Ah, just look at the beautiful blur of water as it crashes off fuzzy, out-of-focus cliffs and into a murky pool of brown water. The lighting is crap, the focus is non existence, and the composition reminds me that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to taking pictures. And so it was that this entirely unimpressive picture would cost me 4 stitches. Within an hour of taking this piece of crap I was sitting in a Thai hospital getting the first stitches of my life.
So, what happened? …
Let’s back up to the day before the Crappiest Picture Ever Taken was … taken. Jess and I took a 3 hour bus ride from Chiang Mai to a little hippy town called Pai. Pai is known for it’s sleepy laid-back atmosphere, waterfalls, and perhaps most of all, the natural hot springs. Going to Pai was like escaping the madness of everyday life and disappearing into accepting arms.
We stayed in a super cool, eco-friendly hostel, hung out with a cool guy from France, went to bars and hung around the hostel. Our hostel even had a monkey plus I-Can’t-Remember-How-Many dogs!
There are 5 Things to do in Pai … by traveling along this journey with me, you will discover how this Crappy Picture cost me 4 stitches
1. Wander the Pai Walking Market (& Drink)
There are some super laid back bars along the one and only walking street in Pai. Stop by some of the bars and you will be thrown into the serene atmosphere that surrounds Pai.
2. Rent a Scooter
Yes, that sign is correct! For 100 Baht (About $3.30 USD) you can get a scooter for 24 hours! They don’t care if you have a license, they don’t care if you have ever driven before, and they don’t care if you have ever driven on the left hand side of the road …. They WILL give you a scooter. So, BE CAREFUL & KNOW YOUR LIMITS … the Thai hospital is full of foreigners who crashed their scooters… injuries range from severe road rash all the way to death … please be careful because foreigners crashing scooters is a big issue in Pai.
3. Visit the Hot Springs
The Hot Springs are what Pai is most well known for. To be honest they are a bit expensive to get into, but well worth the trip. You pay at the gate (200 Baht) and then you can hang out for a little while. There are all different temperatures, ranging from hot tub temperatures towards the bottom all the way up to boiling at the top. (You can actually boil eggs in the highest hot springs)
4. Visit a Waterfall
There are plenty of waterfalls in the area that you can check out! Scooters seem to be the most common way to access most of them. The one seen in the picture to the right is the one we went to. After climbing a steep trail (5 minutes), crossing a rickety bridge, and then shimmying along some rocks by holding onto a rope … you are there! The vantage point sucks though and you have to crane your neck to see the waterfall around the bend. So … naturally, one would try to get a better vantage point. The yellow arrow in the picture (left) shows the perfect spot to get a picture… in my humble oppinion. It was a simple task of jumping into the water and walking up to that point. The current was fairly strong but the water was only knee-high.
Agh, it’s just such a bad picture. It would be fine if it didn’t come at such a cost. So here was the problem … As I moved upstream the current ripped one of my flip flops off (as in broke it … not just pulled it off). No big deal though … I just took them off and threw them back to the ledge, carrying on with bare feet. Once I got to the “perfect” position I snapped the quick, crappy picture (right) and then maneuvered back downstream.
On the way back though, I slipped a bit and had to do a bit of a tap dance to stay on my feet without getting my phone wet. I pulled it off though, maintained my balance, and managed to work my way back to the rocks, shimmy along the rope and got back to the bridge. Once I made it to the bridge I started to fix my flip flop and finally glanced down at my foot …. And that’s when I saw it … a 1 foot circle of blood pooling out from under my right heel.
And it was time to go. Apparently my tap dance wasn’t as good as I thought. I slammed my heel into a rock on the bottom of the river and cut it pretty good. So we walked back down the trail, tied my shirt around my foot and headed back into town on the scooters. Which brings me to my #5 Most Popular Thing to do in Pai …
5. Visit the Local Hospital!
The nurses at the Pai local hospital are extremely friendly. I highly recommend visiting them. As you can see to the left, the nurse is very impressed with my tourniquet shirt and is politely explaining to me that I will need stitches.
After a couple needles, a lot of blood, some emotional support from Jess, and 4 stitches later my visit was complete! The entire visit cost my about $25 USD and that included an additional cleaning the following morning. I had never gotten stitches until then and the Pai hospital was as good as any to give it a try.