I’m currently in Pai, a small-but-lively town in the northwest corner of Thailand, very near Burma.
Everyone I talk to has fallen in love with this place and I can see why. I have a gorgeous bungalow on the river here for US $5 a night, and there is plenty to do. A nice Thai dinner is US $1 or cheaper if you want to eat from carts. Some people come here for a week and end up staying for years. Some of those same people look like they haven’t showered since they first got here. Now I know why…damn the water is cold in the mornings! It gets hot as usual in the afternoon here, but at night the temp dips way down to where I am actually bundled up and not using the fan. That’s a first for this trip.
I fell asleep last night to the sounds of bongo drums being played in a couple different places. Music is very big here, especially drums and the Jack Johnson guitar types. I woke up this morning to the sounds of firecrackers, guns fired into the air, drums, and celebration. Yesterday was election day here in Thailand and for weeks I have seen posters, turmoil, people marching, etc…now that it is over, everyone is happy — including myself.
I’m sure there will be plenty of craic tonight at the local watering holes.
This town is an interesting recipe. Take a small pot, throw in some…well…pot… Then toss in the usual backpacker crowd, pour in some hippies, then sprinkle in some soldiers and cops. There is a Thai special forces training base nearby so all the soldiers come here for their leave time.
There is also an unusually large police station for such a small town. The police in Pai have a bad reputation. It’s interesting to see hippies brushing shoulders with guys in tiger-stripe BDUs and black berets. Everyone seems to get along, which is why I like this place. So far, the usual hordes of Swedish and Israeli party boys are missing.
I’m going to chill here for a couple days; there is a great place to go on an elephant jungle trek where you actually ride the elephant instead of sitting on a bench seat. Also, there are a couple neighboring villages off the beaten path that I think I can ride to in the mountains.
Life is good. 🙂