Our only full day in Pai! We haven't even been out here a week but we've done so much already and are already nearly going back to Chiang Mai. There are a few attractions around Pai which everyone seemed to recommend and given our limited time and inability to ride mopeds we opted for a tour, and for 500 thai baht visiting loads of places we definitely got to see most of Pai in a very short time frame.
Our tour started at about 9.30 from the hostel, and after some bananas from the hostel for breakfast we boarded a bus. We hadn't looked much at what the tour included and soon found ourselves driving through the bumpy roads surrounding Pai for a long time, and I started to wish I'd brought my travel sickness pills. Luckily we had a really nice group of 8 girls, including a South African nanny who was travelling with the family she was looking after and people from Holland and one other English girl, and it was nice to chat to chat to them and hear about their travels.
After what felt like ages we arrived at our first stop; a large Buddha statue on the hill. We later realised quite how high up it was, and from below the steps we climbed looked pretty dramatic. Sporting our towels as skirts we made an odd-looking group (this was to comply with temple rules and not just a bizarre fashion statement) we climbed to the top where we cooled off before heading back down to get on the van. After a short drive higher up in the mountain we stopped at a viewpoint. It was pretty but the main attraction was definitely a bizarre swing style sculpture which was the highlight of the stop.
Next we moved onto Lod cave. This was the main part of the day really with a lot of tours offering just the cave, and we got a local guide at the entrance who showed us around. It was very interesting exploring the cave by lamplight, climbing up some rather precarious looking staircases with bats circling overhead. We also caught a raft inside the cave to different parts of it which was so cool. It did get a little tiresome though hearing the guides compare rocks to various animals/objects which at times were definitely a stretch from how they really looked. Fortunately after the caves it was lunchtime, and we all had pad thai and loads of fresh fruit which was included in the tour (and sooo nice).
We began another drive, this time taking around 1 hour, to get to a waterfall. It was nice, not quite the sticky waterfall standard but fun to play in and cool to see how fearless the local children were jumping and sliding down. The rocks themselves were slippery and at one point I slid and hit my back and head- not ideal but luckily not too hard. After that I was keen to stay by the edge.
After this stop we headed to some natural hot springs and swimming pool, which were actually in a hotel. We thought the springs were probably caused by sulphur due to the eggy smell they produced, but they were soooo hot it was like having a hot bath. We then had a nice refreshing swim in the pool as it started to rain.
We finally headed off to our last stop; Pai Canyon. The plan was to watch the sunset here but unfortunately the clouds prevented this, however the views over the area were still amazing. It wasn't quite the grand canyon but I was still very afraid of falling, and we got lots of nice photos.
We headed back to the hostel pretty late and did our nightly ab workout (got to counter all the food somehow) in the outside hostel communal area which was slightly humiliating. By the end of this we were all exhausted and bed was very needed.