Departure: 10:00 Arrival: 17:00
Early to bed, early to rise? Not in this case, both Jesse and I clocked in a good 10 hours of sleep before we were up on our feet for another day of riding around. A hearty pad Thai for breakfast and we were back on two tires for the journey to Pai, a tourist stronghold in the region.
The German couple the morning before had suggested us that we should visit the Tham Lot cave. We made a stop at village for gas and a strolled around the market where I got some very tasty but yet to be named fruits and resumed going towards the caves. At the top of a mountain, we finally realized that we had overshot them by several kilometers. Signage in Thailand may be good, we do not know, but those in English can sometimes be a rarity. So we rode back down and found the intersection at which we had to turn.
In order to visit the cave, we had to hire both a bamboo raft, a Thai guide and were also pressured to buy fish food for 10 baht. Fish food? I don’t feed the wildlife. So we went into the cave, checked out some stalactites, checked out some stalagmites, and floated around the river going though which was teeming with catfish. My suspicions got confirmed at the end of the cave, when we noticed that it had been dammed up to keep the fish in so the locals could farm them and have the visitors pay for the food. Otherwise, the cave was worth the detour, but I had seen better ones.
Along the journey, we had attempted to check out other sights as the map indicated lots of waterfalls and nice vistas, but the dry season had gotten there before us. The waterfalls were nothing but trickles and the visibility rendered poor by the bush fires burning everywhere. Deciding not to bother with other sights along the road, in no time we arrived in Pai and got to the Circus Hostel, where Georgia, a friend I had met earlier in Malaysia and Chiang Mai was staying. There, we were informed that a nearby waterfall still had sufficient flow to allow for a swim so after putting on our bathing suits, back on the bikes we jumped. That night, we ate at the night market, Jesse tried eating a giant water bug but had to spew it out and we all finished ourselves at a local bar watching fire shows.
Georgia was supposed to leave Pai the next day to return to Chiang Mai and since we were going the same way we offered her and her big back pack a ride, which to our surprise, she accepted.