17 February 2018 – Travel Day – Chiang Mai to Pai, Thailand – Day 1

Today was a travel day. We were moving on to Pai from Chiang Ma. After breakfast at our usual spot, Welcome Inn.

We went for a short walk before it was time to depart. Saw lots of chickens.

We were picked up at our hotel in an open backed truck/bus/van of some sort. The driver was useless and no help whatsoever. Most have been good and usually carries this old ladies bag and lifts it for her. Not this one. Then I had to climb up into the back of the ‘vehicle’. That was no easy task with my bad knees. All I kept thinking is OMG is this how we are traveling to Pai?

After a couple more stops he dropped us at the bus station where we transferred to an air conditioned van. Mr Driver helped the young pretty girl with her bag and took her to the van. Left us to fend for ourselves and we had no idea where he went. We did find the correct van to Pai though.

The drive from Chiang Mai to Pai is the start of the Mae Hong Son Loop. We have traveled on quite a few Caribbean islands and through the Rocky Mountains. Let me tell you, we have never been on such steep and winding roads as these. This said, the scenery was breathtaking. We passed orchards full of fruit trees, banana trees and fields full of crops. Cabbage and what might be Taro root. Palm trees full of coconuts and honeysuckle vines growing wild. So many blossoms you could hardly see the greenery. Mango trees dripping with fruit. Jasmine trees too. Bougainvillea growing everywhere. Some must have been 20 or more feet high. Beautiful country side, hills and mountains with little villages scattered throughout. Not a cloud in the sky. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

Our driver was excellent. I think he took it a little slower as we had a young child and a baby onboard. We also passed through a few military check points. Not sure what they are all about.

Passed a couple of elephants on the way too but these were not wild elephants. Didn’t get any pictures.

On our arrival in Pai we were dropped off at the bus station in the middle of nowhere. maps.me got called to duty once again and it turned out our Pai Country Huts accommodations were less than a km away. No big deal, we would just walk. Really not sure what is in the mind of maps.me but it gives the weirdest route. After crossing over dirt fields (parking areas??), and wandering roads we ended up in a temple entrance. This wasn’t right so back to the main road. We knew we had to cross a bridge over the water to get to our place but just couldn’t figure out where. Some kind man who lives there took pity upon us and after trying to explain where to go he went and got a map somewhere. I was leary of his directions but we didn’t have much to loose. Low and behold he knew what he was talking about. We ended up at a dead end and had a bridge to cross. The bridge was totally made out of bamboo. Three steps up and down. So we lugged our luggage up the steps and then wheeled it across the bamboo bridge. Guess I didn’t take any daytime photos of the bridge.

Our huts weren’t too far from here.

Quite exotic from the outside we thought. Also thinking what did I get myself into? No A/C but we had mosquito netting over the bed!

Ours is the middle hut.

We got settled in and headed back to the office area for a couple of cold Chang, and then to town for something to eat.

The town was only a 5 minutes walk away when you knew where you were going.

Because it was between 2:00 and 5:00 our meal beer came in coffee cups. We seem to be drinking lots of Chang, but it is usually max of 2 a day. It is so HOT here and the beer so cold. We are also consuming litres of bottled water every day. Good thing the bottled water is cheap here.

After touring the town for awhile we decided to get some dessert. Haven’t had any dessert other than ice cream in quite awhile. Dougs cheesecake was pretty good but my chocolate coconut cake was really weird. There is a lot of organic, gluten free and vegan food here. Wondering if it was one of those because it certainly did not have the texture of any cake I’ve ever had before. I also ordered a Long Island Ice Tea. Not sure what I got but it was served in a nude woman glass and tasted terrible.

We called it an early night as we had booked an excursion for tomorrow. As we headed back lots of the street food vendors had already set up for business

As we arrived back to our huts, the grounds were all lit up.

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