Going to Pai was already unplanned but because of some cosmic undertakings I was there. And as I look back, I smile, more like a BIG grin, unfaded memories of happiness in epic proportions. You bet, I’ll rave about Pai until the day I die.
I’ll pick three short stories from my 10-day stay there:
Road trips with 5 German girls. You have to read the previous post- Games, Guitar and Ganja. The next day we went around Pai– the usual tourist trail of White Buddha, WWII Memorial Bridge, Canyon and the Chinese tourist favorite stopover: Coffee in Love.
Apparently, there is a famous Chinese movie set in Pai and now 20% of 1 billion Chinese wants to experience the same. Be ready during the high season of February-April as throngs of Chinese tourists clog the streets of town taking selfies with their retractable stick. Anyway, the destinations above are nice but we enjoyed the journey more as we would stop along the way to marvel at the ricefields, cornfields, tea plantation and rolling hills that make the hippie town a perfect setting for a romantic flick. Yes, it was
romantic poetic, even the clouds are romancing the mountain peaks, add the blue sky and you have a blockbuster film.
We were driving slow as Marie and Paula just learned to drive the motorbike that same day we rented it. There is always a first time right? We went back to town before sundown and wrote postcards at Art in Chai (must-visit cafe). We were treated with local acoustic music too- Marley, Eddie Vedder, Amy Winehouse, Jack Johnson and all the coolest were being sang.
Then after the session, Paula was invited by these itinerant musicians for another “secret” jamming at the Pai Canyon by 10pm. Of course, we went and it turned out another epic night, actually morning as we went home around 4:00am, trying to wait for the sunrise over the canyon singing responsive songs and earth mantras. I already got my own bungalow at this time and was only paying 150Baht/night. The next day, rather, later that morning we went to Mor Paeng Waterfalls. Finally the waterfalls!
But wait, my friend, Elif, almost got into an accident because of slipping on this falls. But the good thing here is that I saw the goodness of human souls when everyone started to hold each other by the hand and reach my friend’s hand to save her from going further down the falls and probably ending at an orthopedic hospital. No one was making direction everyone moved spontaneously, locals and foreigners helped. It was beautiful too see human kindness in action. Then we continued the fun- sliding and jumping into the cold water.
As we are going back home, it rained so hard and we saw this beautiful romance of sunlight and raindrops as they dance over green fields and towering mountains. Haaaay Pai, why so beautiful?
Spontaneous waterfall adventure with 2 German gapyear-ers. Then it was time for my new German friends to go down south of Thailand. But then you see, when you travel solo, you actually don’t because there is 99% probability that you meet other travelers too. The story started when I was having my late lunch at Mama’s Restaurant (near the evening public market). Two German girls, Charlotte and Sandra, was eating on the next table. I started to chat with them after seeing them study the free tourist map. They then asked me how far is the Chinese Village. I told them that it’s about 7 kilometers. They just arrived from Chiang Mai and are going back in 3 hours and wanted to see places that they can just reach by walking. Now to put things in perspective, Chiang Mai to Pai is about 4-5hours along winding roads and a roundtrip in one day doesn’t sound appetizing to me. They wanted to maximize their short stint in Pai. Since I have nothing to do that day, I offered to bring the to Mor Paeng waterfalls since I really like it there and thought that they would love sliding too. Kids really want to have fun and before long, we were going uphill to the falls.
We arrived in less than 30 minutes and passed by Chinese village too. Since it was a spontaneous adventure neither one of us have swimming clothes. But since we where there already, I invited them for a quick dip. They don’t want and told me that they would just take photos.
I on the other hand started to get wet inside a natural basin of cold water. In less than two minutes I looked back and saw Charlotte and Sandra, already on their bras and shorts enjoying a dip too. I told them we go sliding. There were a bunch of backpackers as well and I somehow became the “local” guide telling everyone where to position themselves for a safe slide. I instructed them to try a short slide first before going for the big bomb.
Everyone was stoked and one after another amidst cheering backpackers each slide for an adrenaline fix. It was time to go back for their 5:30pm ticket to Chiang Mai. I gave them hugs and wished them good luck for the rest of their trip.
Riverside hut chill with the tribe. Remember DJ Kim whom we met on our first night in Epic Pai? So she invited us one night in her hut beside the river overlooking ricefields and mountains. She has sweet housemates, a couple from the US, Rain and Carla whom I became friends with too. After some days, I met an Aussie by the name of Shaye and Anna from Denmark, who left after 2 days, when I was partying with DJ Kim at Spirit bar.
My friend from Vipassana, Mantas, also followed me to Pai. So when the Germans left, I had two buddies in Pai- Mantas and Shaye. One day, we met another couple from Germany- Carla and Max. As if the cosmos has planned something one of those nights that we came together in that nice house by the river to watch the sunset and have dinner.
Carla and Rain prepared an amazing padthai and we brought some finger foods.
We also met another of their housemate, Serena from Hawaii. It was a perfect ending to my last night in town. How fitting: Magnificent view, good food, amazing talk and beautiful souls! I got this note the day after:
Dear guys it was an amazing afternoon and an even better evening, with such interesting persons like you are:) We feel sorry that we drove to fast so that we couldn’t say Sawaddee Ka to you Shaye, James and Mantas, but Max had the need for speed;) We are glad to get to know you and that we shared such a beautiful experience!!! I hope we will see us again;) -Max & Carla