Monday, 4 April 2016

[Part II: 5 Days in Northern Thailand] Chiang Mai - Pang Mapha - Pai - Mae Hong Son

I had a trip to Northern Thailand sometime in early Dec. See Part I for Day 0 to Day 2 (Dramas guaranteed), this post covers the second half of my trip so let's go!

DAY 3: Around Mae Hong Son

Introducing our lovely place in Mae Hong Son:

It's a very lovely hut/cottage concept and when this view greeted me in the morning, I knew my day was just gonna get better from here.

Wandered around the city and found ourselves up in the hill at Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu. It's a beautiful white temple overlooking the city town and there was a cafe called the "Sunset Cafe", where the name itself was pretty self-explanatory. 

There are a lot to do/see at Mae Hong Son - hill-tribe village visiting, waterfalls, trekking, caves etc. But after a soul-damaging 10-hour ride (See Day 2 in Part I), all we wanted to do was to ride around randomly at our own pace into some nearby villages. 

Every picture looks like a postcard.

I had the BEST surprise when we got tired and returned back to our place.

Next thing I know, I was in heaven.

Spent the rest of my afternoon playing with them and napping in the sun.
THAT's how you should holiday.

Went back to the temple place again cos F wanted to get some sunset shots. 
The sky was on a glorious fire, and it was so beautiful. Like as if the day was mustering everything that it had and giving its last shot, burning ferociously for the one last time.

None of the photos are edited. So just imagine that beauty.

We stayed a little more till the night and were rewarded with a night of stars, with a guest appearance of fireflies, and me trying to start soulful conversations (and failing) while F being engrossed in his long exposure shots. It was quite an out-worldly hour, in the good way of course.

Then we went to the night market at the city's central lake, where the boys played games under their parents' cart...

..and motorbikes exploded...

..and temple bells jingled..

..and Thai kids contributing to phone addiction statistics while still sucking on his milk bottle..

..and some late Loi Krathong celebrants released their sky lattern and nearly burning it down cos they were taking too long with their selfies ..

..and concluding the day with a scenic shot featuring our dinner (aka BBQ eggs, fried bees and deep-fried veggies)

We could have done so much more if we weren't too traumatised by the previous day and had more time, but hey, sometimes it's indeed the journey that counts.

I learnt to take rest after a draining day, that's something I wasn't used to do. Vacation is not all about checking off the list and chasing adrenaline after all. 
And always, ALWAYS play with puppies. 

DAY 4: Mae Hong Son to Pang Mapha 

First thing to do when I woke up: PUPPPPIES!!

Had a warm sunny breakfast under the sun with the puppies and started our winding road back again! HELLO BUTT SORE (again)!

We struck jackpot again with our accomodation. 

Let me present you the 'Little Eden Guesthouse'
We had a really really cosy little hut, and there's a sunny pool outside, and BEST of all, I lovelovelove the common lounge! It was right beside a lake and some forested area. You could have a beer while swinging on the hammocks, but I chose a two-hour nap instead (not really, the nap chose me). 

We hopped on our little scooter and went scooting around the fields, the hills and the villages nearby. There were a lot of trekking and mountains around for the catching sunrise and sunset, but they required a little travelling and our butts were way too abused to sit on the bike any longer. 

I was posing with the setting sun in between my fingers and it bore some resemblance to diamond rings. That when I decided to make it bigger.

The day soon ended with tummies full of random food.

DAY 5: Pang Mapha to Pai

After a quick bite of breakfast, we were back to the road for Pai again. This time, it was freezing cold along the way and that familiar feeling of fixing our eyes on the road and trying hard not to die was back again. I fell off the bike halfway and landed on my butt. I cried a little bit and F got freaked out hahhaha.


The EASY Guesthouse Errbady!

It was a really rustic little place but comfortable enough to take a rest for a day or two. It was right in front of Wat Phra That Mae Yen Temple, which we should have climbed if we weren't so busy being lazy. 

I would recommend taking this road to get through Pai, it's called the 'rural road' and though it is slightly longer than the 1095 highway, the scenery definitely made up for it. 

Pai is a popular destination among the northern Thailand travellers, and it has flights coming in mainly from Chiang Mai. But the town itself is so small that you would have to drive passed the airport once or twice on your way around Pai. 

We headed for the Pai Canyon in the afternoon and I like it soo much there! You will see why in a minute.
One thing to note is that the place is quite sandy and there is no handles or safety structures at all, so proper shoes are a must. 

F decided to not carry on with the hike when he saw the vertical drop cos of his cameras and all. So I abandoned him hahah 

The canyon was hell of a climb! 
I had to use all four limbs at many points and the path got more and more unwalkable as one went in further. As much as I would like to know where my limit lies, I had to turn back cos '127 Hours' was starting to haunt my mind. 

There's me forgetting momentarily of my phobia for heights.
And that's me remembering it suddenly. 

We decided to catch the sunset at the canyon but it was still earlier, so we headed down to a nearby river to chill.

I got bored after some napping and selfies, and the river started to tempt me with its glistening water. So I decided to take a plunge. Literally. And it turned out to be a stupid idea cos the river was of walkable depth and I ended up with scrapped knees instead. 

The sunset at Pai was a very enjoyable one. Couples beside us were immersed in love and there were people singing and joking somewhere in the distance. The sun dyed everything a glory shade of gold, and added some dreamy rosy tinge to the clouds in the east. 

At that moment, I started to miss Thailand already. 

A quiet and beautiful ride back to our place. 

Went to the night market and amused myself with a bamboo cup. We hit some beers and avocados and our last night for the trip crept in before we knew it. 

DAY 6: Pai to Chiang Mai

Oh what's new. Turns and turns, uphills and downhills. 
This turn was painted red probably because some fatal accidents happened here before. F for some reason was especially intrigued by this turn. 

There's this part of the road that was extremely sandy due to the roadworks and I laughed when we stopped for a rest as F turned around showing his sunburnt face and dirty jacket.

The ride to Chiang Mai was tough as we had to ride under the noon blazing sun and the scenic view gradually died out and turned into monotonous city buildings. We had a quick bite at the local market and after a little bit of wandering, we bid goodbye to these very memorable times and places. 

Thank youThailand for not killing us, thank you F for almost dying with me.
I needed an escapade of nature and adventure, and this trip gave me a good dose of both.