After spending my first day in Pai manically running around and posing with weird statues, I decided to spend the next day riding our rented scooter around the sleepy country roads of Pai.
Pai town itself is tiny and most of the main attractions are within a 10 kilometre radius from the main backpacker area. Within ten minutes of leaving our guesthouse we stumbled upon Pai Canyon – rather optimistically referred to as Thailand’s version of the Grand Canyon.
A place where health and safety does not exist, I enjoyed wandering dangerously close to the edge of the canyon and almost plummeting to my death on several occasions.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long. With little shade to protect us the midday sun began to tighten its grip on my weakening body and I desperately needed to cool down. Barely able to speak and with sweat dripping into my eyes I motioned to Dave that we needed to move on and so we lept back onto the bike and set off in search of more adventure.
Just a few minutes later we spotted a sign directing us to the vaguely-named “viewpoint”.
Within minutes of turning off, the smooth and manicured road narrowed and soon became riddled with potholes. As we zoomed haphazardly around sharp corners and did our best to avoid the stray roosters in the middle of the road, we were soon coated in a layer of dust and gravel.
The dirt track steepened and deteriorated even further as we wound our way up the side of the mountain. We were just seconds away from the viewpoint when the dust cloud and loud whine of the scooter indicated that we would be unable to take the bike any further.
Thinking quickly, I lept off the back of the bike and smiled to myself as I watched Dave dejectedly wheel the bike back down the slope.
Having come this far, I wasn’t about to give up and join him so I turned around and hiked the short distance to the top. The view from the lookout was absolutely gorgeous.
Fed up with waiting for me, Dave hiked up the hill to join me and as we watched the sun lower towards the horizon it was sadly time to head back home.
It felt good to get out of the polluted city air of Chiang Mai, if only for a couple of days, and spend our days scootering along random country roads and relaxing in hammocks at night. We only saw a small part of Pai and there are many more things to see and do – waterfalls, bat caves, hot springs, zip lining and you can even go tubing. Even so, spending some time relaxing and exploring the Thai countryside was one of the highlights of my first few weeks in Northern Thailand.