Pai – Cycling Out to Nowhere
Pai is a quaint little backpacker town 4 hours away from Chiang Mai. For a period of time, travelers, backpackers and the like would visit the town, intending to spend a couple of days there, but staying a lot longer. Now that the town has an airport which flies to and from Chiang Mai daily since ’07, the tourist crowd would probably descend on to the place, making it lose much of its charm.
Pai -13 Sep’05
Woke up early next morning. Realised the Kaye guy is one of the guesthouse owner’s boyfriend (blah). Rented a bicycle. Early 8 am, went out to do a 10km bike ride out into the country to see Tapai hot springs. Did it in 1 over hour, up and down hilly roads. Dammnit, next time I have to learn to ride a motorbike. Anyone else wants to learn when i get back home pls send tell! Killer bicycle ride, up and down slopes. Reached the hotsprings half dead. Still have return trip…
Interlude : Things I have learnt
1) Just say “Kap” if u dont understand anything anyone says.
2) 7 eleven is the best thing to happen to backpackers everywhere.
3) You can tell a town is big is there is a 7-eleven.
Reached the hotsprings. The one good thing about travelling without itenary is that you get to places when the tourist crowd hasnt reached. It was totally empty. Either that or it was really low season (after floods and all that) that no tourists travel around the region. Well, I was the ONLY person in the entire park, went up to the source of the hot spring, this pool where hot water bubbled out at the top of the stream. HOT water (see pic, 80C, hoho.)
So there I was taking pics, then sat down to eat packet breakfast of fried chicken and sticky rice, then these 5 guys came up the slope into view. One look can tell : Singaporeans! Hahaham, amazing, one empty park and who should come along, 2 old retired? Singaporean couples and their Thai guide!!
Chatted with them abit, Florence, Alice and their husbands (lost their names). Their big adventure, took a chartered van from Mae Hong Son to tour then place, paying guide and all that. I think I saved a bomb cycling there. Met more farmers and villagers along the way too… So took some photos with them, then cycled back. Took twice the time to reach back, cos had to push bike up slope now. Kaoz.
By the way, here’s a related link to the hot springs – http://allaboutpai.com/hotsprings/