It was quite a nice sunny day when I was leaving Chiang Mai and I was happy when I arrived to the bus station. Walking few kilometers in a sunny day with a big backpack and a guitar took energy from me. They tried to sell me an expensive ticket for 150 THB (4.4 USD), but I knew that I can also take a local bus for 80 THB (2.35 USD). After some asking, I found the place where they were selling these tickets and I bought one. There was a Wi-Fi inside. I was chilling inside and one guy came to buy a ticket. He also wanted to keep his luggage there but they didn’t want to look after it. I told him, I will stay there and that I will take care of it. That is how I met Michael from Germany.
We started talking and our conversation had to end while sitting in the Bus and trying not to vomit 😀 Well, our driver was a fan of the Fast and Furious series and our bodies were sliding from one side to the other. I was sitting right next to the door, so I would be the first one who would fall out. In the same time, I was really enjoying the view. Originally, we were sitting there in 5 people, but the driver stopped and picked up 2 Thai women with their luggage. They were selling some food next to the road and the driver was probably their relative. We became one piece inside of the car – when someone moved, the other one had to move as well – especially nice for all the curves around 😀
Suddenly, there was plenty of smoke around us. What is going on? Fire in the forest? I was asking about it and one girl told me that they are burning the forest in order to grow some expensive mushrooms. I won’t buy any mushrooms from you!
We arrived to Pai after nearly 3 hours (normally it should take about 4 hours) and I was quite surprised that there are plenty of shops around. I was expecting a small village – it certainly didn’t look like that. Plenty of people were telling me about Pai and I think the tourism changed this village a lot – to a small version of Bangkok.
There is a bar street. One and only. Since 8 pm to 12 pm it is full of people. Bars are next to each other and it is quite common to spend some time in one and then to go to the next one. Up to you 🙂 Beer is expensive, it is better to drink some in 7/11 and then to go to dance. The first day, we went to one bar with Michael. I remember myself coming back from the bar to my hostel at about 0:30 am and grabbing my guitar. I wanted to play so much. I was looking for some place where I would not disturb. Then I found a place close to the road and I was enjoying this beautiful sounding guitar. After about 30 minutes, one Thai guy whom I have seen earlier arrived to the hostel. I saw him playing saxophone in a bar. He just sat next to me and he was listening. Then he started to hum some melodies. No words needed for another 20 minutes. Understanding based upon the feeling. After this session, we agreed on meeting each other the next day.
I rented a bike and we went few kilometers behind Pai. We found a nice place with a red bench underneath a big tree and I started playing and singing. He started playing the saxophone. In that moment the context changed. I was not playing alone anymore. There haven’t been so many times when I would be playing with someone else. We were creating something bigger than us. I was enjoying this so much.
The hostel where I lived was full of very inspiring people. It was owned by a painter and musician, it was more like a gallery. There was a small girl jumping all over the place. I was playing with her a lot. She was very interested into my computer and the thing she liked the most was bashing into my keyboard and typing random stuff. While she wasn’t perfecting her skill, I was working on my VPN and cloud server and I finally developed a long-term backup solution for my photos.
The other day I met Michael, we borrowed a scooter for him and we went to explore the surroundings. We saw a sign that said “waterfall”. We were enjoying our ride and then one older woman jumped into the road and she was showing us that she has some weed that she would like to sell us. We didn’t want to buy anything and so we continued to the waterfall. In there, we had an amazing time with Thai guys sliding on the wet rocks. I felt connected with them, everyone was happy and enjoying that place.
We saw a small road that led us to a river which we crossed on our scooters and then we were offroad-riding on some soft and sandy road. This was so much fun. My scooter called “The bluish slime” was suggesting me that his name is not right. It revved hard.
We reached the top of the hill and we were able to see everything around us. A little bit further, people were taking care of their fields.
When we went back, we decided to try to buy something. The lady was still on the same place. She sat on her motorbike with her friend and she told us to follow her. They took us to their stash and they tried to sell us as much as possible for quite a high price. In the end, we bought about 6 g of weed for 300 THB (2.35 USD). On our way back to Pai, we lost each other. I was getting close to Pai and in the corner I saw a soldier with a machine gun. He was showing me to pull over. Behind the corner, there were another 5 soldiers and 4 policemen. They were not checking for international driving licences or helmets. They were looking for drugs. Adrenalin rushed through my veins. I was being checked everywhere like that instead of my balls I had a package of weed there. I was clear, but my friend, he had it with him. I called him right after the roadblock. I wasn’t able to reach him for 2 minutes, but then I finally reached him with my czech phone number. He told me that he already went through. He kept repeating “I love Pai, I love Pai.” and somehow they stopped searching him 2 cm below the package. Uff. I was reading about the procedure and it is quite aggressive. When they find something, you have to go for 3 weeks minimum anti-drug treatment, then your visa is probably going to expire and you are also going to the court afterwards and you have to pay a lawyer etc.
It is quite difficult to smoke in Thailand. We enjoyed our smuggled stuff well though 🙂 For the next few days, Michaels cottage (or crib how he called it) became our base. Me and Michael, we were walking on the street and I saw Dimitri and Megan – a couple that I met in Chiang Mai. I liked them so much. Everytime I’ve seen them, they made me happy just by being around. They spent some time in a monastery and they just arrived to Chiang Mai when I met them. I was about to go to the monastery as well but after speaking with them, I realized that it is actually not what I was looking for – too many tourists.
Time changed. I didn’t feel the rush while being in Pai. Every day we went somewhere else. One day, we went to see the White Buddha. I wanted to have a conversation with him, but he was not able to hear me. I needed to go closer.
We went to see hot springs, but they asked us for 300 THB (9 USD) per person. No, thanks. Instead of it we went to the Pai canyon. It was full of Japanese people taking selfies and standing right next to the cliff. It was like saying “Me so hero!” with the selfie. Virtual level: Iron man. I am wondering how many people die while taking selfies.
I was moving from one hostel to a different hostel so that I could write some paid reviews. I moved to Ming Guesthouse. In there I met Viv from South Korea. Our conversation started when she saw me programming on my computer. She has just finished a boot camp in Germany and she is about to go there and work there as a programmer. She didn’t know about the waterfall so I took her there. In there we met two guys struggling to start their motorbike. I was trying to help them but I wasn’t able to make it. I was about to go to the village to get some help and then this Thai woman appeared and she started the bike in 5 seconds. Reskept. We kept meeting these 2 guys all day and so we became friends :D. Mattia and Terence. They were travelling along with Alejandra and it was so much fun to stay with them. The next day, we went about 10 km away from Pai and we played with small Thai kids in the river. I was a bit scared playing with them because I didn’t know if it is acceptable or not. Terence just started to play with them as there is no problem at all. I did the same. I made me so happy. I felt exhausted, but I didn’t want to stop. I felt like a small kid as well. Just play. Be there.
I was playing a guitar for them for a while and their eyes were shining. I also enjoyed conversations with Terence and Mattia a lot. They had this bright energy without fear.
Michael, Dimitrij, Megan, Terence and Mattia left Pai after some time and me, Viv and Alejandra stayed there.
There was a Thai new year coming (Songkran) and we wanted to see the sunrise on it’s first day (13th of April) and also to enjoy Pai for the last time. In the morning, we went and all small kids were already prepared with buckets full of water next to the road. We were riding in 3 people on my motorbike and those kids just kept throwing all the water onto us. It was fun, but in the same time, it was quite dangerous. I was not able to see anything for a while and sometimes it hurt (especially later close to Chiang Mai while riding about 100 km/h). We chilled on the waterfall for the last time and then we rode 4 hours to Chiang Mai to see one of the biggest Songkran celebrations. More in the next article.