Loads of people told me I have to go to Pai, that it's amazing. A chilled out little town with a hippy vibe. That was me, hooked! The only problem was I was reluctant to leave Chaing Mai which I absolutely loved. It's a perfect combination of quaint old town and modern living. I also met some lovely, and mad people there. Uwe I'm including you in the mad group.
Anyway, mind made up and off I go on the notoriously horrendous mini bus ride, stuffed beyond full with fellow travellers and backpacks. As it turned out, I didn't find it that bad and even managed to sleep for some of the way. Arriving before I knew it on a sleepy little corner at the edge of the town. The best thing I spotted was what became my favourite little cafe - The carrot and Moon. The lovely guy in there, drove me to my 'bungalow' on his scooter and also ended up being my tour guide (and photographer) for one afternoon. So nice, thanks Ping.
The town itself is tiny and is centred around a street called Walking Street. There are a lot of tourists, particularly Chinese. It has loads of cute shops, tiny bars and little cafes and is very laid back. The highlight for me has to be, the street food. Oh my word, it's amazing. I thought Chaing Mai was good on street food, but this takes it to another level and I've managed to over eat every day so far - not so good
The other thing that is evident everywhere are the Thai massage spas offering back, foot treatments etc. On my last day in Chaing Mai I had back to back treatments starting at 11:30 am and finishing at 5:00 pm. A mammoth day of pampering after the jungle and all for around £30. This time I decided to go for a maintenance treatment. A leg wax. Should have been simple......!
The first place I stopped at, said yes no problem, sat me down and looked at my leg then said "actually could you come back in the morning, my eyes aren't good anymore and I see better in daylight". Needless to say I had no intention of going back.
The second one I stopped at and asked could they fit me in for a leg wax, pointed to my 'foof' and said 'legs and Jimmy'. It took me a while to work out she was asking if I wanted a bikini wax as well (least that's what I think she was offering). When I said, no thanks, just legs, she said, (with attitude) "no Jimmy, no legs" and shooed me out! I was rendered speechless.
Anyway third time lucky. I did get my leg wax this time, just hadn't banked on being on full display in the front of a hut whilst everyone walked past for their night out. Dignity? Out the window, literally!
My trip out with Ping was really good and I managed to visit another Buddha. I also got to go in my first ever natural hot springs. They were amazing (not sure about publishing the photos though, as I was in swimwear, not a pretty sight!). I only managed the 34 degrees pool and have no idea how people there were doing hotter. The hottest of the lot, was between 80 and 90 degrees and obviously had no people in. The whole experience was so relaxing and I'd recommend.
On the way back we stopped at the famous memorial bridge and also the Pai Canyon. I think I may have developed a thing about heights because I failed to walk across the really narrow path over the top with sheer drops either side (no safety barriers or anything). I didn't feel too much of a failure as Ping didn't do it either, nor several other tourists although many did of course. I also had the ready made excuse of still feeling lightheaded from the springs. All in all a really nice day. Thanks again Ping.
My last day here I cycled out of town (think I should have hired a scooter again not a bike). I say cycled loosely as there was quite a bit of walking and pushing my bike. I visited a charming little village known as China Town, the scenery on the way up was spectacular and the tiny village a really peaceful oasis which I enjoyed for an hour or so before, freewheeling all the way back down woohoo!
Out this evening and meeting with Lizzie from the elephant camp who came and joined me yesterday. This will be our last evening again as I leave in the morning. I've only had a couple of days here and to be honest, that's probably all it needs. Yes I could easily do a little more sight seeing in the surrounding area, or even better just slob around the town for longer but I am happy to move onto Laos and will write you from there x