Pai and Bangkok. The end of the Easter trip

16 May

After Chang Mai we headed further North to Pai for a few days. I’d been recommended to go here by many people, several of which raved about it! The mini van ride took only a few hours, but it was a rough ride. We were in the northern mountain ranges now and the road twisted and turned relentlessly. In total there were over 700 corners on the short journey, all taken at death defying speeds by our maniac driver. By the end everyone felt a bit queasy.

There’s not a huge amount to write about Pai, it was OK, but certainly didn’t live up to the hype. We hired motorbikes and checked out some local attractions. We went to a waterfall, canyons and some naturally occurring hot springs. All of which were pleasant enough, but hardly worth getting your camera out for. The town itself is small but bustling with backpackers. Perhaps this is one reason I wasn’t fond of it; it’s incredibly touristic.

The other major problem with Pai is the strange sickness it is becoming renowned for. I had read on the Internet and heard first-hand that many people get a sudden bout of sickness there. Many people think they have caught food poisoning, but restaurants argue it is simply a virus that has been going round the town for months, possibly years. Either way, it seems to be a serious problem! I was hit by this virus on our final morning, just hours before we were due to leave to Bangkok. I went to bed feeling fine and woke up to severe sickness and diarrhoea. All morning I was crippled in my room, while our bus time got closer. I didn’t want to leave the hostel, let alone take the same roller-coaster bus ride, followed by a 15 hour train journey. But I had little choice, so I filled up with medicine and off we went.

40 minutes into the journey I was in a bad way. I felt sick, hot and severely dehydrated. Other people on the bus were also feeling rough, and at least one girl was sick near the front. At one point I thought I’d have to stop; my hands and feet went numb and I felt faint. Needless to say it was one of the worst journeys I’d ever experienced. My recommendation is, don’t go to Pai. From Chang Mai we had an over night sleeper train straight to Bangkok. I was exhausted and just happy to lie down. In fact I ended up sleeping almost the whole journey and woke up 12 hours later feeling much better.

We had one last day in Bangkok so headed to the weekend market and bought some souvenirs. We then headed straight to Skybar, a rooftop bar with an incredible view over Bangkok. It is featured in the second Hangover film, and has turned into one of the trendiest venues in the city. Not surprisingly the drinks don’t come cheap! We had one cocktail each and got a bill of 1,500 baht, enough to eat for a month (if you stuck to street food). We enjoyed nursing our drinks and watched the sunset (so romantic). Next to us were two ladies from Switzerland and we soon got chatting about our travels. They were so nice and interesting to talk to, and we ended up joining them for a second cocktail, this time a Hangovertini, a drink invented by the mixologists for the cast and crew while filming. It was a real highlight of the two weeks and a great way to finish the trip. After all the travelling, late nights, early mornings and activities I was beat, and looking forward to getting back to normality.

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