Sunday (16th) We were collected from out GH at about 9.30 and drove for 3 hours to Pai - is a small town in northern Thailand's Mae Hong Son Province, near the Myanmar border, about 50 miles north of Chiang Mai on the northern route to Mae Hong Son. It lies along the Pai River. The town has thesaban tambon status and covers parts of the tambon Wiang Tai of Pai district. As of 2006, it has a population of 2,284.
The drive to Pai was very white-knuckle like, our mini-bus driver was crazy, flying around the mountain roads - that were extremely windy and overtaking on every possible corner when he couldn't see what was coming the opposite way! We stopped half way up as a lot of people were beginning to feel sick - including Joe (he's such a woss!) We finally made it, unharmed at about 1pm; we walked to our accommodation (which had been booked by the tourist office in Bangkok so we were a little sceptical!) It was a lovely little bungalow in a quiet resort. We chilled for a few hours before heading out for a wonder. We had seen a steakhouse advertised so though we'd head there for dinner, we couldn't seem to find it so decided to head back to the hotel to get our map. This was when we realised that the steak house was actually in our hotel - doh!! Ha-ha. We had a nice dinner and a few drinks.
Monday (17th) we decided to rent a scooter for the rest of our time in Pai as it's a small town and most attractions were quite far away. So for about £3 we got one for 30 hours, we jumped on and just drove, we came across an old WW2 bridge. (During World War II, the Japanese began several projects to create efficient troop and equipment transport routes between Thailand and Burma, and (in addition to the well-known Death Railway through Kanchanaburi) one of these projects was the improvement of the existing "road" from Chiang Mai through Pai and Mae Hong Son. A wood and steel bridge built by Dutch British, Australian and American Prisoners of War as well as Thai civilians pressed into service stood about 10 km from Pai on the road to Chiang Mai, and was later replaced by the "World War II Memorial Bridge" which is currently still parallel to the bridge later built in the course of more recent road improvement projects by the Thai government. As it turned out, just about when the Japanese supply line reached Burma, the war was over.) We had a walk on it which was super dodgy as the wood was decaying!
Next we headed to the hot springs but didn't stay long as they stank and were too hot to even go in! We drove back towards the town where we stopped along the way to see all the elephants. Had a spot of lunch then got the map out and decided to go to a viewpoint - we found it quite easily up a small path that was so steep! I was throwing a strop on the back because it seemed a dodgy route. (You'll prob notice my strop in the pics!) It was a brilliant view from the top! I had told Joe that I would walk back down but he insisted I get on the bike so I did - going over a stony bit I asked Joe to stop so I could get off- he did and as I got off I stood in loads of mud, got my flip flops stuck and threw a paddy kicking them off which resulted in me getting covered in mud! Joe drove off but soon came back to get me and drop me back to the hotel to sort myself out! I got sorted and we sat in the hotel bar having a drink - I saw a girl arrive and told Joe I thought she was our friend Katie's sister - Olivia - Joe asked her and it was! Her and her husband work in Bangkok and had driven up to Pai for their half term. We had a drink and chatted with them for a while before we headed out for dinner.
Tuesday (18th) we headed straight to a waterfall on the scooter today - it was nice but I think I'm getting a bit bored of waterfalls now! Then we just drove around to try waste the rest of our petrol. We stopped at a little café for some tea and cake when it started lashing down, it eased off so we set off but 10 mins in it lashed it again so we went back to the hotel to dry off and have a drink, Joe went for a little ride on his own while I sorted all our stuff out. We dropped the scooter back then went for an early dinner. Back at the hotel we had a few hours before our pick up at 8pm so we thought we'd have a few glasses (bottles!) of wine! Joe made a friend - (a dog) who he took to the shop and bought a sandwich and a banana waffle! When the bus arrived to collect us we were a bit drunk and Joe's new friend tried to get on the bus with us!! Joe was jabbering away in the bus (one girl even said 'I was hoping to get some sleep on this bus!) but he did soon shut up once we started racing down the windy hills and started feeling sick again! Ha-ha! The journey to the Thai border took about 8 hours. We tried to sleep on the minibus but couldn't. When we arrived at a guesthouse at about 3.30am we were piled into 2 not very nice bedrooms; boys in one girls in the other. We could hear mice in the floorboards and the owners room was next to ours so his TV was blaring for q while, I did eventually fall asleep about 5am to then be woken at 7am for breakfast!