Chang Mai and Pai
As we headed north through the country we ended up at Chang Mai for a few days and ended up staying in a very small guest house that was owned by an ex pat call Tim, who was really nice and gave us some good tips on things to do. Over the few days that we where there we sampled the local food and looks at all the temples in the old city wall, these is something like 47 temples within the walls and they just seem to be on every street corner and down every road. Chang Mai also has a great night market is mainly hand crafts and cloths, the nice thing about the market is that it was not full of lots fake goods and you could really find some nice deals, the deals were so good that me and Anna did all our Christmas shopping there and sent it home from Chang Mai. After a few days of exploring we left like it was time to leave and we had heard that there was a really chilled out place about 4/5 hours North of Chang Mai called Pai, so we book some bus tickets and it came to pick us up the next day at 10, which was an hour early than they said meaning that we both had to do some speed packing and run out to the bus where there were others waiting.
The dive was not too bad but a little bendy as we climbed the hills and we were given some great views from the top, I tried to get some photos but it was just too hard to do in a moving van and with lots of hill mist making it unclear.After a time we drove down and down to the valley below where we were met by the town of Pai. Once at the bus stop we bagged up and found a nice hostel, which was little more than a small bamboo hut with power and a small showed as was a little damp, but it was set in a nice garden and would be fine for the next few days. Pai was a funny old place, very chilled out and lots of Weston hippies that had been hanging around for years, all moaning that tourists where killing the place, well I say what are they still doing there, are they not the constant tourist that will never leave .Pai had some great places to east and we found a great bakery called "The Muslim Bakery" and they did the best coffee and pastries for breakfast. For one of our days in Pai we hired a motorbike and headed into the hill, which was great, we got to see some amazing waterfalls and beautiful countryside, the only thing was that it did rain allot so we did get a little we, well I did, Anna had here good waterproof jacket and I have a 25pence bin liner to keep the water out, as you could guess it was not very good at it job. In the afternoon of riding Anna really wanted to be a local elephant which was possible near to Pai, so we took off and Anna headed down to the river on the back of an elephant to give it a good wash. I had decided to walk down to the river to get some photos of this event. Once down at the river Anna got drenched with water by the elephant and the elephants with their owners seemed to like to play the game of throwing the customer of the top of the beast and into the river below, this happened quite a few times and you will have to look at the blog pics to see what I am on about. Anna had a great time and at the end we both got to sit in hot baths that were fed my hot springs at the elephant farm; this was very relaxing because it is not often that you come across a bath on our travels.
On our last day in Pai we had booked a Thai cooking course at the Pai cooking school, the course took up half a day and we both really enjoyed it, we both learnt how to cook about 5 Thai dishes including red and green curries and what ingredients were what. As part of the course we were taken to the local food market by our teacher and she tort us all about the different fruits and veg found in Thailand and how to tell of they are ripe or not and she also got us eating fried insects, yum yum. The locals in Thailand are so lucky to have food markets like this that they can go to every day, in the Uk it always seems to be so expensive and not that often.
The following day we headed off around 11 ish in a minivan back to Chang Mai, here we were only to stop one night before being picked up the next morning to be taken to the Thai, Laosborder, which is where we will being taking the slow boat into Laos.