We cycle from the Buddhist monastery towards Pai. We do not assume that we will make it in one day because there are significant climbs in between. From here to pai it is 72 km with an ascent of 2337 meters in total.
We immediately start a climb and after a few days of rest our bodies have to settle in. It is heavy and we slowly go up but when the muscles are warm we feel stronger and it becomes easier mentally. When we have completed the first climb and descent, we quickly head for the next climb. We decide to continue cycling. The mindset is good and we notice that the legs know what to do again. But climbing is never easy no matter how strong we get. The mountains here have very steep parts, sometimes too steep for cycling and then we push our bikes uphill, which is very hard on the calves.
We reach the top of the second climb! What a euphoric feeling. We take off our sweaty clothes and put on all our warm layers because it is very cold at the top. Now it is still 25 kilometers to pai and it is much lower than we are now, so we think that should be easy. But that is a miss calculation. The cold and the descent make us stiff and it’s never just a descent so with the first climb we notice that we really have to get it out of our toes. Those last 25 kilometers pass by very slowly. After every descent comes another climb and the muscles sore immediately when applying force.
Once we arrive in Pai we look for a place to sleep. We are tired but proud of ourselves that we made it. We find a place where we can rent a cabin. It’s not the best place because there’s loud music and we think everyone is on drugs but it’s cheap so we go for it.
We eat noodles that we bought on the way at a market and take a nap. We arranged to meet someone we met at the monastery. So we find some new energy to discover Pai! We go to the Jazz house and have a beer with Caroline and Jo. Tonight is the final of the football World Cup so we look for a bar where Q is going to watch football and I’m going to have a beer with the ladies across the street at supermoon. A bar with often live music.
In Pai we slept in a cabin for two nights and then we went to the campsite near the center. Caroline had tipped us that she often saw tents. A super nice tip! For less than 3 euros per night we were able to set up our tent and we always sleep wonderfully in our movable home.
Pai surprised us. We weren’t sure if this would be a place for us as it is so touristy and busy. But there is a small group of people who have lingered here, they call it the Pai hole. Some stay there for months at a time, some return annually and some have continued to live there. Often it is musicians, artistic people or just “hippies” who enjoy the relaxed lifestyle here.
We did a “breathwork clinic” on the advice of several people from the monastery. It is based on the Wim Hoff technique. A Dutch man who is also called ’the Ice man’. It is a very active and intense way of breathing that brings out everything stuck in your body. Emotions and experiences that you can release through breathing. Because the first time was so intense and gave me the feeling that there was more to do, we stayed in Pai a little longer than we expected so that I could experience it again. Which I’m really glad we did. We also enjoyed live music every night and rented a scooter for a day so that we could explore the area.
We understand very well why people stay longer. There is something for everyone. There is a relaxed atmosphere and because it is small, everyone who stays knows each other. You quickly get a feeling of “us”. We also got to meet interesting people in the short time we stayed. And saw from the sidelines how everyone was connected.
We had a great time but are also very excited to get on the bike again. So on to the next stop.. Chiangmai. And to reach the city we will defy the mountains once again.