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A bragging ride in Thailand

Bangkok and Pattaya are destinations that Indians visit a lot but if you spend enough time in the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, you can’t miss people raving about Pai. Situated amidst the hills of northern Thailand, Pai is a perfect example of a typical Thai village which is now seeing increasing tourist footfall. becoming a new tourist attraction.

While hopping onto a mini bus from Chiang Mai bus station is an option for many tourists, I would suggest riding to Pai by renting a motorbike. Motorbike rentals are scattered all around the town and you can get one for about 250 THB — or Rs 500 a day. It’s what you probably pay to rent a two-wheeler in Goa. 

As soon as you weave your way off the traffic of Chiang Mai, you’ll understand why so many recommended you to visit Pai. You’ll also understand why the joy of riding trumps a stiff bus ride. Highway 1095 that connects Chiang Mai to Pai is a drive through a breathtaking view of rolling mountain ranges, coffee plantations, tropical forests, and paddy fields. The density of rice fields increases as you get closer to Pai.

Beware, however, as the road to Pai is treacherous. Extreme caution is advised. The 130-kilometre stretch is laced with steep climbs and slopes, back-breaking roads and 762 hairpin bends. No wonder riders wear bruises and bandages as a mark of pride and claim the Pai ride as a bragging ride. Besides, Pai’s markets sell tea coasters, fridge magnets, laptop stickers and t-shirts which help you further to boast about your trip. 

During the 4-6 hour ride, you can stop by one of the many quaint coffee shops to drain away weariness and refill your batteries.

Here are some tips if you decide to ride Route 1095
Do a thorough check-up of the bikes you rent. Make sure everything is working fine including brakes, engine, lights and horns. 

Make sure to fill up. The tank tends to empty faster once you’ve covered half of it. You don’t want to get stranded!

A GPS can be incredibly helpful. If you’re going far off the beaten path, it’s essential.

If you’re an inexperienced rider, start somewhere rural. 

Overall, if you have a chance to explore Pai by motorbike, do it. The experience is nothing short of magical.

In September 2011, Venkat went on a solo trip to Ladakh after which he quit his job to devote nearly all his time for travelling and exploring.


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