We had heard tales of the windy, curvy road that connects the picturesque village of Pai with Chiang Mai. Highway 1095 is described in travel guides as one that can induce motion-sickness on even the strongest of stomachs. So, needless to say, Mindy (who gets motion sick from the peaceful sways of a hammock!) was nervous for the van ride. But, that wasn’t going to prevent her from going to one of Thailand’s most scenic places!
As she always does, Ligeia spoke with the driver to ask that Mindy sit up front, but unfortunately, two other passengers had already claimed the VIP seats, as they also were prone to getting carsick. So, Mindy and Ligeia got into the first row behind the driver, and made sure that the van windows could open… just in case.
Apparently, the driver does the trip to and from Pai three times a day. The faster he finishes, the faster he gets to go home. So, it’s no surprise that he had a heavy foot and crossed the solid center line to pass slower traffic any chance he got. In all likelihood, he could have probably done the drive with his eyes closed, driving the route from memory. The hairpin curves, sharp corners and all the ups and downs, all the while avoiding cows on the road, were part of his daily routine. However, for the 12 of us passengers, the 1000 curves (ok, well actually, we learned the exact number is 762) were a bit difficult to handle. Here’s an aerial picture of the route, showing a mere handful of the corners:
Just as Mindy was starting to feel the first dose of Gravol (anti-nauseant) wear off, and a queasy feeling taking hold, the driver stopped at a little restaurant/convenience store for a half-way break. It was an opportunity to stretch legs and enjoy the motionless ground. It wasn’t long before the driver yelled “Pai!” and we packed ourselves back into the van. Mindy had taken one more Gravol to help the queasiness subside, and thankfully, it helped!
Unfortunately for a teenage Dutch boy, though, his queasiness escalated to full-blown (sorry for the visual) motion sickness. We heard “Oh shit!”, lots of coughing and heaving, and then “Driver! Stop!”. The driver quickly pulled over, and since it was on a decline, anything that was on the floor of the van (e.g. our bag) got introduced to the boy’s breakfast.
Everyone quickly piled out of the van and enjoyed the fresh air. Mindy promptly took another Gravol (she wasn’t taking ANY chances!), as the Dutch boy’s father did his best to clean out a van full of puke with nothing more than tissues, wet wipes and some sort of spray.
Since the driver was now even more behind schedule, he impatiently hurried us back into van, which surprisingly didn’t smell too bad, and drove even faster (we didn’t even think that was possible) to our destination only another 30 minutes away.
After finally stepping out of the van in “downtown” Pai, we quickly composed ourselves, found a place to get some food, bought some water and snacks and called the Bueng Pai Guest House to pick us up. A short time later we were picked up in this thing. We put our backpacks in the carriage area and sat on the metal shelf:
Wanting to leave the tourist district as soon as possible, we were very pleased to start to see rice fields and gorgeous views of the neighboring mountains. Only a few miles away, we arrived at our stay and were shown to our private bungalow, with a hammock out front:
…and this really nice view:
While Mindy recovered from her Gravol-induced coma, Ligeia went for a walk to check out the surrounding area and got some shots:
The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent resting and relaxing, both of which we plan to do more of during our stay. Tomorrow, after breakfast, we intend to rent a motorbike to explore the area.
Stay tuned for more Pai adventures!
Mindy and Ligeia :):)