Pai, Thailand

Pai revisited

In the burning season, some weeks before the rain breaks and clouds burst open more regularly and persistently, the town of Pai aka Utopai aka Pairadise seems rather deserted.

No matter what time or temperature, it simply feels good to be here. There is a river, warm but still refreshing to bathe in, and a dozen cafés and restaurants offering vegan delicacies. A waterfall with basins, a canyon and hot springs are all within reach of some 15-30 scooter minutes.

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The trees are rocked gently by the warm breeze. They bloom in shades of yellow, orange, crimson with a lush green thicket of palm trees and all kinds of bush and grass stretching to the horizon.

It is a quiet place now. Only in the evening flocks of people gather on the walking street of Pai to get freshly prepared food, local handicraft and to meet and exchange stories and plans fellow travellers.

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I enjoy taking a slow walk and rest wherever I find some tree shade. It is a good place to do nothing. Feels empty now compared to my first visit three months ago. The place where I put up the tent last time is abandoned. The entire atmosphere is one of leisure, and it seems to me to take effort to go anywhere, the reason being it is so lovely right where I am wherever I am.

I am sitting on a bench with the river in front of me. A mill to the left and Baan Pai Riverside bungalows behind me. Two brown cows are pasturing on the opposite riverbank. A black bird is perched in perfect balance on the shoulder of one of them. Now it flies somewhere else. Out of sight. Some birds chirping in different voices as if they are talking to one another. Sounds of steps from the bamboo bridge 50 metres away. Cicadas announcing their presence. That’s all.

••• ••• ••• ••• •••

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Two lions guarding the entrance of the oldest temple in Pai. Erected 1312. Renamed 1477. Renovated 2007.

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Wat Sri Don Chai, Pai

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