Leaving Chaing Mai for the hippy village of Pai, we got an insight into what happens when you overstay in Thailand. The sad reality of two late 40 something men talking about their mushroom trips, what kind of painkillers they could get and who was taking care of their ‘plants’ reminded us to enjoy Thailand but not stay too long.
But walking around Pai it’s easy to see how people do end up staying longer than they planned. Days drift by filled with meal after meal of hearty food, healthy fruit smoothies infused with wheatgrass and nothing to measure the passing of time except when your scooter was due back at the shop.
Our Argentinian breakfast companion explained to us on the first day, “Everywhere else you are, you feel guilty if you don’t go out sightseeing, but in Pai, you feel guilty if you do spend too much time out sightseeing and not relaxing.” So we settled on a balance. There’s plenty to do around Pai once you force yourself out of the bookstores, cafés and cafés-cum-bookstores.
It took us a day or two exploring the local area on scooters before we slowed down to “Pai-time”. We visited waterfalls to escape the midday heat.
We found white Buddhas and golden Buddhas.
We visited Pai Canyon during the midday heat and had to return at sunset so we didn’t collapse from heat exhaustion.
We drank tea at the local Chinese village, enjoying the views of the surrounding valley.
We whiled away the days drinking herbal teas, reading books and soaking up the atmosphere. And like so many travellers before us, we ended up scrambling to the border with just a day left on our visa, hoping to return.