Life of Pai

I never wanted to have a set plan when I set off on my travels but I did have a route in mind. After Chiang Mai I was going to head to Laos, but after many recommendations I changed my plan and decided to visit Pai. I had no idea what to expect as I had never read about it, but the not knowing just adds to the excitement.

Making the decision to leave the group of friends I had been travelling with I set off on my journey to Pai with a girl I had met in Chiang Mai.

The journey involved a 5 hour drive up hill with 762 curves in a minibus, not the most comfortable drive but the views were amazing. The bus drivers in Thailand do not drive as slow as bus drivers in England and so it was impossible to get any pictures of the beautiful scenery.

Again, we hadn’t booked anywhere to stay but on arrival it was quite obvious this wasn’t going to be a problem. Pai is a small town in the mountain and you can walk around the town in about half an hour. It has become a hot tourist destination and so the streets are lined with places to stay, bars, restaurants, massage parlours and tattoo shops. Very similar to an island called Phi Phi I visited in Southern Thailand a few years ago, but surrounded by mountains instead of the sea. Don’t let my description put you off, it is still an amazing place to visit. It has a real laid back hippy vibe, beautiful surroundings, a good social scene and the street food is amazing!

I hired a moped, (along with almost every other tourist) and headed away from the shops and bars into the moutains. One day we drove to a stunning waterfall, took a dip and then spent a few hours just driving through the mountains. The second day we cruised to some Hot Springs. This was the first time I had seen hot springs and I was like an excited child. Once I had calmed down we spent a few hours just lazing around in the different temperature springs. I am now truly spoilt as the spas back home will never compare to these beautiful natural springs!

3 days in Pai is plenty, as it is a small place. So I am about to set off on a 15 hour bus journey back to Bangkok. I have decided to miss out Laos and head straight for Cambodia as I do not have enough excitement for Laos. Whilst in Cambodia I will ponder over my next destination.

I just love the freedom of travelling!

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Fun in Chiang Mai

4 nights in Bangkok and it was time to head north to Chiang Mai. A group of friends I had met in Bangkok were also heading the same way and so we booked our night bus for £9 from an agents on Koh San Road and set off on the overnight trip. We decided to find a hostel on arrival. With the arrival time being 5.30am, this was not as easy as we thought, but after an hour or so we agreed on a little guesthouse named Darets at a price of 100bht (£2.14). The room was very basic with no common area so we decided to stay for one night only. The following 3 nights we spent in Deejai Backpackers at a price of 175baht (£3 approx.)for aircon and the last night at 80baht (less than £2) for a fan.

On my first day I explored the city and was quick to notice Chiang Mai was so much quieter and cleaner than Bangkok and the local people were so happy and friendly.

To the amusement of friends and family back home, who know I do not like to spend time in the kitchen, I took an evenings Thai cookery class and I really enjoyed it! The chef took us to the local market and did a ‘show and tell’ of some of the ingredients we would be using. Back at the kitchen we chose which dishes we wanted to cook. I chose, spring rolls, chicken in coconut soup, Chiang Mai noodles & chicken curry and stir-fry chicken and cashew nuts. My dishes turned out perfect, (yes, we got to eat everything we made), with the exception of me adding too much lime to my soup. Whoops! The class was carried out by Baanthai Cookery School and cost 700baht. Which included transport and a receipe book.

The following day it was time to work off all that food and I set off on an all day trek which included a stop at a waterfall where we could cool off. The rocks were so smooth we were able to slide down the waterfalls. So much fun. After a 40 minute elephant ride we were taken to the river and this is where it got even more fun – white water rafting! This was my first time and I was really nervous to begin with, but once I hit the first rapid the adrenaline kicked in and it was fantastic.

My last day in Chiang Mai I wanted to visit Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep which is one of the most famous temples in Thailand, and is situated high up the mountain. A tuk tuk would charge around 500bht to drive you up there but luckily for me a guy who works at the hostel offered to take me and my friend there. The temple was as lovely as expected, but another spectacular vision was waiting for me further down the mountain – Wat Palad! This temple is not likely to be found in travel books, but I was lucky enough to have my own personal tour guide who had actually spent time there living with the Monks. The temple was built as a rest point for Monks making the journey by foot up to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and is hidden away from the main road and built amongst a soothing natural waterfall. This temple is by far, the most authentic, majestic, peaceful, temple I have seen, and I have seen many many temples. I jus wish the pictures did it better justice.

This was a fantastic end to my time in Chiang Mai but I had one more thing I wanted to do – a traditional bamboo tattoo to remind me of my travels. I chose to have a small Lotus flower on my hip; the Lotus is an important flower in Thailand and in the minds of the Buddhists, the flower stands for purity of spirit. Although it is rooted in mud, the plant is able to rise up above the dirty water and yield a flower of such perfect beauty and purity.

And so, after some great experiences and fun nights spent with new friends it was time to head west, to Pai.

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Bangkok life!

My first morning in Bangkok I woke up to the loudest thunder, brightest lightening & heaviest rain I have ever heard, but by 12 noon the storm had passed leaving it very hot and humid. A little uncomfortable, but to me this jus adds to the great atmosphere of Bangkok.

I had estimated to spend 3 nights in Bangkok but have just booked an extra night here at Napark Hostel. I met a great bunch of people on my first day and its been non-stop since. On the first day we walked to Wat Pho which is a beautiful temple in Bangkok and home to the Sleeping Buddha. Entrance fee 100bht. We did originally set out to see the Grand Palace, but got lost and ended up here instead!

The following day me and Rachel headed out early to the Umbrella Market and the Floating Market. The Umbrella market was unusual to say the least! The market traders set up stalls along the rail track and when the train comes they put down their unbrellas until it passes. Of all the places they could set up market, why here, I have still yet to research!
The floating market was another interesting experience, traders trade from their longtail boats on the river and although this an historic market it has now become a tourist trap. But if its helps the Thai people earn money then there is nothing wrong with tourist traps in my opinion. We had to pay an additional 150bht to cruise along the river market, but I was happy to pay this as the experience was one of a kind.

This trip cost 350bht. I booked it through a travel agent I came across whilst out walking.

Napark Hostel is a brilliant starting point, its safe, clean, friendly and central. A bit more expensive than others but a great place to meet your first set of travel buddies.

My first 4 days has been everything I expected and I am really enjoying myself.

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Hey! 😄

2 months, 2 weeks & 3 days until I set off on my solo adventure through South East Asia and into Australia. Follow me on my journey and I will share with you how a 31 year old, single, materialistic, friend loving, Prosecco drinker, gives it all up to experience life as a backpacker, fulfil a dream, and tick off more items from her ‘bucket list’.