After hearing so many great things about this little gem about 100 kilometers Northwest from Chiang Mai, it was a time to see the little village town called Pai by ourselves. We had been thinking about going from Chiang Mai to Pai during our last trip but somehow didn’t find the vacant time for that – but now we did.
We took the grey colored way of the two given choices but Google doesn’t agree with us for some reason
On Friday 25th of November, we rented a bigger, more comfortable, 150 cc motorbike in order to drive approximately 150 km and 762 corners from Chiang Mai to Pai. The ride was more enjoyable than we thought in advance and it was not least thanks to our scooter enabling two people sat with enough space.
Let’s begin the road trip from Chiang Mai to Pai
We started our journey from Chiang Mai to Pai by choosing the smaller road 106 instead of bigger one, 107. The reason for that was we had heard and read online there have been plenty of police raids outside of Chiang Mai, usually on the road 107. Even if tourists and expats have not been breaking the law when driving a scooter, police in Thailand is a bit of corrupted and want to get some money out of driving expats.
So they pull you over and ask International driving license which costs around $70, at least in Finland. If you don’t have one, they will try to get 500 baht from you. Some people will gladly pay the ticket and continue their journey but some people won’t. If you don’t pay straight, the amount of money they are asking begins to drop a little by little and in some cases, they just say “go, go”. In this instance, they’re noticing that you will know about their little plot and quit wasting time (note: your experience with local police might vary but just keep yourself calm when dealing with them).
We didn’t get pull over this time because we chose a smaller road and of course, there might not be a police raid every day on the same road. It’s better to be safe than sorry, isn’t it?
Halfway from Chiang Mai to Pai
After driving around 50 km and a little bit of road 107 as well without problems, we reached the intersection of Pai and decided to take a short break from riding. It’s vital to stretch your limbs once in awhile when sitting in same position for a longer period of time.
It was spectacular to drive Road 1095 from Chiang Mai to Pai. Corners started to flow one by one and views from the top of the mountains were just astonishing. We needed to add more clothes on because it got quickly a pretty chilly when climbing up those slopes up to 1.5 kilometers or so.
We stopped quite a many times during the journey just to take pictures from breathtaking sceneries and to grab some lunch and coffee as well. There are plenty of choices to get something to eat and drink during the drive so if you just have enough water in the backpack, you should be just fine. At this point it’s important to mention that we left our big backpacks in the ZZ House on Chiang Mai (thanks to the host Boyd again) and both of us just took smaller ones with us. We thought we manage to get through a weekend with few clothes and make the ride easier, which it most certainly did).
We saw, unfortunately, one accident during the curvy journey and can just hope nobody got badly hurt. There was one crashed motorbike and two helmets at the roadside approximately in the halfway of the road 1095 from Chiang Mai to Pai and about a kilometer-long queue of different vehicles passing the scene of the accident.
Welcome to Pai!
After six hours of driving, taking pictures and just watching the sights we finally arrived at Pai. When we reached our beforehand booked guest house, little did we knew about one more surprise. For some reason, the Green House guest house in Pai hadn’t gotten our reservation made through Hotels.com and we didn’t obviously want to double pay our stay. After trying to sort things out with Hotels.com customer service in Thailand and with the non-English speaker guest house owners for 30 minutes, we decided to go and get something to eat before finding a new place to stay. At that point, we were starving after the long and winding 150 kilometers and 762 corners road. Finding a new guest house wasn’t going to be a problem because we saw a ton of places with “Room for rent” – signs when driving through cozy Pai central.
On Saturday we woke up for a new day in a beautiful, ascetic Twin Hut bungalow. Even though the walls were paper thin and we heard almost every step and conversations our neighbors had, we were so tired of the driving that we fell asleep quickly indeed. But Saturday wasn’t going to be any day out either so after eating a delicious, free breakfast offered by our new hosts, off we go to see Pai sightseeings!
Because there are so much to tell about our wonderful road trip from Chiang Mai to Pai and I don’t want this post to become too long, I’ll share rest of the journey during the next blog post, Unforgettable Weekend in Pai.