A trip to Pai

Old Nov 21st 2015, 3:49 am
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Default A trip to Pai

This is a report of a brief trip I made recently to Pai in the north of Thailand.

Pai is a town about 3 hours, by road, north of Chiang Mai - although it has a small airport there do not appear to be any regular flights so the only way to get there is by flying into Chiang Mai and then either renting a car, as we did, or taking a bus.

As we had been travelling for nearly 24 hours we took a couple of days out in Chiang Mai to recover. I won't comment on Chiang Mai (I suspect most people have already been there) suffice to say that it is fast becoming a place to avoid; the enormous growth in population over the last few years has has taken place without much improvement to its infrastructure. The highlight of our visit here was finding a fantastic French restaurant called La Fourchette - expensive by Chiang Mai standards but very inexpensive by French standards.

It was fortuitous that we rented a 4x4 since the road from Chiang Mai to Pai is in the process of being widened and there are roadworks for the majority of the distance. The road is, in any case, extremely windy and it took us 3.5 hours to do the 132 kms. Going by motorbike at the moment on this road is highly inadvisable due to loose gravel on the bends and dust kicked up by the cars and lorries. The scenery is absolutely beautiful so when the road is finished this will become an epic drive.

One emerges from 3 hours of driving through mountains onto a large, lush bowl of vivid greens in the centre of which lies the town of Pai. Here there are no tall buildings and the town itself is fairly compact even if many of the more upmarket hotels are a kilometre or two outside of town. Most businesses in town are restaurants, bars and massage parlours which is probably a reflection of the increasing foreigner community which is installing itself here. I wonder whether in 20 years it will become another Chiang Mai but for the moment it is simply sublime.

That night (like every night) a market sprang up in town closing off a good half of the roads to traffic. We ate at a restaurant, which turned out to be the best we found during our stay, but it had no name and since it was not the only restaurant with no name it makes it rather difficult to recommend on TripAdvisor! Perhaps this is a good time to mention that Pai is cheap - seriously cheap!

There are a good many places to visit within a short drive - viewpoints, waterfalls, small villages, elephant camps, temples etc. A longer drive brings you to even more impressive mountains, cave systems, hill tribes and, ultimately, the border with Burma. We also saw many people trekking.

Despite being in the mountains the days were quite warm at around 30C but the nights are cooler and we found that using the aircon was unnecessary.

Pai lies on the Mae Hong Son loop so it could be a great stopover for anyone doing the entire loop but it still merits a visit in its own right.

Fortunately we allowed a good margin of error for our return drive, as we got stuck in one of Chiang Mai's infamous traffic jams for well over an hour.

PS. I will post some photos later.
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Old Nov 23rd 2015, 1:22 am
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Default Re: A trip to Pai

Some photos of Pai:-
Attached Thumbnails A trip to Pai-20151108_161002_resized.jpg   A trip to Pai-20151108_161043_resized.jpg   A trip to Pai-20151109_124123_resized.jpg   A trip to Pai-20151109_124239_resized.jpg   A trip to Pai-20151109_124426_resized.jpg  

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Old Nov 23rd 2015, 1:25 am
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Default Re: A trip to Pai

...and some more
Attached Thumbnails A trip to Pai-20151109_130856_resized.jpg   A trip to Pai-20151111_113109_resized.jpg   A trip to Pai-20151111_113112_resized.jpg   A trip to Pai-20151111_113421_resized.jpg  
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