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Once Upon a Time in Pai

Once Upon a Time in Pai

THAILAND | Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | Views [73] | Scholarship Entry

When you arrive in Chiang Mai and start mingling with other travellers about what is popular to do, everyone will tell you you have to go to Pai.

A few days later, I was convinced and curious about this tiny little Northern village that had everyone buzzing. One of the recommended activities to do in Pai was to visit the canyon, so the next evening I set off on my bicycle, eager to arrive for the sunset.

Early into the ride I realized that I had been misinformed of how far away the Canyon was and how intrepid and mountainous the ride was. I finally reached the canyons, sweating, out of breath and barely able to move. A Thai man who was packing up his stall for the day approached me and offered to lock up my back, as I was clearly incapable at that stage. The canyon was no Grand Canyon but never the less it reflected the quaint personality that Pai possesses.

I was literally nearly crawling back to my bike, still exhausted from the ride, when the Thai man offered for me to go back to his house and refuel. I accepted the genuine offer and retreated back to his house where his entire family welcomed me and even prepared a delicious dinner for us to share. On the walls of the home were pictures of a young man smiling but he wasn’t accounted for when I scanned the room filled with family.

The night continued as the family invited me along to the local Muay Thai Boxing fight between Pai and Mae Hong Son village. They took me to the boxing ring that was literally in the middle of a rice field where hundreds of locals gathered. This was no Muay Thai boxing that you paid 2000 Baht for back in Bangkok, this was pure, this was raw, I was witnessing the true art of Thai boxing.

Later that night the family put my bike in their truck and drove me back to town. As we were driving down the same highway that I had staggered along earlier in the evening the man turned to me and explained how his son, the man in the pictures had driven drunk down this highway last year and gotten into an accident that took his life. He said we he saw me he didn’t want me to be in danger of drivers at night and couldn’t let me drive back along the road alone.

Wondering how to replicate the experience?

? It takes about 3-3.5 hours to get to Pai from Chiang Mai because of the windy roads
? Pai Canyon is located outside 12km outside of central Pai
? The local boxing takes places on Rural Road, Thung Yao - you’ll have to ask a local about times and dates of the upcoming fights.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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