After 728 bends (the T-Shirt says this I didn’t count) in a very cramped mini bus for over 4 hours from Chiang Mai, a random military stop and constantly being near the edge of a very sharp drop as we climb many mountains, I’m ready to plant my feet on firm ground and stretch my legs in Pai.
These journeys no longer stress me out or really annoy me, I now use them to my advantage. Either as some downtime to watch or listen to something as even though I’m travelling “alone” I’m rarely alone and get to just chill, or I use the journeys to chat to my fellow travellers, meet new people and get more recommendations for places to visit and activists to visit.
My love for socialising and choosing the latter means my neck now hurts from being constantly turned left to chat to a Brit who has done the same as me and just quit his job and is now travelling, and a Canadian who has never been to a beach before. Yes, you read that right. All the places he’s visited there’s never been a beach. I’m literally the whitest Brit about and I’m now being asked for beach recommendations in the world. The surreal world of travel.
At first being sat right at the back where it was the only row with 4 people across and so felt like I’d drawn the short straw. A few minutes in, I realised that I had the best seat in the house. While everyone else on the mini bus slept or listened to music, us 3 just chatted the whole journey about life, travelling, work, relationships and of course football (the Canadian hadn’t missed a Liverpool match for 7 years. Poor guy. No wonder he needed to get away and travel!)
I look out of the window. We’ve arrived. Once checked in, the vibe of the Famous Circus hostel and Pai is amazing. Just downright chilled and welcoming. No hustle and bustle of Bangkok here. Everyone just chats to you and is brimming full of info they just want to share with you. It seems like many are getting the slowboat to Laos like us.
What’s great is that we also know people here already from the Elephant Trip in Chiang Mai. Before long there’s an excellent group of us all chilling and drinking at the hostel around a camp fire (Pai is cooler but we probably didn’t need to be sat around the fire, but hey it was there already!).
After an hour or two, we already decide to book another night in Pai. We can just feel this place is going to to be good. The hostel, the people, the bars and street market all just seem to be so chilled and friendly.
Now we’ve just got to find a late night bar that doesn’t get shutdown by the tourist police. The first world problems of a traveller!