Life in Pai (Part 1)

Lazy. Quiet. Slow. There is no sense of time. After a day here you are not sure anymore for how long you have been in Pai. A day, two, maybe more? No idea, nor it really matters. There is nothing much to do, nor anything has to be done. Doing my laundry by hand proved to be beyond my abilities. Same with writing this blog. I naively thought I would have had plenty of time to do lazy day things like writing the blog, watching movies and such, but Pai proved to be even lazier than that. Writing this entry a week later after leaving Pai, I am still feeling the effects of this profound laziness.

So what is the deal with Pai? Pai is a small sleepy village 150km north-west from Chiang Mai and 450m above the sea level. Elevation results in chill evenings and even cold nights. A thick blanket and hot water are must have. There are scenic waterfalls and caves, rivers and hills, hot springs and a canyon showing its best around the sunset time. The most stunning waterfall, Mae Yen, takes two and half hours to reach through the jungle (one way), but the view is well worth it. Lod cave is some 50km away from Pai, located near Sappong village is rather impressive too. Home to hundreds of bats and swallows, dark and large to the extent that there is a low oxygen sign deep in the cave. And indeed after some time spent there, I got a long-lasting headache. Local nature does not look tropical at all, but rather resembles taiga around autumn. Rather moderate, red-yellowish and abundance of the jungle is nowhere to be found. Must be the dry season.

Some words should be said about accommodation. I stayed in Baan Pai Riverside on the other side of Pai river. Very basic, cheap and tranquil. 150 baht for a bamboo bungalow or add 100 baht extra for a view on the river, a hammock and extra noise. Privacy and security are only an illusion. It is very quiet, unless somebody has a conversation. You can perfectly hear what your neighbors few bungalows away talk about. Bungalows are sometimes broken in, valuables are better to be stored at the reception. Bungalows are very basic, made entirely of bamboo (no wood) and some concrete on the floor in the toilet. There is no bed, only a mattress on the floor and a mosquito net. Ants are literally everywhere with toilet bowl being their favorite spot. Other inhabitants include huge spiders, frogs and slugs. That is ok, though. I did not mind, especially for this price. On the other hand there is hot water (actually hot), soap (!), toilet paper (!!) and even shampoo (!!!). In a nutshell, a very charming place, never mind all the downsides.

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