If you haven’t read yet how we end up spending a weekend in Pai in the first place, you can read our Breathtaking Motorbike Trip from Chiang Mai to Pai clicking here.
It was time to explore this beautiful little village town during the weekend in Pai, after driving almost one business day there. Even though the city center itself is very tiny and quiet during the days, the surrounding areas offer plenty of activities to see and do. And when the sun sets down, the center turns to a wonderful walking street with countless food stands and clothing boutiques. Let’s dive into our weekend in Pai!
Weekend in Pai begins with Sai Ngam Hot Springs
First of all, the weekend in Pai began with a visit to Sai Ngam Hot Springs located about 15 kilometers North of Pai. We have read about another hot spring as well but decided to choose Sai Ngam because it cost only 60 baht ($1,69) to get two people with the motorbike in. The other one would have been 300 baht per person according to Tripadvisor users and the springs are pretty much the same.
We felt ourselves a bit smart again when decided to rent a slightly more expensive 150cc motorbike. The road to the Sai Ngam was full of height differences and once we almost thought our bike couldn’t handle the upward slope. But it did. Some other couples didn’t have the same luck (and power) with 110 and 125cc scooters.
It felt like a warm bath when you have a dip in the hot spring pool. It will most certainly get you relaxed when just sitting there with eyes closed and listening to the sounds of the jungle (and other noisy guests). Also, an hour is pretty much enough because after awhile, you kind of get used to it and the specialties begin to wear off minute by minute. Anyway, it is must do to visit in hot springs when you’re in Pai.
After the Sai Ngam Hot Springs, we had a quick roadside lunch costing 50 baht for two people. Pad Thai and Chicken Curry with Rice were definitely worth the $1.41!
Next stop at The Land Split
With our scooter’s gas tank filled, we headed next to The Land Split – another popular place to visit during the weekend in Pai. There has been an earthquake in Pai on 2008 which split ground for a surprisingly long distance and reminded the people of the force of mother nature. In addition, the locals cultivate countless of fruits and vegetables there and offered us a tasty rosella juice among others. Furthermore, they don’t charge you for visiting, drinking or eating but you are more than welcomed to give a donation for a good cause.
There was only one place to see from the most popular sightseeings during the weekend in Pai after experiencing Sai Ngam hot springs and The Land Split. The number one on Tripadvisor – Pai Canyon. We hadn’t seen any pictures of the Pai Canyon but had read about its popularity for watching the sunset. That’s why we tried to reach there before 5.30 pm or so when the sun begins to set and assumed it would get crowded.
Highlight of the Weekend in Pai – Pai Canyon
The view from the top of Pai Canyon was an exceptional stunning. It was at the same time mind-blowing and scary. I say scary because there are no fences at the edge of the cliffs and it’s so easy to stumble when trying to walk a tightrope through the narrow paths at the altitude of few hundred meters. This experience goes straight to the second place in our canyon visits after the original Grand Canyon in Arizona.
On Sunday 27th it was time to check out from our beautiful but a little noisy two night stay in Twin Hut bungalow. After showering and breakfast, we hit the road back to Chiang Mai. But first, we needed to visit Wat Phra That Mae Yen also known as Temple on the Hill which was locating nicely right at the beginning of our ride.
There was a gorgeous big white Buddha statue on the top of the hill. We had to climb few hundred steps up in order to get to the statue. Because of the Sun and midday heat, we were sweating like pigs when we continued driving road 1095 back to Chiang Mai.
Driving back to Chiang Mai on Sunday
The driving back itself was much more enjoyable than when we first came to Pai. Now you kind of knew what was coming behind the next corner and you didn’t need to watch sights at the same time with driving because you had seen them once already. We could just relax and keep driving, carefully of course.
After eating lunch in the midpoint of our ride back, we decided to pick another, smaller road 3009 back to Chiang Mai. Even though the journey got a bit longer, we thought it would be more pleasant to see different scenery together with more quiet environment.
We were back at ZZ House in Chiang Mai around 4pm with our sore butts. After driving around 400 kilometers, 2000 corners with various lengths and heights and too many hours during our spectacular weekend in Pai, we decided not to sit on our scooter on Monday. A relaxing lay on our cuddly bed sounded a way more absorbing.
Now it’s time to relax a little over a week in Chiang Mai before our visas expire and then we are off to Da Nang in Central Vietnam via Bangkok and Saigon (officially Ho Chi Minh City). But before that, I’ll wrap together this first stint in Thailand during the next post.