Posted by: James Shannon | January 7, 2011

Life of Pai Episode II: Fishes, Farmer’s Fields, and Fabulous Waterfalls

After the first few days in Pai elapsed, my thoughts turned to how long I planned to remain in this amazing corner of Thailand.  With the holidays approaching, travel would be difficult, and with Katie being such a great friend, she invited me to stay through Christmas.  Planning to leave on the 27th, this would put my stay in the area at around 12 days, giving me tonnes of time to see everything that the valley and surrounding regions had to offer.

That said, Katie and I kicked off Day 4-5 (the days blended into each other there, as I lost track of time in this idyillic mountain valley paradise) by visiting a piranha fish farm, owned by an expat friend of hers (Katie knows half the town it seems, but that’s not hard to understand seeing how she’s lived here for seven winters!)

The piranha fish pond on a dour overcast day (actually quite comfy at a brisk 22c) … there were some fish caught, but only one was the carnivorous fish … interesting to learn that they and other tasty marine life can co-exist in this environment!

This was the bathroom in house of the owner of the fishing pond … as you can see, he does very well for himself … this and the kitchen upstairs was very baller!


Afterwards, we went to Pai Centre Bar (formerly Mio’s), where we went frequently during my stay in Pai … Mio and her family are basically extended family for Katie …

… and Mio’s dogs think so as well!

The next day on a brilliant sunny morning, we took to the hills above Pai to check out hilltribe farming fields, as well as a popular waterfall in the area…

On our way to the mountainside fields, with Katie leading the way on the bike in front … you see where the cloud edge is on the mountainside?  Our destination was roughly just below the cloud deck …

It got just a bit too tricky for our bikes here, so we disembarked here and walked around the muddy tracks.

A cleared field (notice the tree stumps?) creates a peaceful pastoral scene 2/3rds of the way up the East Slope of the Pai Valley

More blissful mountainside scenes just below the edge of the aforementioned cloud deck


After contemplating life for a while, we checked out the Mor Paeng waterfall … since the dry season had been in effect for over a month at this point, one of the key draws of this place wasn’t available, that is, the natural waterslides formed by the smoothing action of the rushing water over rock that erodes favourably.  There were still people swimming though…

The terrace pool between the upper and lower falls was still ripe for swimming on this day, with locals and travellers alike taking part in the festivities … the waterslides though were not getting enough flow to be used safely, sadly.

The lower falls, as viewed from the bottom … the whole falls complex was too high/stretched out to be captured in a single photograph


After stopping for a brief drink at a bar owned by yet another of Katie’s expat friends, we stopped at vantage point where the whole of the Pai valley could be seen in awe-inspiring detail…

Next photo essay has Katie and I hitting the road for Mae Hong Son, the regional capital in Northwestern Thailand … lots of gorgeous mountain scenery on tap folks, stay tuned!


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