Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mae Hong Son Loop - Pai

Getting on the 8:30 am bus from Mong Hon Son to Pai, our next stop on the clockwise loop, was easy as the bus originated in Mae Hong Son. We snagged window seats, one behind the other, and the temp was 70 F at trip start and rose slowly to almost 90 when we pulled into Pai around noon.

Then straight to Lilu Hotel, one of the best values on the trip so far. Sun-Ling says that the Lilu "gets it". Meaning that someone in charge at the Lilu shares her vision of the "ideal" hotel.

Pai is truly a tourist town in the sense of the Jersey Shore, St Augustine, Fl, or Florence, Italy where tourists seem to outnumber the locals. The tourists here are a mix of Westerners, Thai, and Chinese, mostly under 30 years old, and fairly laid back - it's not party town. It's the kind of place that some people love and some hate. We kinda liked it: great hotel, pool, veg resto, shopping, hiking, easy transport.

The bus ride.
Pai, Thailand

The view from the bus window.
Pai, Thailand

After checking in to the Lilu we headed straight to Chew Xin Jai Vegetarian Restaurant, just meters away, for a very tasty lunch. Turns out we would eat every lunch and dinner in Pai at Chew Xin Jai.
Pai, Thailand

Dinner. We were hungry and had 4 plates of noodles like this one.
Pai, Thailand

The Lilu does not have a pool but guests can swim for free at a sister upscale hotel, The Quarter Hotel.
Pai, Thailand

Pai used to be a sleep village along the Pai River. Now there are over 500 hotels and guesthouses against a local population of 3000. Most tourists stay in a 2 or 3 block stretch along the river. Outside of town there are resorts with bungalows.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Bungalows on the outskirts of Pai.
Pai, Thailand

Every night portions of the two main streets are closed to cars and the Night Market sets up.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

For our sole full day in Pai, Sun-Ling plotted a walk the so-called KMT Chinese Village and back while taking some back roads. It was great 13 kms even though it was very hazy.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

We came across a guy who was burning leaves. He had raked a fire break and was putting up a big plume of smoke into the already hazy sky.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Why do water buffalo always stare at me?
Pai, Thailand

The garlic harvest is labor intensive in this village.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

The village Buddhist temple.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

But not all the locals are Buddhists; there is some spirit worship ((sacred rocks for example) and plain ole superstition.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

We visited both the Chinese Village and the neighboring Lesu "hill tribe" village.
Pai, Thailand

Lesu Village.
Pai, Thailand

Chinese Village with fake Great Wall tourist trap.
Pai, Thailand

Why did the chickens cross the road?
Pai, Thailand

We walked back to town on the main road with hazy views and lots of locals and tourists on motorbikes.
Pai, Thailand

These women are wearing her traditional Lesu costume except for the one with a sidecar.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Tourists.
Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

And of course it's right to lunch at Chew Xin Jai.
Pai, Thailand

Then pool, then dinner.
Pai, Thailand

Bonus roadside banana photo if you get this far.
Pai, Thailand




1 comment:

Liz said...

The traditional woman's clothing is much more colorful than expected.