Oh dear, waking up with a cracking hangover the morning you're about to embark on the windiest journey is probably not the best idea, but yet I did. Before the minibus came to collect me I went off in search of coca cola, 7 Eleven toasties and water and downed a travel sickness pill and paracetamol. I surely must be able to tackle this journey now with it's 762 bends climbing up to the hippie town of Pai.
Once changed minibuses at the bus station we were on the way. The journey was very windy but it was a breeze even with a hangover. And the scenery became more mountainous and green the further we climbed. The bus dropped us in the middle of town and a few of us were staying in the same hostel (Spicypai) so we walked the 1.2km and it was set in a lovely backdrop of paddy fields and mountains. Just my luck though, they had messed up my booking and had me down to check in the following day. The whole of Pai was booked up, literally so I left it to them to find me a room for the night at no extra cost. To be fair they did a great job and I was taken to Pai Highlands Resort and given my own massive room for £2. They even gave me 100 baht towards the room for the mix up. Shattered from the previous night I only managed to have a small wander about the walking night market and try some purple sticky rice and sesame seeds, garlic bread and bruschetta. But I did manage to randomly bump into Lise and Andrew for a quick soft drink before retiring for the night.
As the next day I was actually checking into Spicypai hostel it was a lazy morning of planning the travels and moving over to Spicypai, which seemed an impressive set up. The dorms are in large wooden huts and decently large bunk beds and the staff seemed pretty cool. There isn't much to the town of Pai and really only good if you're eating and drinking all day and night. So I went to find Lise and Andrew at the local outdoor swimming pool for the afternoon, where we were also met by Ole. Fluid is a pretty good way of chilling out in this sleepy place but the water was far too cold to get in. That evening the four of us decided to see what Pai's nightlife was like and headed to Edible Jazz Garden, where despite being told the kitchen was closed the woman kindly told us to order anyway and she rustled up a pretty decent thai green curry. We chilled there listening to the live music while washing down a few beers. On the way back to the hostel I joined a few guys from the hostel for some more beers at a couple more chilled hippie bars that Pai had to offer, which seemed to be many. And eventually strolled in around 3am.
The following day was a right off, from 5am that morning I joined a few others at the hostel in constantly running to the toilet to throw up my guts (grim I know). Beware of the Pai virus which seemed to affect quite a lot of people across the town, fairly sure it started at this hostel though. Maybe I've done well getting this far in the travels before feeling like I was in my death bed. Thank god for Lise, Andrew and Ole for helping me out and supplying me with a armful of liquids and Pringles. Literal life savers, even if none of it stayed down. Even nicer they cancelled our original plans of hiring scooters to see if I was better the following day.
24 hours later and thank god there was some improvement. I quickly ran back to the safety of my own room at Pai Highlands Resort and extended my stay by two nights. And our original scooter plan could go ahead, not feeling up to getting my own scooter I jumped on the back of Ole's and Lise on the back of Andrew's. And off we went in search of some secret hot springs. The scooter we had had the worse suspension and every bump was felt and rattled the teeth. But 10km out of town we stumbled across the secret hot springs (I forget the name, not helpful I know) but one tenth the cost of the popular tourist hot springs. And only used by us until some local tribesmen came and joined. It was like getting into a bath, so relaxing. Then we decided to find some waterfalls but the road proves too much for the bike and we had to get off and push the sod up a couple of hills. Unfortunately Lise and Andrew came off, unscathed, on one of the tight corners and not feeling comfortable carrying on this road we headed to town for some cheap tasty food (60p for a meal!). The rest of the afternoon we pottered about on the scooters and visited the memorial bridge...well I appreciate it's significance but it's just a steel bridge. The Pai canyon which I haven't got much opinion on before heading back to Fluid for a couple hours. This time getting into the freezing water. To make the most of the day we decided to head back to the canyon for the sunset and seemed that quite a few people had that idea. It gets cold very quickly in Pai as soon as the sun goes down, once the sun had set we hopped back on to the scooters to get back to town before the dark and the real coldness set in. That evening we tried a restaurant which was in chaos to the point that they completely forgot my meal, everyone else's looked good and I was glad if ordered a fresh coconut so I could scrape every last bit of flesh out of it as my meal. (And the some street food to make up for it). And a decent bar for several rounds of pool and no beer for my still tender stomach.
The next day was the last in Pai and was pretty glad about it, as despite what you hear and what people make out it's a rather boring place. But that day, with half a tank of fuel to kill, Ole and I took the bike up some bumpy road to check out Pam Bok waterfall. It was nice but not overly impressive and the water was freezing but the drive up to it provided some great views over the mountains and valley. On the way back to town we went by the land split, which they've tried to turn into a bit of an attraction. This is where the land has literally split open in 2009 down the hill and prevented the owner farming it. Not what you can really class as an attraction but as we were passing we had a nosy. That evening was the last the four of us would be together in Thailand so we chilled out with a few beers and a nice meal. Hopefully not the last time we are all together though.
Now, to slowly start heading over towards Laos.