For about two weeks I finally had some proper vacation. By that I mean, I stay in one place, I get a daily routine and go for some touristic attractions once in a while.
When you choose to travel long-term the traveling becomes a different thing. You don’t need to rush things and squeeze everything in only a few weeks. You have time. And actually, it’s exhausting to change places and see new things all the time. Sometimes you need to stop and stay. You want to look for some daily routine. Maybe you want to get the feeling of “home” again. We have found a place that could offer the feeling of comfort: Pai.
Pai is located in the very North of Thailand almost at the border of Myanmar. The mountain climate is very refreshing, hot during the day and cool at night. You can even enjoy the coziness of a thick blanket. We were lucky to find a resort that made us feel like being in paradise. Quite high standard bungalows with an amazing view overlooking the river and the mountains, very green, very quiet and a pool we almost used alone. With our scooter that came with the room we could get to the city in a few minutes.
The daily routine
8 – 9 am: morning workout
I usually would do some workout: 30 minutes run followed by a Yoga session.
10 – 10:30 am: breakfast
We would go for breakfast at “Earthtone” a hippie – yoga – vegan – organic food place: I order coconut water and we would play some backgammon (I usually win, but that’s not always a good thing).
11 am – 1 pm: sightseeing
After there was time for some activity: taking a ride through the country side and seeing some of the tourist attractions (Log Cave, canyon, waterfalls, elephants, hot springs…).
1 pm: lunch
We always went to the same place, a vegan/vegetarian buffet-like restaurant, very delicious and very cheap.
2 – 4 pm: siesta
After lunch it’s time to relax because it’s also getting too hot. So we usually would go back “home”, have a nap, chill by the pool…
4 – 5 pm: activities
We would have another round of sightseeing, pool, chillout or just a coffee at Earthtone. They have delicious organic waffles made out of buckwheat.
7 pm: night market in the city
The night market in town is a highlight of the day. You can stroll around, many little shops and food corners everywhere. Here is the life of Pai. I’d usually get a fresh vegetarian wrap with peanut sauce and have a drink in one of the bars with live music.
9 pm: diner
Once you find something good you better stick to it. We call it “Mama’s place”. It’s off the main road and a lot of locals eat there which is usually a good sign. I think it is the best place for Thai food around here: their Tom Yum Soup, Morning Glory and tofu veggie dishes were very tasteful.
10 -12 pm: chill at home
The day is usually ending with a movie watching in bed.
What is so great about routines
I like to have a day structured. I like my sports activities. I like to eat in the same places. You know what to expect and you also get closer to the people. It makes you calm and it recharges your batteries. And anyways, there is always something new to see in a day when taking a ride around. But the key is to take it super slow, be lazy, watch movies, sleep.
There is a lot of live music in Pai. Besides local musicians you get to see a lot of tourists playing especially on open mic nights. My travel mate Filippo Masé aka Miserable Man played a Gig at Art in Chai, a little Café run by a dutch girl. I supported with a shaker and surprised with a dance to his cover Song “Silencio“. That was quite a fun night, in the end he made the owner dance.
One day I thought, let’s go to the Mae Yen Waterfall. I thought we would be back in 2 hours. It turned out to be a 7 km hike along a river through the jungle and back. It took about 6 hours. We got a little lost a few times and I lost one of my Flip Flops in the river, Filippo lost his glasses. Totally exhausted we made it back out of the wild just in time before it got dark.
The biggest Cave I have ever seen is the Lod Cave about 1 1/2 hour drive north-west of Pai. It’s huge with a river flowing through it. There are old tombs and paintings indicating that people stayed there a long time ago. Getting through the cave by bamboo rafts was quite an “Indiana Jones” experience.
Indicated photos by Miserable Man // for more stories/pictures check his travelblog
Here a short clip from our holiday in Pai: