Pai countryside landscape

Pai adventures – Thailand

You know what they say, if you want something in life, you must have patience, or to say it in a nice quote:

“Good things might come to those who wait!”

Let’s introduce a storyteller episode where I learned that patience in certain key moments can lead to new friendships, but of course, needs to come together with a frosted cold beer 🙂

Welcome to Pai

Leaving Chiang Mai and the nice time spent with Suzy behind, I took a minivan, 3h drive to this small town, more like a village called Pai, in northern Thailand. I heard only nice things about, so I decided to give it a shot. Tired of crowded places I’ve thought that is better to take accommodation far from downtown.

I chose the perfect location. A place called  Pai Lagoon (4$/night), a nice spot, 2 km from downtown, very quiet, surrounded by rice fields, a small garden and a lot of trees. Although I took a room with bunked beds, I was lucky, or perhaps unlucky to be alone in it throughout my whole stay in there.

 

Hammock in Pai
Backyard-my own hammock

Trying to get into the atmosphere, I left my luggage and went to the village to wander around. Staying a little far from the center, and being already an “experienced driver”, I decided to rent a scooter ($ 3 / day). Going around the small town, a little bar, on the touristic street,  called Jikko Beer caught my attention due to the Belgian beers from the fridge and the two waiters which were really funny by trying to promote the place.

Jikko Beer bar
Jikko Beer bar

Let’s have another beer

After a beer, feeling a bit tired, I thought I’d get up and go home. Suddenly I hear a voice: Hey, sit down and order another beer, be patient and relax. What I had to do? Order another beer. (The voice was all in my head). 

Just perfect, cuz’ in 5 minutes an American guy, called Garret, with bandaged knee and elbow, sat on the same table and starting to chat with me. He explained to me how he fell off with the scooter, and after seeing a dozen foreigners with bandages, we agreed that this is called Pai tattoo.

After several beers, people kept coming and going from our table. Another friend of Garret appeared.  Toasen, a big black American guy from Washington DC. We laughed, told stories and after some time a family came (father and daughter from Netherlands), Tosen’s neighbors. The girl- Layla was gorgeous. She was traveling with her father-AB. A very useful experience that surely will help her before going to study in US, as she said. The evening continued having a chilled conversation about Asia and our countries. After a few beers and a small peek at a local club, I decided to head home.

Getting friendly

Next day, the waking up part was a bit slow, but drinking the coffee in this peaceful place gave me a good start of the day.

Pai laguna

 

Let’s be bike riders i said. My fear of driving scooters was gone. I borrowed a small map from the hostel and went to explore. In  5 minutes I already saw myself out of town and arrived on country roads with scenery that gives you a special feeling of freedom. Leaving myself drift by the wind and less by the map, I reached a kind of viewpoint, where you could see the small village from above. The place was very quiet, me, being the only person in there.

Pai countryside landscape

Pai countryside landscape

Pai countryside landscape

Scooter and Pai landscape

Few clouds and raindrops made me head back to town. My stomach was telling me it’s lunchtime so giving a quick tour, I sat in a small restaurant on the side of the street.

Funny thing, the Dutch family, Layla and Ab were there also. Nice, cuz I don’t like to eat alone so I accompanied them. They were not alone, a French girl named Babou ,with a hippy look, was joining them. Talking about experiences we had during our travels, we agreed to meet all together in the evening,  in Circus Camp, where Babou was staying because there will be a fire show and dance.

The afternoon was a bit grumpy, raining continuously. In the evening, the rain just stopped and went out to the city. First stop, Jilko Beer, where after some time Toasen appear. We decided to go to Circus camp to see if there is any show. There we met Babou and Dutch family.

Nice atmosphere, hippy, chill, where people dance, juggle or simply relax in conversations. I was impressed by the guys with fire. True dancing with fire masters I can say.

The show ended around 1 am, but we were just firing up the discussions.  We went for a quick ride to a store, bought two bottles of rum and headed all of us to Toasen’s place. Due to some “technical errors“, I had a little accident with the scooter, ended up with a  Pai tattoo as well. Nothing serious, just a few scratches.

The evening was lying up late, all sharing stories and discussions about everything. Perhaps alcohol makes us tattle. Interesting how open was AB, Layla’s father. Left her to drink but at the same time taking care and being all the time around. I can say – open-minded parent.

Late in the night, I made my way out, but not before to decide with Babou that next day we will explore Pai together with my scooter. Of course, now I became “experienced driver”.

Pai in two

In the morning after a fruit breakfast, took the keys and headed to Babou. The day was gorgeous. Landscapes and streets of Pai were more attractive with a pretty French girl on board.  First, we went to elephants camp but didn’t stay too long. How these animals were held captive, gave us a sad feeling. Unfortunately, we can not do too much.

Elephant camp in Pai

Leaving the camp, we went to a waterfall somewhere in a forest, where we had to do some trekking till the waterfall. Well worth it. The place had an amazing vibe.

Picture in picture

Picture in picture

Amazing eyes in Pai
I fell in love with her eyes

After waterfall, we went to check the Pai Canyon. Located 8km from Pai along the road to Chiang Mai, a paved stairway here culminates in an elevated lookout over high rock cliffs and the Pai valley.

Pai Canyon

Pai Canyon

Considering that it’s time for something more “refreshing” after trekking through the woods, we decided to look for those hot springs on the map. Arriving in a place where the springs were actually owned by a resort, we were asked to pay an entrance fee too high for our budgets. It’s possible cheaper. Hearing that there are other places we went and eventually found a small place, where they had hot springs and pool. Perfect- 2 in 1.

Hot springs in Pai

The option with pool and hot spring was so funny that we changed three or four times. Going from hot spring to the pool and reverse, making us spend more than 3 hours in this relaxing place.

Here, Babou and I shared beautiful moments from our personal life but also funny stories or life lessons that we have learned.

Thanks Babou for a wonderful day in exploring Pai. The evening ended up with some beers on Jikko.

As you got used to it, the lesson that I learned: I believe that none of these moments would have happened if I  didn’t have the patience for another beer in the first day. Could it be any better? I could have worse experiences if I would not have stayed that night for “another beer?” Probably yes, probably not, but I’m glad I chose to be more patient, plus … I like beer.

Thanks, Garry, Tosen, Ab, Layla, Babou for wonderful moments and stories in Pai. You made Pai experience richer and more beautiful that I will never forget.

Pai Crew

And it was about time, after another day of planning to head to Chiang Rai, north of Thailand. New experiences were waiting for me there.

Thank you PAI  for beautiful adventure and new friendships that you gave me, but it was time to hit the road.

If you want more adventure like this,  take a look at what happened in Chiang Mai.

A place for me is special through what it has to offer, visually, physically, but also through the connections and adventures which bind you tightly in time and space to that location, with memories that will last forever.

Pai was one of those places for me. How about you? Which place created long last memories in your mind?

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Nicolae Bogdan

I do not intend to teach or preach, I simply share!

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