After leaving the excitement of Thaton and Chiang Rai, we felt that a litte relaxation was in order. After reading the Guide book, Pai seemed like the perfect place, it was described as a travellers haven situated in a lush valley, surrounded by waterfalls and hot springs. After ballancing on a boiling hot engine at the front of a huge bus, narrowly avoiding falling out of the open door every time we went round a hairpin corner, we arrived in Pai Valley. This more than made up for the bad 8 hour journey, the valley was beautiful, exactly as it had been described in the guide book. Accomodation was aplenty, even though over 100 bungalows had been devastated in flash floods only a month earlier (the Thai people in Pai were still very upset and traumatised by this, and a friend we made called Mink, who owned a bar and cooked the best Thai food we'd tasted, had lost her whole business and was just starting to re build). Even so soon after this disaster, accomodation was easy to find and the People of the town had a grim determination to get on with life, and forget about the terrible tragedy. Pai was everything we'd hoped it would be, we enjoyed hot springs, Rosie went to yoga classes, we whizzed about the countryside on a hired motorbike and made some good friends. Minks Hiccup (the bar and restaurant that Mink ran) became a regular meeting spot and we enjoyed small gatherings of eating, drinking, listening to music and chatting to people from all over the world. We had a very lazy week in pai, and made the most of the hot springs and the local outdoor swimming pool, leaving us refresshed and rested ready for the journey to the large city of Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai as a vast sprawling city, with booming traffic, busy streets and a massive night market. mingled in with this modern chaos is a beautiful old city, and if you look carefully there are some beautiful old ruins to be found. Within the walls of the old city are numerous old buddhist temples and stupa's (one of which can be seen in the Photograph section) For the final night in Chiang Mai, we stayed in a lovely old teak house, that had a wonderful vegetarian buffet (although if you took too much food there was a strict charge of 200% the meal price if you didn't finish), for those who know him, it was at the buffet we bumped into Mr Ashley, (one of our teachers from ten years ago)and his new wife, we had a nice evening eating (and making sure there was nothing left on our plates) and catching up. We finally left Chiang Mai heading for Sukhothai, one of Thailands ancient cities.