So, how much did it cost us to go to Pai, the small town with a big reputation for it’s chilled hippy vibe, three hours from Chiang Mai? Well, that takes a bit of explaining…
Motorbike rental: $20 for four days. Bargain!
The kindness of strangers giving you a lift to the repair shop after suffering a flat tyre: A smile.
New tyre inner tube: About 10 minutes of (im)patient waiting… And $5.
Second flat tyre, 5 minutes later: A few choice expletives.
Another kind stranger, working at a nearby construction site, who happens to be the bike repair guy of the deserted shop we passed. A sweaty uphill push for Tyrhone. “I can’t believe this,” repeated by Sarah. Read this post published recently on ‘Almost Fearless’, you’ll understand why.
Brand new tyre and a new inner tube: $20. Ouch.
Friendly butterfly, smitten with Tyrhone: Standing very… still.
Arriving in Pai, six hours later: Relief, and very sore butts.
Comfy bamboo bungalow in lush tropical gardens at Baan Pai Village, at off-season rates: $12 per night.
Live acoustic tunes that sound funny in a Thai accent at the on-site restaurant: A round of applause. And a few giggles.
Lazy afternoons of countless coffees and icy fruit shakes at the Cafe des Artists: $4 a round.
A seven kilometer ride out to the Hot Spring Resort: Wind swept hair and $3 entry. Having the entire place to ourselves thanks to low season: Great value for three bucks.
Hot, hot sulphur-reeking bath: A light head.
Tyrhone breaking out into a jog after said hot bath and falling through a wooden bridge: Priceless.
Afternoon stroll through Pai’s back roads: Muddy flip-flops.
Meeting cute local kids (the ones I wrote about in my last post): Impromptu photo shoot.
My ice cream habit: $1.90 per day (they were freshly made waffle cones okay?!), and a few creeping kilos…
9km ride to waterfall in the spitting rain: A small sense of adventure…
Declining offers of opium from the local ladies with babes strapped to their backs: A head shake and a smile.
Humouring the self-appointed American “waterfall guide” at our destination that appears to be single-handedly keeping the opium market afloat: A bit of patience.
Climbing into a crystal clear, freezing pool on the second tier of enormous waterfall: A steady foot-hold.
This view: A small hike, otherwise absolutely free.
Fresh fruit shakes back in town: 50 cents.
Deliciously spicy curries from the humble “Curry Shack”: $2 each. $3 with a drink.
Street-side lasagne and pizza (with cheese!): $3, and surprisingly good (though you may have to stand to eat it).
Best chicken skewers in Thailand (done with Japanese-style panko crumbs): 40 cents.
The boy’s late night, street-side snack, Pai-style pop-corn chicken : I don’t think they cared, or remember how much…
Sarah’s mini bus ‘home’: $5, and a thankful butt.
Tyrhone’s 4 hour motorbike bike journey to Chiang Mai: A lot less hassle than the way there.
Marty’s ride from Pai to Chiang Rai, on a bicycle (yes, he is mad): A World Of Pain, 10 litres of water-loss, and his last semblance of sanity…
A trip to Pai won’t cost you much. The most adventurous part is the 763 hair pin bends over mountains to get there. Once you arrive, the laid back vibe, cute eateries and surrounding natural wonders will soon make you forget your travel sickness, and the effort of leaving may be surpassed by the feeling that you could just stay… A few… More days…