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Love, Trust, and a little bit of Wanderlust If we don't try we will never know, in the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Scenic views, Steps and Smokey skies

THAILAND | Thursday, 30 March 2017 | Views [514]

What a view.
Pai, Thailand.

What a view. Pai, Thailand.

With my confidence building slightly on the scooter, without getting cocky, we arranged to meet our friends at the Strawberry farm and set off further out of town. We went to Pai Canyon, a view point apparently popular with tourists for its view of the sunset. We wanted to avoid the crowds so we went during the day. The views where impressive and the 'canyon' had a number of little paths and walkways you could navigate around to see different views. Some of the paths were steep, some where very, very narrow, I'm guessing pretty dangerous to some walking across them. We had been told many locals spend evenings at the canyon drinking and eating at bonfires and that on a number of occasions there have been reports of people falling off! A lot of reviews complain about the lack of health and safety, that there aren't any 'staff' or any safety ropes/fences to keep people away from the edge! The canyon is sign posted and is advertised as a view point but it isn't private land and it doesn't make a profit from people visiting it, its personal choice to climb it and it's personal responsibility to be cautious! I found out a couple of years ago that I had a fear of heights, so feeling brace I decided to venture out onto a ledge to take in the view. While on this trip I have found I am challenging myself with things out of my comfort zone so this was a perfect opportunity. We got some great pictures!!

After the canyon we rode a little further out and came across the World War 2 Memorial bridge. It is a popular stop off for tourists and is surrounded but little stalls selling clothes and food. There is even a man stood in military uniform offering photographs for a fee. There are conflicting versions of the bridges history but it seems that the original bridge was commissioned by the Japanese during WWII to allow quicker and easier access from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son as the road structure was inadequate. After the war the Japanese burnt down the bridge, but the locals of the Pai region rebuilt it as it had become essential for day to day life. Decades later, severe floods destroyed the bridge again. Afterwards a request was made to to transport a steel bridge from Chiang Mai to Pai as it was being dismantled. The Narawat bridge was transported and rebuilt in Pai, and is what you see today.

We were all beginning to find our feet on the scooters and the boys where desperate to get some speed up! (Boys will be boys) so we kept riding to see what we could find. We discovered the hot springs but decided against going in, we didn't have much time so didn't see the point. We headed out to see the 'Tree house resort' which had some amazing wooden tree cabins and great view points. We wandered the grounds, took some pictures and went of the tree swings. On the way back we spotted so shady looking Elephant camps, seeing them and the way the elephants where 'housed' its amazing that people still chose to spend there money there!

So, we rode back into town, me and the hubby extended our bikes for 2 more days to carry on exploring then we all headed for some yummy street food and a stroll around the night market.
We spent the next day sunbathing by the pool purely because we hadn't had the chance to do that anywhere yet. A pool and a ice cold drink on a sun lounger sounded like the best thing ever.
The scooters didn't have to be returned until 13:30 (you pay for 24 hours from the time you hire, it's 100 Baht per bike, which is about £2.35!!) so we spent the morning riding again. This time we headed up to the 'White Buddha', a huge statue on a hill visible from town. Funnily enough, also named the Buddha on the hill. The ride up was daunting for me! Steep hills, lots of turns and bends, I was so tense I was shaking by the time I got off the bike. Then I realised there were flights and flights of stairs to climb.... approximately 300 in total, in the midday heat, on one of the hottest days so far. I was shattered by the time we reached the top, but once we saw the views it was certainly worth it. We sat for a while and chatted a little with each other, just enjoying the scenery and peace before we set off back down.
-One thing we had noticed while in Pai was the 'smoke' in the sky most days. We had been there a week and only had a completely clear sky on 2 days. It turns out this is because of the frequent burning that takes place in the dry season. Fires are set intentionally to clear areas of land from dry leaves, twigs and grass and to help fertility of the soil for new crops. The burning is so common that the sky always seems 'smokey' during the season.

The ride back to town was really easy as we had found a little short cut on the map, the ride that had taken about 30mins on the way there (with a wrong turn) had taken less than 10 into town. We dropped the bikes off to our happy Thai friend at the scooter shop, got our passport back and went to enjoy the rest of the day in town.

We were due to leave Pai the next day, but we didn't. We booked an extra night to have another pool day, which quickly turned into 2 extra nights. We lazed around the pool in the sunshine and enjoyed a group BBQ and toasted marshmallows on a fire at night.
Pai has stolen our hearts!!

Tags: bridge, exploring, fears, hights, hills, pai, pi canyon, scooters, views, white buddha

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