and turns and feeling ill at the toilet break. Nevertheless we made it in one piece, glad to be off of the van! We found a reasonable bungalow for a few nights, ignored the copious amounts of lizards, and set out to find a tour and explore the awesome night market.

Choosing a day trip

From reading blogs about Pai, it seems to be common to learn to ride a motorbike whilst there. We took one look at the roads and decided that we still didn’t want to get on one. Safety first! We saw one too many bandaged up backpackers to want to have a go. This however meant that we’d miss out on a lot of the sights that were out of town. The solution? A day trip!

Day trips are plentiful and cheap in Pai, and all itineraries vary. It pays to walk up and down the main street and look at what each trip offers. We didn’t want to do bamboo rafting, and definitely nothing involving elephants, so this narrowed down our choices. Eventually we found one that looked good, paid our £10 each, and got some sleep before our big adventure!

The day begins

Our tour had so many stops, we’re still not sure how we fit everything into one day! We started bright and early at about 8:30-9 and hopped into our truck. There was our friendly driver and only one other couple, so it felt like a private tour for most of the day! The other couple were recovering from a motorbike crash and so sat inside the van. This meant we had the back of the truck to ourselves – which was so fun! The wind in our hair as we flew through roads and past mountains is something I’ll never forget.

The White Buddha

Our first stop was the White Buddha. It can be seen from town, but seems miles away. In reality, it’s not too far by car! We were the first group to arrive and hot footed it up the stairs. The Buddha wasn’t much to look at as it was under construction, but the views over Pai were stunning!

The Hot Springs

Our favourite stop on the tour was easily the hot springs. An early arrival meant that it wasn’t too busy, maybe 10-15 people in the water. We put on our swimming stuff and quickly hopped in. The water was so warm! We spent an hour here and did not want to leave when it was time to get back in the truck.

The Chinese Village

Not really sure this was worth a stop as we wandered around the artificial feeling Chinese Village. It seemed very tourist orientated, with not many tourists there. A highlight just before this stop was a viewpoint up the hill, which gave a stunning look over all of Pai.

The Fault Line

This was our lunch stop, where we enjoyed a lunch included in our tour ticket – stir fried chicken & rice, not bad! After this our driver let us explore the crack in the earth, which opened up after an earthquake(?). We took the ‘jungle path’ only to find a lack of signs and a total dead end – we climbed up a whole lot of rocks for nothing! Scrambling back down, we instead took the ‘garden path’ and followed the loop, and ended up leaving via the very same jungle path we’d already been up! We enjoyed climbing about in the forest, though, so can’t complain. The actual crack in the earth itself was pretty unremarkable, really.

The waterfall

Not the best waterfall – especially after seeing Kuang Si, in Luang Prabang, and Elephant/Pongour waterfall in Dalat, Vietnam! We took a paddle in the cold water but opted not to join the crowds of people jumping in. It was SO cold! A nice little stop, nonetheless.

The bamboo bridge

This structure was so odd and went on for miles! We think the bridge led to a temple, although when we got to the end we found it was closed. It was nice to walk through the rice fields over the bridges as the sun lowered in the sky. So nice!

Sunset over Pai Canyon

Our final stop of the day was to watch the sunset over Pai Canyon. We’ve seen better sunsets, but it was still lovely! Scrambling over the slippy rocks here was not my favourite..but we found a nice spot to sit and watch the sun go down. It was absolutely packed here so we were glad to arrive 45 minutes before.

What a day!

Can you believe that we visited all of that in one day? We can’t quite believe that. It was jam-packed, but we weren’t trapped in by an overly chatty tour guide, so it really felt like we were being chauffeured around to cool locations and left to do our own thing. This isn’t for everyone, we realise, but it was perfect for us! If you’re in Pai and don’t want to bike around, definitely check out what tours are on offer!


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