Pai, Thailand – First Impressions

Pai Canyon Thailand

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 fraternity boys looking to party 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. One has the famous longneck tribes where they put brass rings on their necks to stretch them, making them look like some extra in Jaba’s cantina set for Star Wars.

Life is good. 🙂

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