For the past 2 days; Joe and I have been whizzing around on a scooter (sorry mum if you’re reading this, I know I said we wouldn’t). The thing is, Pai is THE BEST place for beginners to ride a scooter-there is vast open spaces to practice, the roads are relatively good for Thailand and there is hardly any traffic. If you’re nervous about driving a scooter in larger cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai; Pai is definitely the place to be.
But with so many scooter shops in Pai where is the best place to hire one? We got ours from Vespai which is just off the main strip; a little more expensive than other shops claim to be it cost 200 BHT (approx £4.60) for 24 hours. The best thing about Vespai is that if you don’t know how to ride it’s no problem, the owner will give you a lesson for 50BHT (That’s just over £1!!)
So you have your scooter, now where? Well..
There are a number if waterfalls in Pai and they’re all really easy to get to by scooter. If you get your bike from Vespai the owner will provide you with a map of how to get to them, which are easiest to navigate and where to park.
The waterfalls aren’t that amazing to look at, but you can swim in them which is a massive bonus on such a hot day-so don’t forget your bikini.
2. The Land Split
The land split is an old farming land, which due to a few earthquakes in a short space of time caused a huge crack in the earth. It’s really cool to see.
The land split is set in a really beautiful location and I’d recommend taking the ‘jungle’ walk to see it-trust me it’s a lot of fun.
The best part though is owner of the land. As he can no longer make a living from his land- because it’s basically been ripped in two, he offers his guests a real 5 star treatment and will provide you with homemade drinks and snacks all grown right there on the farm. You can pay what you feel necessary in the donation box but the food is really great-make sure you try his homemade jam and the roselle juice is to die for!
3. The Buddha on the hill
You can see the white buddha from everywhere in Pai so I was dying to go and visit-especially as it won’t be white for long; the temple isn’t finished yet and the white is just an undercoat for the luxurious gold colour it will soon be (which is a shame as I rather like the white).
I’d recommend taking your scooter as high as you can possibly go as there are a LOT of steps to climb. Make sure you take lots of water as on a hot day it can be a killer.
4. The hot springs
There are 2 different hot springs- one in the south which will set you back 300 BHT per person, or one in the North which costs 50 BHT each. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which one we went to…of course the cheaper one. I’d recommend you do the same, I don’t care what the more expensive one offers-a hot spring is a hot spring and this one was really great.
There are changing rooms, toilets and a small market where you can buy food, drinks and gas for your scooter. As you enter the park you pay 20 BHT each plus 20 BHT for your scooter, you then pay another 20 per person as you go inot the hot springs.
This place was really nice to relax for a while and the water was lovely-think warm bath rather than boiling geyser.
5. The Canyon and WW II Memorial Bridge
These two attractions are 1km away from one another so it’s best to see them together. Everyone will tell you to go the canyon at sunset, which I agree with as it’s absolutely stunning but this is also it’s peak time. Try going early in the morning if you want to be the only visitors.
Honestly- I had no idea what Pai had to do with world war 2 so was eager to read the history behind the bridge. It was basically built so the Japanese could cross the river to invade Burma (now Myanmar) which was a British colony at the time. Elephants were used to pull huge logs from the mountains to buold the bridge and just as the Thai’s were getting used to using it; of course the Japanese burnt it down. A replacement bridge was built for ease in memory of the one built in the 40’s.