It’s only about 130 kilometres from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Pai. But, I was told the journey takes about three and a half hours. This seemed odd. However, we boarded a Songtaew (pickup truck with a top and benches down the side) which took us to a bus terminal. At the bus terminal, we boarded a mini van. Chock-a-block full, I ended up in the front seat thankfully. We headed off out of Chiang Mai and it seemed fine. Soon, however, we entered the mountains. I felt as green as Kermie and tried to sleep. I had had one too many glasses of wine the night before, so I wasn’t sure how much of my queasiness was the hangover and how much was the drive. Needless to say I was about to scream “Yute!” (Stop) in Thai when we pulled into a rest area. My stomach didn’t stop churning in the twenty minute break so I continued my efforts to snooze off. Before I knew it, we were there. My friend, Carlee, had a seat near the back and reported all the vomitting that went on throughout the trip but both of us escaped with our stomach contents intact. The trip back was the true test. Was it hangover, or was it that bad? We booked the last two seats on the third and final company our hotel tried for us! Lucky. We got picked up at eight am and I was surprised to see a van full of Thai faces staring out at me through the drizzle of the Pai morning. No tourists but us, not tourists but residents. Chock full again, we were squished in the very back seat next to two Thai men. The van was really dirty and in poor condition, creaking and groaning as we veered through over one thousand sharp curves and switchbacks. There was a barf bag at almost every seat so I guess that was a good indicator of what was to come.
Stopped by Human Trafficking Police about half way up the mountain road, we were delayed by two women who apparently didn’t have proper Id. We were barely glanced at and our passports not requested.
One of the two women sat directly in front of Carlee with a super cute wide eyed Thai cuteness baby. Seemed more stunned than amused by us but certainly looked curiously a lot.
Not too long into the journey they vomitting began. It was a bit of a phenomenon actually. Wow! The smell….. Over a thousand curves – I believe it!! The scenery was breathtaking as most mountain passes are. The jiggling and jarring of the van have a bit of a headache but I managed to keep myself from losing my breakfast.
The baby barfed all over Carlee. The baby was quite fascinated with our pale faces and kept turning around. At the height of the switchbacks he turned around, Carlee goo-goo-Ed at him. He opened his mouth as if to smile and baby vomit came streaming out. In mass quantities I must say! That was a highlight. Hilarious. Overall, the trip was quite terrifying but so beautiful and we made it!!! I stayed awake the entire time. First trip musta been the hangover. Only stomach queasiness when I tried to read. Pai is gorgeous, if very touristy. I recommend checking it out if you get the chance. Gorgeous scenery. And beautiful, giving people.