Travelling alone…Pai – Chiang Mai

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Just me, my bags and my babies – my first solo journey begins with a boat to the mainland!
Straight away i was shown how much easier it is to meet people when you travel alone as i got talking to a lovely couple who live in Rayong. After we realised i didn’t really have a clue where i was going they offered to give me a lift to the bus station…turns out that meeting them was a blessing as the station i had been told to go to had no buses to Chiang Mai so we had to go on an adventure to find 1 that did!
2 hours and a lot of good conversation later we arrived at the last bus station anyone knew of, we all agreed that if this station wasn’t any good then i would spend the evening at my new friends house and they would cook me dinner…turns out this was the station i needed πŸ™‚
Everything happens for a reason and if i hadn’t met these 2 lovely people then God knows where i would have ended up!

Next was my 14 hour bus ride to Chiang Mai – the first hour i had 2 seats all to myself and watched the best Thai movie ever, i must try and find out what it was called!
Then we made a stop for more people to get on, i saw a man come through the door and i just knew he was going to sit next to me, this feeling happens to me a lot, he sat down next to me and we started talking straight away.
He was a lovely man from the US with a great story to tell – i won’t go into detail as it’s not my story to tell but we spent almost the whole journey talking about our lives and life in general.
This is another person i feel i was destined to meet, a lot of what he spoke about were questions and thoughts that had been running through my mind recently.
I believe that there are no coincidences in life, purely fate.

When we finally arrived in Chiang Mai it was time for me to carry on moving, straight to the mini-van to take me to Pai – 150 baht…very cheap!
I went to buy some water from the stall outside and the lady recommended i buy these

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I heard the journey was bad and if they’re selling travel sickness tablets then it must be! As i had already travelled so far i thought it might be safest to take the advice.
I think secretly they were sleeping pills as i slept the entire 3 hour journey up the mountain with 762 corners…762 corners!? Guess i’m lucky!

The hostel i booked in Pai was a 10 minute walk out of Pai town through farms and fields, across a very unstable bamboo bridge

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And up a hill…lovely scenery but a tough walk in the heat with my backpack!

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Pai Circus School and Hostel definitely lives up to it’s name! On arrival i saw circus equipment everywhere, people juggling and learning to walk the tightrope!
Most of my first day i spent exploring the town and then i spent the evening chilling in a hammock with a few girls i met, attempting to learn chess…my tutor said she was surprised i did so well πŸ™‚ beginners luck!

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The next day i decided to wake up early and go and see the full beauty of Pai.
I’m not confident on a moped and as i’m on my own so close to my flight home i’d rather not die so i chose to go with a tour guide.
Just when it seemed i would be doing this trip alone 2 lovely Chinese girls turned up πŸ™‚ company and a cheaper price = perfect!
We went to visit the Big Yellow House and Coffee In Love

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These were made famous by a Thai tv show called Pai In Love…never seen it but mental note to watch it when i get home!

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We saw the strawberry fields which were beautiful

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And i couldn’t resist trying some fresh Thai strawberries which were, in true Thai style, covered in chilli sugar!

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Quite tasty!

We were then taken to Pai Canyon – a stunning view and i even made my own little climb to sit on top of the world πŸ™‚

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I thought that after all the temples i’ve been to i’d be sick of Buddhas by now but the White Buddha in Pai is absolutely breathtaking!
A pure white statue and with the sun bouncing off it you would think it was glowing. The beauty of this, plus the lack of tourists as Pai is still quite remote compared to other parts of Thailand, made this the most peaceful Buddha i’ve visited.

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We also visited the hotsprings but as it was a 200baht entrance fee and i’m almost at the end of my journey we chose to try out the mini one at the entrance for free πŸ™‚

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The water was boiling! You can see the steam coming off of it before you even get close…me being forever curious had to see just how hot it was so i stuck my foot in…i instantly pulled it back out again with a yelp!
It doesn’t make sense that it’s so hot!

We all had such a lovely day and the girls had a polaroid camera so we all got a picture each to take home – our tour guide got one too so he can put it on his desk as a lovely memory πŸ™‚

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That evening i had a but of a culture shock.
Sitting outside my dorm i saw 2 Thai chefs from the hostel restaurant come round the corner holding 2 baking trays, it was dark so i couldn’t make out what was on them except sweetcorn, tomatoes and something that was moving…
I got up to look and there was a family of half cooked mice part melted, but still alive, on the baking tray.
I asked what they were doing and they told me that they had started cooking them but they were no good so they were throwing them away…they then proceeded to rip the mice off of the trays with tongs and throw them in bags. One thing i will never get used to out here is the way they treat the animals, it’s so sad.

The next morning with just a few days of my journey left i knew i had to spend them in my favourite place.
I guess every traveller finds a place their heart calls home and for me Chiang Mai is that place, so i braved the 762 corners again.
This time i didn’t take the pill, it might sound silly but i really wanted to experience the journey naturally even if it meant being sick…luckily this was not the case for me. I felt a bit queasy as a lot of the time is spent being thrown from left to right as you drive pretty much just in circles down the mountain – a great road for drifting –
A man sitting in front of me wasn’t so lucky and he made good use of his plastic bag before throwing it out the window.

Back in Chiang Mai and very happy i checked into Mojito House hostel, Β£2 a night and lovely staff…the sleeping arrangements are a bit cosy though

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Straight away i got talking to some amazing people, we went for food and as it was Melaina’s birthday we went to the 711, bought some Thai whiskey, a bottle of coke and went and sat on the grass by the river to watch the hotel singer across the road. Talking and dancing the night away it felt like we had known eachother for years, we had so much in common.

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I’m reading a book at the moment called One Hundred Names, it’s about a reporter who interviews 100 random people and realises that even the most ordinary of people has the most amazing story to tell…i feel like i’m living that book right now. Everyone i’ve met these past few days has been fascinating.

My last day in Chiang Mai was spent with Melaina at the park soaking up the sunshine and the sights

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And my last evening was spent at the Sunday walking street eating way too much food as usual πŸ™‚ i really don’t know how i will survive back home without Thai streetfood!

My next stop will be Bangkok airport where i will board a plane and head back to the rain and normality of England…sounds horrible right? Strangely though i’m actually looking forward to it.
I’ve had an amazing journey, met some great people and experienced things i never even imagined but i feel ready now, ready to go home and reconnect with friends and family and have lots of cuddles from my babies πŸ™‚

I’m so glad i got to finish my trip off in Chiang Mai, the first place i visited after Bangkok, the place i feel my journey truly began and the city in Thailand that my heart calls home, it feels as though i’ve gone full circle…it feels right πŸ™‚

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