There are 762 curves on the 135km road from Chiang Mai to Pai – except ‘curves’ doesn’t really do the journey description justice. What this really means is three hours of sharp hairpin bends and steep mountain roads – a journey for the strongest stomachs only – made in a minivan by a driver who thinks he’s on a race track! (The minivan drivers here have a reputation for speeding and blindly overtaking on these mountain roads – perhaps because they want to get there quicker and squeeze in another journey, or perhaps they drive the route every day and know the roads well – but it’s not for the faint-hearted! For those who are familiar with the hairpin bends between Penberth and St Buryan in Cornwall, this is a fair description of the majority of the journey, without exaggeration!
We stayed in a hut/bungalow in the aptly-named Mountain View Guest House – and what a view it was! Every morning we woke up in the clouds and watched the mountains appear during breakfast as the sun burnedt though the morning mist. I could get used to waking up like that every morning! Some days we awoke to thick fog – and it was really cold – other days we were above the clouds, looking down on them like we were flying above the mountains in an aeroplane. By 10.30 everyday, however, the sun had won out and we had a week of perfect, sunny weather.
|Our breakfast view|
|Mor Pheng waterfall|
|Roselle flowers drying in the sun|
|The Land Split|
|Walking Street (market)|
If you’re ever in Northern Thailand I would highly recommend a visit to Pai – assuming you can stomach the minivan ride there, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Next up we’re continuing on to Chiang Rai (back via Chiang Mai for a couple of nights), then over the border into Laos. I’ll blog again next week.