January 16, 2023
Today was my last day in Pai, so I moved at more than a snail’s pace for a change. I walked up to Amy’s early in the morning so I could practice driving the scooter. I drove around Pai, making lots of turns so I could practice both balance and signaling. I did much better today, never forgetting to stay in the left lane 🙂 I also saw the real Pai market, located on the opposite side of town as the walking street. No doubt locals buy their goods here, then mark them up and sell them to us tourists.
I went back to Amy’s so we could head down to the Pai Canyon and do a little hiking. Amy wasn’t feeling great (allergies/smoke issues) so I went alone. I rode about 15 minutes south to the Canyon, passing five elephants along the way. I didn’t stop because these elephants appear to be owned by people who profit from photos, etc. I’m sure I’ll have more humane opportunities to see elephants another time.
The Pai Canyon was mostly empty when I arrived around 11am. Hiking the loop trail, I only saw 2 other hikers. AllTrails was pretty important, as the trail wasn’t marked at all, and had many intersections that made me question which way to go. I hiked most of it within a dry riverbed at the bottom of the canyon. About ⅔ the way through, I saw farms growing corn, papaya and bananas. I completed the dusty, dry canyon loop in about 2 hours.
With the independence of a scooter and nowhere to be, I drove a little further south to the Krazy Kitchen. Although the sign said closed, the owner chased me down as I began to drive away. I sat at an elevated table without any chairs, sitting instead on a mound of flat pillows and crossing my legs. I ordered pad krapow gai, a dish the chef declared she added three chili peppers. Spicy and delicious.
After lunch, I drove back to Pai where I took a shower, then went to Amy’s to help her with her website. We spent the next ~3 hours working out a few issues, before going into town to drop off our scooter. For our five day scooter rental, we paid $1000 baht, or $30.
Next we walked up to Charlie&Lek for dinner, and sat with a solo traveler named Niv. Niv hails from Israel but he’s been living in Thailand for many years. We talked all through dinner, each of us sharing stories of how we stepped off of the traditional conveyor belt and into a more enriching life.
Since it was our last day in Pai, we had to turn in early enough to pack up our belongings in preparation for our 6:30am ride back to Chiang Mai. Niv offered us a ride since we no longer had a scooter, so all three of us piled onto his scooter. Shockingly we fit and the scooter didn’t give up under our collective weight. I wish I had gotten a photo.