Pai to Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Thailand

5/4 – Our do-nothing vacation in Pai comes to an end tomorrow. As we enjoy one more swim in the pool and one more climb to see the sunset, here are a few things we opted not to do in Pai:

Seeing the Long Neck Karen tribe: as tempting as this was for a short-necked Karen like me, we read too much about the exploitation of these Burmese refugees, who are paid to disfigure their women with neck rings to be ogled by tourists. I remember reading about them in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as a child (a long, LONG time ago!). Really didn’t want to view humans the way we view zoo animals, and the tribe does not benefit from the admission prices charged by the tour promoters. Here are pix off the advertising poster in town:

Riding an Elephant: there are lots of places in Thailand offering to let you ride/bathe/train elephants. Most of these places use bull hooks to jab the elephants, torturing them repeatedly to make them docile enough for tourists. We decided not to be part of that exploitation. The exception is the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, where abused elephants are rehabilitated and never ridden. We tried to book a trip there when we were in Chiang Mai, but the waiting list was several weeks long, and we were not able to go. If you really want to see elephants, book early and support image

I’ve been keeping my sister AJ in mind as we tour Thailand, as she and her husband would like to travel here some day. They are vegetarians. Don’t know how they would feel about the vegetarian restaurants here, which all seem to serve meat, like the House of Pork Vegetarian Cafe:image

Same problem at the grocery store, offering vegetarian shredded meat:image

Don’t worry AJ and Bob – you can always eat rice!

5/5 – Back to the bus station this morning for our 3 hour mini- bus ride back to Chiang Mai. Met John while we waited, a Vietnam vet. He and Jim traded old war stories – Bangkok was the place Vietnam vets went for R&R, and its proximity brought back lots of memories for them both. Arrived at Chiang Mai with three hours before our train to Bangkok, so we has a leisurely lunch and chatted with two young Aussies from Melbourne. Turns out they were taking the same train.image



We were not able to book air conditioned berths on the overnight sleeper to Bangkok, so we are anticipating a steamy night. The windows on the train are all wide open – hope there is a breeze! image

This is the first long distance train we’ve been on that does not have compartments. The seats convert to upper and lower berths on both sides of the car, with curtains in front, like in old movies (Some Like It Hot comes to mind!) Here’s the sunset out the open train window. image


5/6 – After a long, sticky night, we approached Bangkok, as the scenery changed from rural to urban.image



Pai, we miss you!

5 thoughts on “Pai to Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Thailand

  1. A great post… and I so agree on “not doing the human zoo and riding the elephants”. Beautiful pics. Just wondering – Does Pai have a lot to offer that is much different than Chiang Mai? I know it is relaxing. Is it worthwhile to make the extra trip up there though? Which place did you prefer? I am always planning our next trip. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cheryl – Pai is spread out over miles, and most folks get around on motorbike. Because we were on foot, I can’t say that we’ve seen all of either Pai or Chiang Mai, but Pai had more of a small town feel, single lane and dirt roads with lots of new construction, where Chiang Mai had more of a (small) city vibe. Both had tours, waterfalls, shopping streets, lots of places to eat, massage, and cooking classes. If you are looking for new things to do every day, Chiang Mai offers more opportunity and diversity. Now we hear that Chiang Rai is really the best place in northern Thailand – we’ll have to check it out next time (or you can check it for us)!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much. There is always a new place to try! I don’t think we would be doing motorbikes so Chiang Mai might be easier. Have a great rest of your trip.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s pretty weird about the vegetarian food! We got sort of scammed during our vacation in St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Like you, we ended up in the “wrong” taxi, which took us the long way to the beach, by way of a bunch of locals who were selling touristy junk (if you’ve been to the Caribbean, you know what I mean). When we kept refusing to buy, the taxi dropped us where he was, and we had to walk the rest of the way to our destination (after paying for the ride).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I’m discovering that everybody has a scam story, Mike, which makes me feel better! I’m a little concerned with how the Thais define vegetarian, as they will emphatically answer “yes” to any question you ask, and I don’t have sufficient language skills to determine if they just fished the sausage out of the soup before serving it as “vegetarian”! Caveat emptor, but do plan to visit northern Thailand – it’s grand! Thanks for following.


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