I enjoy staying in Pai in Thailand. Pai is a countryside village, 160 kilometres north of Chiang Mai. My son is happy with the hamburger, pizzas and westerns food one can find in town and I enjoy some trail running experience in the jungle in the morning.
Generally, this trails are to be run to reach a very very nice waterfall but as you will see, it’s always a fail.
The Mae Yen Waterfall in Pai.
This was not a running experience as it’s mainly one very small trail in the jungle. And as I don’t want to run into a big spider net or to put the feet on the tail of a big snake I generally switch to hiking instead of running while in the jungle.
I didn’t found the waterfall and but the countryside is very nice. The trail involve many crossing of the river (the Mae Yen Luang).
The Mueang Luang river in Pai
This trail will send you along the Moei river and along one of it’s tributary, the Mueang Luang river. You will also cross the little village of Ban Wiang Nuea ( or Wiang Nur on some maps – Vieng Nuer on other maps) where you can buy some water et some food. It’s about 26 kilometres, half concrete road half trail. It’s possible to run almost all the way. The jungle part is on a little bit larger trail than the Mae Yen Waterfall trail. On some maps of Pai, I’ve found the indication of the Hua Chang Waterfall. It’s after the resorts « somewhere in Pai » and « Moon Village ». I’ve found these 2 resorts before entering the jungle but no Hua Chang Waterfall on my trail.
The Chedi Phra That Mae Yen & mountain
I wake up rather late this morning and I choose an easy run. It happen to be more a walk than a run. I join the beautiful temple of Chedi Phra That Mae Yen and reach the big white Buddha. A dog was accompanying me. At he Buddha she show me a way to continue in the forest. We reach a pass and then we follow the ridgeline. It’s possible to go further but it was raining and I wanted to go back. While going back I took a wrong trail and the dog was crying and trying to show me the right way. I follow her and we managed to get back to the white Buddha. Back to the temple, the dog decided to call it a day and I went back by an other way, through paddy field with 3 or 4 river crossing.
On the hill, the vegetation wasn’t of the jungle kind. Obviously the vegetation has been burnt many times. As I have seen many cow shit on the trail these fire may have been Lighted by cow boys to get some grass for the cows ?
For this walk / slog, I took my Skechers Gorun Ride. Not the best choice for this, my Skechers go bionic trail would have been much better on this trail.
I also took my jacket Salomon Gore-Tex Active and I don’t think it was a good idea. In tropical temperature when it’s raining a good Gore-Tex is probably useless as the sweat coming from the body is far much exceeding the water coming from the rain. The coldness is also not an issue when the temperature is always above 20°.
I’ve found the Mae Yen waterfall.
After a failed attempt to reach this waterfall, on my way back from Soppong, I’ve decided to give it a last try as I was almost certain this waterfall do exist. I haven’t been disappointed even if the waterfall is a least 8 kilometres from the concrete bridge of Pai, don’t give up untill you’ve reached it, it deserve it. If you want a spoiler, here is a representation of what you will get.
Here is a little video with the waterfall : . And here an idea of the trail you have to follow with one of the many river crossing : .
Where to eat in Pai.
As I stayed almost one week I had the time to check the restaurants in Pai.
The Baan Benjerong (on the bottom right on the above map) is according to TripAdvisor the best restaurant in Pai. Unfortunately, TripAdvisor don’t give the direction of the restaurant. They also give a wrong name. The right name is not Baan BenjErong but Baan BenjArong. So the restaurant is on the highway 1095 in direction of Chiang Mai. It isn’t in the touristic part of Pai.
I’m glad I managed to found this elusive restaurant but unfortunately it was closed in august.
I went to Charlie and Lek instead.
Very cheap and very good. The best papaya spicy salad I’ve ever had. Banana flower salad cooked with chili sauce, coconut milk and peanut : its a must. Very tasty, perfect for a paleo diet. Fried vegetables with cashew nuts not particularly interesting..
Green papaya pad Thai : very good and paleo compatible.
Banana blossom salad : was advertized on the wall. Same as Banana flower salad from the menu.
Spicy stir Fried chicken with cumin leaves : not exceptionnal.
Another must according to TripAdvisor. I’ve checked but it wasn’t unforgettable.