BEWARE: NOVEL ALERT. A lot of rambling and ranting is to follow so enter wth caution.
We have just spent the last 4 days in Pai, Northern Thailand. We were only expecting to spend 1 night there but events along the way unwillingly amended our plans.
While Pai is a lovely place, 4 days is far too long in my opinion. I think 2 nights would be perfect for anyone in normal circumstances.
Our mishaps along the way have resulted in us staying there double the time and losing/spending lots of money in the process. I therefore grew to be a bit fed up of the town by the time we left this afternoon.
I have to say, this is mainly because I’ve been dealing with food poisoning the last 2 days! So it’s not technically the towns fault. At first, I thought my stomach pains and headache was the side effects of my antimalarials, especially as Liam and I shared the same symptoms. However, after speaking to the pharmacist, he seemed adamant that it was actually food poisoning.
We had eaten street food the night before, but I couldn’t tell you what the cause was, I ate a lot of stuff! (Regardless, I’ve also stopped taking my antimalarials just in case).
As a result of being ill, we couldn’t do our planned slow boat trip to Laos on Sunday night. The thought of a 3 day trip on very cramped boats and buses was not at all appealing to me at the best of times, let alone when I feel like I’m dying.
Thankfully the nice lady gave us 2/3’s of our money back; we were very lucky as it clearly states ‘no refund’ on the ticket. Unfortunately we still lost around £30. Obviously this may not seem a lot to your average Westerner, but my fellow travellers will know that that’s 2 days worth of spending money in Asia!
During our new found spare time we discovered Vietnams ‘visa on arrival’ service. The main reason I wanted to head to Laos in the first place was to obtain a Vietnam visa. Its turns out that you can now get an approval letter emailed to you to hand in at the airport!
As none of us were keen on the long border crossing experience and weren’t too fussed about seeing Laos, we decided to skip it altogether in the end and head straight to Vietnam.
We used the travel agent in front of Hotel Pailafornia to book our flights. We booked for 3 days time to allow for our Vietnam approval letter to be sent to us.
We have a national flight from Chaing Mai to Bangkok, then Bangkok to Hanoi. This ended up costing £128 each. Believe it or not, the travel agency was actually cheaper than anything we could find on skyscanner; I don’t even think the nice Dutch guy took any commission! (they must make their money from the travel companies?). If you are looking to book things I’d definitely recommend this place.
So with 2 extra nights I had plenty of time to spend trying to sleep in rooms, being sick every so often, too weak to go out and having to starve myself to shake of the virus. Yay me.
In an act of desperation after searching frantically around for rooms to stay the next day (they’re hard to come by in Pai), we had to book in to an 800 baht per night hotel called ‘Nanu’. It seemed quite new with stone interior, so was nice but made the place naturally cold. Liam also had to give 300 baht deposit for the key. At checkout, as he lost the receipt the receptionist refused to believe that he paid 300 and would only give us 200 back! Very rude and tried to put the price of the room up to 1000 baht the day before. Beware of this place.
This morning we booked a bus for 1pm to head back to Chaing Mai as I’m feeling ok enough to travel (reluctantly on the crazy mountain roads). As 1pm came round our bags were flown on top of a bus, only to be taken off again. After being to and thrown between the desk receptionists and bus drivers, it turns out that the receptionist booked our tickets for the wrong day, no space on the 1pm!
With no apology at all, no acknowledgment of her mistake and no sympathy shown whatsoever, we were presented with a new reciept for today’s 4.30pm bus. So we’ve had 3 and a half extra hours to kill in Pai, as if we needed more time there!
Now we’re back safe and sound in Chaing Mai until we set off. Thailand has been great but I’m very ready to move on now.
Apart from all this, our first two days in Pai were great. I’ll post about these in a separate post, with a much lighter tone and a lot more positives. Promise!