Pai, Thailand

From link::eganstrip

Was feeling better a day after not feeling well after 4 days of the water festival celebrating the Thai New Year. Took too many buckets of dirty water to the face and mouth, likely source being the canal surrounding the old city section where much celebration was occurring. Here lots of filthy and contaminated water flows. The Thais had no problem jumping in it and swimming while also using it as a water source for filling up their buckets during the water celebration.

After a day of rest I took a minivan to the quieter, hippy town of Pai, about 2.5 hrs northwest through the mtns on slow winding roads. Lots of beautiful scenery on the ride which gave me my first glimpse of the rice fields of Thailand. I had heard lots of great things about the town and been planning on checking it and surrounding area out when I got to the Chiang Mai area. It is nestled in a valley with mountains and wilderness surrounding it on almost all sides. Not Colorado sized snowcap mtns but sizeable and majestic enough in themselves. Unfortunately I can't see a super clear view of much of the mtns as the weather is hot and hazy, obscuring some of the clarity. Also lots of landed being burned to clear space for growing crops, sending lots of smoke in the sky. There is a nice river flowing through town but not at its highest level since rainy season ended last fall and is coming up soon in several months. Also nearby are hot springs, some beautiful waterfalls and various caves. A bit too hot for the hot springs at the moment unfortunately as hot as it is.. The river and waterfalls would be awesome during and after the rainy monsoon season coming up soon. Lots of rafting and tubing opportunities available with local businesses. Tons of trekking and other opportunities to visit the hill tribes in the nearby area are also available.

As the weather is currently summertime and in the middle of the hot season, it is hot as hell and the prime tourism season has ended. Very quiet and lowkey here in Pai. Great chance to relax from the crowds and madness of the Thai New Year and the big crowds of the past few months. Kind of a Nederland, Colorado type feel to Pai as it is nestled in the mtns with a sizable hippy contigent. Also similar to Boulder with the amount of healing centers, meditation classes, and vegetarian restaurants around town. There is a big live music and jam session scene thriving in town. I found a cool little cafe serving fresh wheatgrass grown in the front of the store. Also a huge tea selection with all kinds of herbal and medicinal teas available. I got a large bag of very good Chinese herbal tea acclaimed for its healing and immune enhancing effects, exactly what I need at the moment. Can't remember the name of it as I had never heard of it before. Nice place to hang out and meet interesting people traveling from all over the world. Met a beautiful Japanese girl there traveling byself and passing through Pai for the day. I sat with her and another crazy Austrian guy telling wild stories of traveling on the trains and busses in India 10 yrs ago.

Prices are outrageously cheap at the moment as it is the low season and not as many people in town. My first few nights I had a cheap 100 baht a night - $3 - bungalow along side the river. Thank goodness the mattress had a mosquito net as there were huge gaps all throughout the dwelling allowing easy access for anything to come inside. Not worried about snakes entering as much as the nasty centipedes and spiders. I don't need them crawling into bed with me. After 2 nights in that space I upgraded for tonight. Now paying 200 baht for a place I believe would be over 1000 baht during the high season. Still doesn't have an air conditioner but as long as I have a fan i'm ok.

From link::eganstrip

Other links::More Wildlife Wanderings in Pai
Pai, Thailand02