Pai, Surroundings and Bike Accident (Northern Thailand)
Русская версия After visiting the Chinese village of Ban Rak Thai, on Mae Hong Son Loop of northern Thailand we planned to visit Pai. On the way, we stopped at several other tourist places, first of all, the Fish Cave.
The place was mentioned in many guide books as a must to visit, but, as usually, we did not enjoy this must a lot. In fact, the place was quite strange. There was a park with several bridges over the river with special fish which you may feed. The cave is more of a small pond with fish, and the entrance fee is 100 baht per person. Half an hour is more than enough for visiting it.
Tham Lot caves
are another must, according to Lonely Planets. There are several tourist routes for visiting different caves, some of them may be accesses only by canoe.
Yet, we chose a simpler route allowing to visit one cave. First of all, we needed to hire a guide, one per four people. Her function (the guides are female) was to turn on the torch and light the way up to the tourists.
The guides wait for their turn. Only registered guide may work here.
The walking tour was not extremely rich in information. Our guide only new about 7 words in English to name various stalactites and stalagmites according to their look: UFO. Eagle. Popcorn… In short, it took us about 20 minutes to run through the cave after the guide. As a result, this was an express-excursion, and there are no other variants as you cannot visit the cave on your own.
Our final destination was Pai. The road was of good quality, with hills and turns. We were enjoying the view until it turned out that because of many hills we ran out of gasoline.
We climbed the pass when the last line on the bike petrol gauge started blinking. We still had 25 kilometers to go to Pai. There was a small market at the pass observation there, and they offered fuel there in the glass bottles. The price of one liter was 100 bahts, five times more expensive that down the hill. Certainly, we did not buy from them and slowly drove 25 kilometers down the road to the nearest village. The price there was cheaper – 70 bahts, but the honest boy told us that the petrol station was just 2 kilometers away down the road. We could not find it and started asking the village dwellers. Indeed, the petrol station had quite unexpected look of the local kind. The owner was not there, but his kind neighbor opened the shed for us and filled our bike with one liter of gasoline. We were saved and reached the final point without more adventures.
In Pai, we stayed in the great hotel called Piranha park and spent the whole evening at the night market. We bought a lot of clothes and food there.
Where to stay.
Coming back to the hostel, we relaxed in the hammocks to plan our further route by using quite quick internet. We recommend Piranha park a lot, the only trouble was that it was not easy to find: it is situated not far from the army base and they do not allow to place any signs next to their territory.
Piranha park is named so because it has a pond in which the guests indeed may fish for piranhas. It is free for the guests on the day of arrival, you will also get the bait: bread or corn. Some guests got really big fish, but Victor spent two lunch hours having caught nothing. These hours also went well because he was fishing with another guest from Poland who was telling stories about his fishing experiences and turned out to be quite a professional.
After fishing (in the meantime, Nastya was walking in the shops), we started for the next destination. On the way, we visited the break in the land, also advertised in Lonely Planet, but again nothing special.
The canyon nearby was more interesting.
Next to the canyon there is a historical sight related to the Second World War, the bridge.
. Now the road to Chiang Dao was waiting for us, and this was the most complicated road on our way. The trouble was not only in multiple turns we got used to. In many places, the road was under renovation, which meant a lot of dust, sand, and crushed stone. In one of such places we got into the accident. When we were going down another gravel road, the bike wheel got into the hole covered with gravel. The bike simply fell down. We simply found ourselves lying on the road. Victor got more scratches, Nastya got hit in the ribs and got a bit scratches too. The bike also suffered. We scratched the muffler, the mirror, the side; small stones were in the bike junctions. It is great that there were no cars next to us when we were falling. We pulled the bike aside and used the first aid set. A car stopped with people offering their help.
We tried to calm down and continued the way. Now Victor was driving 15-20 kilometers an hour on the gravel. The cars were angry at us demanding to let them go, which also meant getting to the worse side road. When we finally reached the wide asphalt road, the usual speed of 60 k/h there seemed impossible. There was a great temptation to turn back to Chiang Mai and give the bike away to the renting place, since at some point of time it was less than 50 kilometers away. Yet, we finally turned to the north to go towards Chiang Rai. At last, we reached our final destination – the hostel near Chiang Dao town, where we finally stopped and bought more medicines for our wounds in the nearby drugstore.
Late in the evening, curing our stress with beer, we decided that ride by car which we had also been thinking to rent, would have been impossible. The endless turns on the narrow road by a large car would make the driver crazy. When you are on the bike, you always have a side for maneuver. Just don’t be scared, but stay attentive.
There was one European among the guests of the hostel we were staying at. As he told, he had once had bike renting business in Thailand. He calmed us down saying that we would not pay for the damage more than 150$ we had left as guarantee money in the renting company.
By the way, the place we stayed at, the guesthouse “Black Cat“, turned out to be not only pleasant, but also useful: the hostess gave us the map of the surroundings and recommended what to see. We also learned from her that there was the village of Karen tribe, and went there the next day.
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