Mae Hong Son Loop (Part 2) and Chiang Rai

Street vendor

We wound our way over the mountains to Pai today and the scenery was the most spectacular we'd seen so far, mountains as far as you could see. Pai had been described in various books and websites as 'a laid back, chill out town' …... and that it may be for some, but for John and I it was a living hell and we instantly disliked it. It’s everything that is wrong with tourism, changing a place and it's people beyond any recognition of Thailand. When you get a sign outside of a lone restaurant that says 'Thai food served here', you know that something is seriously wrong – that should be a given, but here burgers and pizzas seem to rule. We had planned on staying the night here, but after picking up a new book for John and filling the car up with petrol we couldn't wait to leave – and we did, vowing to never ever return. Our original plan had been to find a guest house to check into for the night and then drive out of town to some hot springs and it was when we arrived in the vicinity of the hot springs that we saw a sign for 'Hot Springs Spa Resort', so we followed it and arrived at a beautiful looking lodge nestled in the countryside. We decided it would be far too expensive, but we didn't want to return to Pai either, I'd rather have slept in the car.

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