Mae Hong Son

Surprise, surprise, was out with Zvi until 4am or something, but still managed to wake up just in the nick of time to catch the 10:30 bus! As were about to leave the Bamboo Bar, Pai’s late night illegal drinking hole, where a sign warns “silence please, or the police will arrest everybody”, Zvi joked that he hoped nobody had stolen his flip flops from the steps of the bar. (In Thailand it’s common for everyone to remove their footware before entering many public places). Sure enough, someone had taken one of his flip flops, presumably mixing it up with one of their own, and left their other one which was about 5 sizes smaller than Zvi’s. They must have been steaming drunk not to have noticed that!

The route to Mae Hong Son is scenic enough, not so the town unfortunately. I was expecting it to be a slightly larger version of Pai, but it’s completely different, much more of a concrete looking place with a fairly dead nightlife. I took a ride this morning up to a Wat on a hill overlooking the town which is impressive enough, then a longer ride out of town to Mae Aw which is a KMT town (whatever that means) sitting on the border with Myanmar (formerly Burma). It’s a pretty little sleepy place, where the inhabitants are Chinese of some desctription, basically. Some of these villages must have a seriously small gene pool, I’ve always thought! It was a nice ride with some waterfalls and caves to stop at en route. At the caves the guy in the information booth was blatantly reading Playboy in front of everybody which was amusing! Finally I took a ride south to some hot springs, but short of a rather unimpressive looking spring itself this is really a commercial venture where they pipe the water into bathing houses which you can rent.

So I think I’ve seen enough of here and will leave tomorrow, maybe going directly back to Chiang Mai but via the southern route this time, through Mae Sirang or something rather than Pai. Maybe I’ll stop at Mae Sirang, but I gather that town’s even worse! I’ll sleep on it…