The Private Tour Company

The following was written 7-9 in Pai

6:55PM Pai is a lot harder place to get out of than it is to get into. The main buses only go to Mae Hong Son and back to Chiang Mai – effectively making a loop around Doi Inthanon National Park. Trouble is, I don’t want to go to either of those places. I want to head N.E. to Tha Ton.

It’s possible to hop on a Chiang Mai bound bus, get off at the juncture of highway 107, and hope for a north bound bus to come by and pick you up, but I’d rather not risk that.

It’s also possible to rent a motorbike and drive yourself to Tha Ton, but knowing the steep, windy roads around here and the way most Thais drive, I’d rather not risk that, either.

So I’ve had to resort to the bottom of the barrel, the scammiest of the scammers: a private travel company. I’ve bought a 400 Baht ticket (it would be cheaper to get a bus to Chiang Mai, and another from there all the way up to Tha Ton) on what I’m told is an air-con minibus direct to Tha Ton. When the lady was filling out the paperwork for my ticket, it looked like I was the 15th to book.

The worse part of the whole thing, though, is that the bus doesn’t leave till 11PM. Well, I’m supposed to be there 30 minutes early, so 10:30PM, but what am I to do the entire day? I checked with the front desk here at the guest house, and it’s fine if I leave my backpack here all day, but still. There’s really not much to do in Pai but lounge around the cool, covered, bungalow. I’ve been to all the shops around town, have been being satisfied with only one or two meals a day. We shall see.

I’ll save an air-con internet cafe for the heat of the day – I can kill a couple hours there. Perhaps pay a visit to the bookshop across the street from the burger place – It’ll take me a little to browse all the titles there. Perhaps in the evening I’ll try walking to the Wat outside of town.

Let’s hope I don’t have any trouble or regrets from the “bus” ride. It’ll be an experience, anyway.