Where I’ve Been: Pai, Thailand
Where I’ve Stayed: Pai Chan Cottages, Pai
Pai is a strange place really. No doubt it is in an incredibly beautiful location, but it is literally filled with travellers. More so than any other place I have ever been. Still I have had a good and fun filled few days!
Bandaged legs, bruised arms, cut faces
Now I should add not only does Pai have more travellers than any town I’ve been to, it also has more injured travellers than I have ever seen.
Backpackers everywhere are walking around with bandaged legs, bruised arms, cut faces… This is all from scooter accidents.
Everyone hires scooters and then drives out into the surrounding beautiful countryside to explore. The strict test to see if you can hire a scooter is driving it forward ten metres. If you can do that they will take your money!
On the open road
So, having never ridden a scooter before, I’ve spent the past few days almost welded to one and it has been a lot of fun! I’ve visited two sets of waterfalls, some hot springs, the White Buddha (a temple on a hill that is visible from pretty much anywhere in Pai) and Pai Canyon.
Jessie and Marnel, my Canadian friends who I met in Bangkok are also here now as well and I have been hanging out with them as we formed our own biker gang (albeit we are on scooters).
The views are amazing all around Pai – I can fully understand why scooters are so popular here, it allows you to get into some of the countryside and soak in the sights (and sites) and also see some incredible sunsets.
We have also, along with hundreds of other people, fallen victim to a scam! As we drove out of Pai on our scooters there was a police check stopping everyone and if they couldn’t produce an international driving license fining them.
Hence earlier this week I paid my first visit to a Police station in Thailand to pay my £13 fine! They must have stopped at least 30 people in the brief few minutes we were there. How much of this is going into the Thai economy and how much is going into the pockets of the Police I don’t know!
The world’s most unrelaxing massage
My few days in Pai ended with one of the most awkward evening’s I have had traveling – in an amusing way though.
I went with Jessie and Marnel to get a massage. Unfortunately the massage parlour we went to wasn’t up to the standard of the place we went to in Bangkok.
It all started when Marnel chose a different type of massage from Jessie and I. We all put on our massage clothing, but Marnel was taken to a different area of the massage parlour for her massage and as Jessie and I walked out of the changing area there was Marnel left topless on a bed right in front of us trying to preserve her modesty!
Jessie and I layed next to each other and over the next 30 minutes I preceeded to have the most unrelaxing massage ever. It left me more stressed out when I stepped in.
For a lot of it the elderly Thai masseuse seemed to be trying to dry hump me, and everytime I shut my eyes all I could hear were kids running around and screaming (they lived in the massage parlour I think), the door squeaking and the karaoke coming from the bar next door.
Believe me hearing someone evidently drunk and tone deaf trying to sing Rocky Mountain High by John Denver and then Yellow by Coldplay is not the ideal way to spend 30 minutes.
As we left the massage parlour Marnel also realised her massage table had a street level window right above it, so anyone walking past would have got an eyeful of Marnel having a massage!
Back to Laos
Nonetheless I had a great time in Pai. It is incredibly beautiful, and there is lots to see and do around the town. This morning Jessie, Marnel and I left Pai on an 8am bus to Chiang Mai and flew to Luang Prabang in Laos.
We arrived in this pretty town about 4.30pm – I was last here in September 2011 and I can safely say it seems a lot busier than I remember!