Ever since I left South Korea, I’ve been looking forward to the chance to rent a scooter and use it to explore someplace awesome. Technically, I’ve been looking forward to that since mine got stolen a few weeks before my departure from Pohang. Well, earlier this last week, I got the chance when I arrived via van to the beautiful, hippie haven of Pai in northern Thailand.
My interest in visiting Pai had been piqued by a guesthouse I’d discovered on Airbnb known as the Ing Doi Guesthouse. A little outside of town, surrounded by peaceful fields and ringed by the silent guard of the mountains, this place sounded absolutely serene; and just where I wanted to spend a few days after traveling and being a tourist non-stop. Luckily, the place was even better than I could’ve hoped for. Sandy and I immediately felt like home thanks to the welcoming attitudes of the owners Jake and Ming. The location was perfect, the food was amazing, and the attitude to the place was juuuust right. I could only stay a few days, but Sandy was able to stay on for a few extra. I’m more than a little bit jealous, but hopefully I’ll make it back someday!
Sandy and I did our own things for the few days we were both in Pai. She stayed around the guesthouse to take advantage of the shaded hammocks and tranquil setting… not at all a bad way to spend a few days. I took the opportunity to rent a motorbike for a few days and explore the surrounding countryside.
I rented the bike through a company called Aya Service. It has offices by the train station in Chiang Mai and the bus station in Pai, making it convenient to ride motorbikes from one point to another. Rentals are relatively cheap (less than five bucks a day, depending on the bike) and they have insurance options in case of loss, damage, or theft. I think the best option is to ride from Chiang Mai to Pai, since doing the reverse requires you to pay an additional fee of 500 baht (about $17). Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck with a bike being available then, so I rented it for my time in Pai and the trip back to Chiang Mai.
My first full day, I decided to ride to the tiny mountain village of Pang Mapha through the mountain roads; about a 90 km round trip. It was beautiful. The road dipped, climbed, and wound its way through valleys, hugging tight to the steep slopes, and snaking its way through beautiful forests of pine trees.