We heard from several people how great Pai (pronounced bye) is and how it’s worth the visit. We couldn’t agree more. From Chiang Mai the journey is uphill and full of meandering roads and sharp turns, 762 to be exact, our journey was ok but i think it really depends on the bus driver you get.
There is however one strange thing about Pai. We’ve seen it a few times on our travels and still can’t wrap our brains around it. It’s an influx of Westerners in an area which dominates the local population. In the case of Pai, the town is concentrated on just a few streets and once you’re outside of that parameter, the domination of Westerners seems to waver. We still cannot determine if this is absolutely awful, or if it’s ok. If we stayed anywhere longer than three days perhaps we’d learn the pros and cons about (predominately) young partying Western kids concentrated in this manner.
After the Gibbon Experience adventure in Laos, we decided to head straight for Thailand. There are frequent buses from Laos overland into Thailand and the land border crossing was really easy. The bus to Chiang Mai was supposed to take 6 hours, but we had yet another driver who drove like he stole the damn thing. We made it in 5 and beat the bus that left 30 mins before we did.
One of the main stops at Huay Xai is ‘The Gibbon Experience’ which is an eco-based jungle tour experience in Laos. The project helps protect gibbons in the national park and has reduced the number of hunters out for their blood.
Anyone travelling in Lurang Prabang heading north will have the dilemma of either taking the slow boat or bus to Huay Xai. For us it was a no brainer. Even though the boat takes twice as long, we have done our fair share of bus journeys, but not once have we sailed down the Mekong. Continue reading →
Before leaving Phnom Penh, we were sat in the bar of our guesthouse. An american voice emerged “wanna take a shot?” And it wasn’t Katie’s. It turns out a great way to travel is after 4 shots of Stollis vodka. That stuff is smooth and 4hrs on a bus flew past. I even managed to make my way through a Hannah Montana movie the bus was playing and quite contently I might add.
What can we say, we’ve already fallen in love with Cambodia. We had several people tell us that Cambodia is one of their favourite counties in SE Asia, and we can confirm, the country is living up to the hype. The people are incredibly nice, the cities are very green, easy to walk around, and have more charm in general than other cities we’ve visited. We arrived in Phnom Penh after an overnight sleepless layover in Singapore. We hopped into a tuk-tuk that trekked us into the city centre for $7.00.