Jungle Paradise
in Pai, Thailand on 17th February, 2012

I woke up early to catch a minibus from Chiang Mai up to Pai. After having breakfast I went to shower but found a Gecko was already in my shower; I opted to shower when I got to Pai instead.

I boarded the bus and was greeted by a girl named Liz from Kent who was taking the same journey. We chatted for a bit before someone sat in between us. Along the ~760-turn trip I listened to Steve Jobs biography on my iPhone and looked out at the mountainous countryside. At a stop along the way I bought a coconut. After drinking the juice the restaurant's owner sliced it in half and gave me a spoon to eat the insides.

I arrived in Pai and couldn't see any street signs. The tourist information place they dropped us at was only interested in our credit card information so they could sell some day trips. I walked into a restaurant near by and showed them a map of Pai asking for orientation. They said the place where I was staying at was a long walk away and partly uphill; they said a taxi might be a good idea with the 21KG bag I was dragging around.

They flagged down a man on a scoter wearing a high visibility vest which read 'taxi' and told him where I was headed. He shouted "40 baht" (about £0.80); I thought the price was perfect but I had no idea how he would actually get me and my stuff there. I sat at the very end of the scooter, one Thai girl helped get the bag onto my lap between myself and the driver while another girl moved my feet into the right locations. I put my left arm on my bag and the right on the driver's shoulder. He then proceeded to fly through the streets of Pai, over the jumps at the bridge and up the mountain and through the jungle countryside to my guest house resort.

As soon as I was shown my guest house I realised I was in heaven. I suddenly didn't feel the need to get a move on and see everything I could possibly see. It felt like I had hit a relaxation point. Throughout my time here I've taken the time to relax, read, do some coding I've been wanting to do for some time and generally recharge my batteries. The best thing is, this isn't just a week of this and then back to work, I still have months of holiday left.

In the evening I walked down off the mountain into the village of Pai, had a meal and walked around a bit. While walking down one of the streets Liz waved at me from a table outside a restaurant. We got to chatting for a while and walked around a bit afterward.

On Thursday I bought a day trip which took me around to several areas around Pai. It was basically a Thai guy in a truck and two fellow travellers from Australia in the back seats. Most of my shots in the gallery accompanying this blog post came from this day trip. This really is a remarkable part of the world.

During the outing in a Chinese village I came across a couple. The girl was dressed up in an interesting costume. I walked over and asked to take her photo. She agreed and I got what has been one of the best portraits of this trip so far. Perhaps some of my photos in Chiang Mai could compete but this was of a local person so I'd give it extra points for that alone.

Pai is a world away from other places in Thailand I've been to. There aren't any open sewers here that I've smelt; No one hassles you to buy anything; the markets aren't a place to keep your guard up like in Bangkok and the weather is more diverse with cooler evenings and mornings mixed in with the hot afternoons. I really like it here.

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