Pai & Return May 26 & 27

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Champasak, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. Champasak

    Champasak Ol'Timer

    Pai & Return May 26 & 27
    « on: May 30th, 2002, 3:06pm » Quote Modify Remove

    A short trip to escape Chiang Mai with the girlfriend singer on her night off for Visakha Bucha.
    Back to normal and left Cnx at 2.30 pm. It's hot, humid and slightly cloudy.
    We get a good run out of town up to Mae Malai & the Pai turn off.
    Then just going up into the hills 20 kms out from Mae Malai it buckets down from nowhere.
    We make an emergency stop to put the rain clothes on & head off again, but wow, it gets a bit wild with torrential rain, on those smooth winding slick mountain roads.
    The old visor fogs up, so up it goes, then the specs fog up from the inside.
    I almost can't see past the front wheel, then remember my new trick, breathe heavily through my mouth and not through the nostrils & the fog clears from the specs & I also regain partial visor visibility.
    Actually we aint doing so bad, as we are still able to pass all the cars going uphill, but then they overtake us going down - ya don't quite feel so safe on two wheels as compared to 4 in those circumstances.
    It clears up once we get to the top of the hills, and then buckets down again, just before Mae Sa.
    We arrive in Mae Sa under sunny skies & the locals give us a few weird looks - look at the couple of drowned rats appearing out of nowhere. I've got new gloves on too, & the black dye has run like a severed artery & both my hands are jet black, so that too kinda worries them a bit - what's wrong with his bike?
    After a brief 20 min stop for a couple of Sponsors, a Birdy & a chocolate ice cream, I feel slightly fired up & off we go.
    The road widening on route 1095 around Mae Sa is now finished & the road's pretty good - a lot easier to ride now. Its wider so you can see through the corners a lot more and you can carry more speed. Most of it is 3rd gear stuff, which means fun & a smile a mile wide, even with the girlfriend on the back.
    It's a sweet run downhill into Pai, except I cook the brakes going into the corners too hard with a load on (it's the girlfriend, not my hard riding). That's a first for me on the Africa Twin & I have to coast down for the last 10 kms to cool the brakes down.
    Just out of Pai we peel off to the right & take the back road in via the Tha Pai Hot Springs & the numerous elephant "camps," we log 4 of them on the way; and come to the conclusion that Pai & the Pai valley is booming from back packer tourism - every few hundred metres there's either a g/house / elephant camp/ trekking office / rafting office / bar / Thai massage shop or internet café! Take a serious look around & you'll be amazed! But as to who's really making money or just hanging out being cool, we don't know.
    Anyway we arrive in Pai at around 5.30 pm, just in time for a hot shower & time to hit Northern Green to watch the Formula 1 and see Coulthard stick it to Schumi for a change.
    There wasn't much going in Pai that night on account of it being Visakha Bucha, but we lucked out at the Northern Green with Chart, blues guitarist extraordinaire from the Be Bop, & almost managed to polish off a bot of Jameson's. Actually the bot was polished off later on at the Hut Ing Pai restaurant, which still has the best food in town. I can recommend the Pla Manao, if you like fish & something a little on the spicy side. The Gai Bai Toey is also very toothsome. The Cappucinno was ok too, come to think of it.
    Next day was a slower paced one, just plodding around the Pai valley, GPS mapping. They've spent heaps of money concreting roads everywhere in the valley linking up all sorts of villages, and it really is a Honda Dream paradise for rural day trips from Pai. Just about take any road from town and you will end up in beautiful villages with great scenery & wonderful layed back northern Thai villagers. To the south of town, there's a great Chinese KMT village Santi Chun, way up on the hill over looking town, on one of the roads to the Mor Paeng waterfall & the Lisu villages.
    We could have easily had another day pottering around the rural back roads of the Pai valley but it was time to head home for the girlfriend to go to work & exercise the vocal chords.
    We left Pai at 3.30 pm and had a magnificent non-stop dry run home to Chiang Mai, arriving at 5.40 pm. Not bad eh what, but the penalty for such a nice clean run home was two sore bums. Time to re-pack the Africa Twin seat in the near future......
    Chiang Mai - Pai = 130 kms
    Pai "doodling" = 120 kms
    Pai - Ch Mai = 130 kms
    Total = 380 kms.
    « Last Edit: May 30th, 2002, 3:20pm by Davidfl »

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