Over twenty-four hours in transit, three flights and two micro naps later, I've arrived back in scorching Brisvegas. It's nice to be home, though the peace shan't last long - I'm flying to Sydney on Tuesday (tomorrow!) then going to Fiji on Wednesday on a trip with a group of friends. Like they say there's truly no rest for the wicked, and the day after I arrive back it's straight into uni classes. It's then I think reality will REALLY hit me.
After an activity-/transit-filled few weeks I am glad to say I spent my final two weeks in Thailand just chillin', in Pai and Chiang Mai.
Lonely Planet takes the liberty to describe Pai as "a state of mind". This MAY be a slight spot of hyperbole (but hey, when has LP ever been guilty of that?), as Pai isn't an existential settlement you need to astrally project yourself into. It's merely a pleasant little hipster enclave buried deep in the northern Thai ranges close to the Burmese border. Food is tasty and cheap, while souvenirs and touristy activities are in abundance.
Here we spent an entire week 'taking a break from taking a break'. When not languishing in the bungalow, grazing or lazing by the river, we ventured out on a hired scooter to take in the local sights. (For the record I felt very unsafe and insecure on the buzzing, foot lever-less little death trap and will stick to motorbikes in future, thank you very much.)
The surrounding valley is quite literally a cool change from the rest of Thailand I have visited, being forested mainly by deciduous trees in varying hues of yellow and red. The nights get surprisingly chilly and I'd heartily recommend that anyone going take a jumper.
Pai is a nice place to veg out and do as little or as much as you'd like at a comfortable pace. However, I do warn those with low hipster tolerance levels to be extra cautious: if dreadlocks, tribal tattoos, fishermen pants or a girl in a midriff top carrying a hula hoop down the street and every so often lazily dancing through it sound like too much for you, you may wish to reconsider making this particular journey.
Spotted at a local burger shop of high esteem, Burger Queen:
The Pai War Memorial Bridge:
Looking into Pai's answer to the Grand Canyon, Pai Canyon:
This collective at the falls chose to bring their own guitar AND tambourine:
If you think I didn't get up to much in Pai, I was phoning it in for most of the time in Chiang Mai. We stayed in the old section of the city which is very tourist-focussed, and the noise coming from the drunks and miscellany of the streets late at night was unbelievable.
Just a few photos from wanders about:
Finally, this bird was so pompous I couldn't help but laugh: