From Chiang Mai it’s just a 3-4 hour bus ride up to Pai, a small mountain town filled surrounded by waterfalls and hot springs. I spent a few nights there as a break from Chiang Mai and had a lovely time staying in a quiet bungalow with resident chickens. I rented a motorbike for the first time ever and drove on the left – also for the first time ever! It was a challenge, and in retrospect it may not have been entirely smart to go off by myself for the day, but I survived the experience.
I loved hiking in the Muang Pai stone forest – a site that’s not commonly mentioned among backpackers but I saw some signs on the road near the elephant camps so decided to stop. The changing colors of the leaves and the crunch of the winter ground reminded me a lot of hiking back home. That is, I was reminded of home until I stumbled upon a bunch of banana trees!
I also had a fun night celebrating Australia Day at SpicyPai hostel. There was a delicious BBQ and good company. Nobody, though, not even the Australians, could explain what Australia Day actually is.