Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pai and Beyond

After lunch in a lovely outdoor restaurant in Soppong, we continued on to Pai. Upon arriving, we stopped at Coffee in Love, a delightful coffee shop overlooking the valley. The coffee was great, as was the view.

We learned that Pai is a popular destination for Northern Thailand residents who want a romantic get-away. Honeymooning couples were strolling hand-in-hand, and several other hotels and restaurants had a "love" theme.

We drove around the village, marveling at the teak forests that covered the hillsides. Most of the old-growth trees have been logged, but new teak forests have been replanted in many places. We spent the evening in a private cottage at the Belle Villa Resort. Here are a couple of views of and from our room.

Upon arriving and unpacking, we experienced our first real Uh-Oh! of the trip. The nice bottle of Scotch we had brought with us had leaked in John's suitcase, and everthing in it was permeated with the smell! When John checked with hotel staff to see about having his clothes laundered, he was told that it would cost much too much to have the hotel wash his clothes....However, they did have the name of someone just a block away who would launder them in her home. 

John was very relieved when we picked up his clothes the next morning. They were all washed, ironed, folded and ready to go. And the best part was that it only cost $6.00 for a suitcase full of clothes!
On Saturday morning, after picking up the laundry, we left Pai and drove down the mountain...and down the mountain...and down the mountain along a very scenic road that wound past rice fields and through Huay Nam Dang National Park. 

As you can see from this photo, the roads were not only scenic and winding, but very narrow!

On the way, we stopped to visit Pong Deuad Hot Springs. The spring is actually a geyser that bubbles up and then drains away to form shallow pools. We were told that the temperature of the water exiting the geyser is between 90 and 99 degrees Celsius, while the water temperature underground is 170-203 Celsius. Much too hot for a dip!  We enjoyed the short walk and the lovely teak forest alongside the stream.

Our next stop was at Mork Fa Waterfall. The walk to the falls was shaded by these magnificent trees. Some were teak, but there were a number of different species, along with lush vines and other vegetation.

The waterfall itself was lovely, as was the small pool below. I had to pick my shots carefully, though, as there were several couples there at the same time as we were. One thing I have learned about the Thai and Cambodian people.... If there is a landmark or scenic view of any kind, its greatest attraction is as a backdrop for a portrait. There is no telling how many people have pictures of someone with the Mork Fa Waterfall appearing to cascade down onto their heads!

John, having had his fill of long drives and scenic wonders, took a quick look at the waterfall then stretched out on a nearby bench to "rest his eyes."

After yet another sumptious lunch under our belts, we headed down the road to our final Thailand destination, Chiang Mai. 

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