[Picture above taken by Jenn]
Pai is a hippy village at the top of the mountains. It takes 3 hours to get there by minivan from Chiang Mai and was a tough ride, because the drivers really put their foot down and there are lots of windy roads to get to the top. 763 in total, which left a few people on our bus feeling very sick. Inon, Susan and I decided to head for Pai, as everyone kept mentioning how laid back and nice it was, plus Jenn was there already and had emailed to invite us to stay at her resort, so we decided to go. The bus ride cost 150THB (£3) one way, and we arrived in Pai on Saturday at about 3pm. Since its all in the mountains, everything is a little spread out so we decided to hire a moped each (100THB per day). The resort we stayed at was called Tropical backpackers resort, and was out of the main Pai centre, but it was worth it as it was built on a hill and the view was pretty incredible. The resort is very laid back and hippy. It has 16 “bungalows” that were triangular shaped huts made from dried leaves, that cost 180THB a night (£2.) Inside the hut is a double bed slightly raised form the floor by wooden poles and a window that opens at the end made from bamboo. They were very basic but pretty cute. There was a communal shower and toilet area, also made from bamboo and leaves. The bungalows were at the bottom of the hill and at the top was the communal area, with cushions and fairy lights. You could tell you were in hippy village, it was basic but clean, and everyone was friendly. We met Jenn and took the bikes out over the hills to look at the good views and then got some dinner in the centre, and did some shopping. After coming back to the resort we showered and got ready then walked the back roads to town and spent the evening in a bar called Edible Jazz. Everyone there was very laid back, there was an area with hammocks but most people were sat on cushions on the floor, and a guy played a guitar and sang for us all evening. At night time, the air was so much cooler, actually had to sleep with blankets wrapped round me it was so cold!
The next day we continued exploring on the motorbikes. First we went to the Canyon, which was about a 50 minute drive away, and then a 10 minute climb to the top. The views were good and there were lots of different species of trees with signs and their names on. Next we drove to a waterfall. There are 2 in Pai and I’m not sure which one is which, but this one was on the way back to Pai from the Canyon, up a very steep hill that says its only 5km away on the sign but isn’t. Theres a short walk from the car park and theres a small waterfall with a cold pool. Whilst there the 4 of us met a Spanish woman, Alicia, and 2 guys from Switzerland, who decided to join us as we went to find the cave. Following the map we realised it was really far away. We stopped to speak to some locals who told us it was over 80km away, so thought that was too far to accomplish on bikes, but she recommended the other waterfall which was nearby so we went there. This waterfall was much more impressive! It took a long time up a windy dusty road to get there, but once there we realised why the other one wasn’t so busy, everyone was at this one! Theres lots of rocks that many people had climbed on, with a pool up in the rocks but also a pool at the bottom. Thai kids were using the rocks as a natural slide, throwing themselves down it into the pool at the bottom which I guess was deep enough. It was quite high up that where the thai little boys were starting, and I assume it wasn’t too comfortable on the rocks as one kid came out clutching him bottom with a rip in his pants. I stayed on the grass and watched the people around me, as everyone else jumped in and climbed the rocks. Once most people had given the slide a go, and i’d had a nap, we left to head back into town to get some food, and another girl from Canada joined us, so in total there were 8 bikes!
On the way down i could feel myself getting close to the edge of the road so tried to turn into the right, to get back in the middle when my wheels hit dust and I fell. I was going about 40kmph, and I think I had time to break but I hit the floor face first with the right side of my body bearing the brunt of the fall. The bike fell on top of my foot, but I somehow managed to get up and get myself to the edge of the road, by which time everyone else had stopped and was surrounding me, and I totally freaked out. There was blood everywhere, my clothes were ripped and ruined and as my nose had hit the ground it was bleeding, but in my shocked state I thought my nose had fallen off, but it was fine, though everywhere else was bleeding too. Two french guys who saw the accident came to help me, and tried to wash my wounds with water and alcohol, but my foot had a really deep cut, and lots of dirt in so someone made the decision I should go to hospital (I was freaking out too much to make much sense at this point.) It was decided i would leave my bike there and get on the back of Inons’ bike, who dropped me off at the local hospital, while he and Jenn went to the bike place to tell them what happened and to get the bike back.
At the hospital, Susan let me squish her hand as the doctor cleaned and bandaged my wounds, whilst I screamed the place down, and he gave me antibiotics for the pain afterwards! Alicia then took me on the back of her bike to the resort, via a pharmacy to get more gauze to change the wounds and dinner at a restaurant. That night I took all the medicine and slept soundly, though I probably wouldn’t have managed without Susan there to help me hobble to the bathroom and up and down the hill, as well as changing the dressings for me. I’m so grateful to her so if you’re reading this Thank You!
I am also extremely grateful to Tony and Oi, the owners of Chiang Mai backpack house. When I arrived all bandaged up they got straight to work worrying over me, and Tony got the first aid kit out and cleaned again my wounds and covered in bandages. He was worried they were infected so in the morning he took me to the hospital where they got me a wheel chair and took me round to a room where they thoroughly cleaned my wounds (Tony let me squish his hand as I was in so much pain) and put Iodine on everything to try and dry them up. The also cut some of the skin on my foot away to get some stubborn gravel out. I spent all day resting in the lobby with the other guests and today I went back to the hospital, and this time Oi, Tonys wife took me, to change my bandages and clean wounds again. Yesterday it cost 200THB (£4) and today 100THB (£2) so not worth bothering the insurance over! The nurses were friendly and said this evening I can leave my knee unbandaged so that it can dry out, but they are still worried about my foot (and I still cant walk) so to keep going back every day as the wound is really deep.
Everyone is getting ready for Songkran (Thai new year = water fight) and I really want to be able to join in, so hoping ill be recovered soon as it starts in 2 days!