I jumped on a train to Hua Hin to go visit Brian. Hua Hin is supposed to be only 3 hours from Bangkok but on the train it took 6. Luckily I didn’t care so much because I was reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which is an awesome book! Also the scenery was pretty cool and the sunset was beautiful. Brian came and met me downtown and we met some of his friends at the night market and had a few beers than went back to their hotel and swam in the pool. The next day Brian had to go to school so I hung out by the pool and tanned and read and when he got home we went out for really yummy noodles. We just relaxed that night and the next day we rented a motorbike and went to monkey mountain and the beach. Monkey mountain is a big hill with temples and stuff and lots of monkeys, and the beach was pretty average. In terms of beaches though I have been pretty spoiled. Overall Hua Hin were not so great, the town is kinda ugly and dirty, and the beach is meh, but I’m glad I got to hang out with Brian!
I got a bus from Chiang Mai to Pai and it was rough. Three hours of really windy, hilly roads and even I (who doesn’t easily get car sick) was feeling pretty nauseous. I got to my hostel called Spicy Pai, it was recommended to me by a friend who had stayed there and it was so cool! The Spicy hostels are a chain in Thailand and there are 3; one in Koh Tao, one in Chiang Mai and one in Pai. It reminded me of Granny’s (my hostel in Bali), with a big open hanging out area and lots of solo, friendly travelers. Pai is a tiny little mountain town with a verry hippie-ish vibe. Sort of like the boulder of Thailand if you will! I went out on the town with my new friends from the hostel and slept soundly until 1230 the next day. When I woke up I went to the common room and me and some friends went into town and got motorbikes to go exploring. There are two loops that can be done on motorbikes around Pai. The north and south loops (really original names, I know). That day we did the Southern loop. It took around 4 hours and was so fun! We rode out of town surrounded by majestic mountains and made our first stop at a waterfall. There was a little hike to reach it and we jumped into the cold water which was quite refreshing after our walk. From the waterfall we continued south and found some hot springs but didn’t go in because they were expensive, so we kept venturing and found the Pai Canyon. Which wasn’t so much of a canyon as it was a rock ledge with an incredible view. From the canyon we spent a little time just driving around the mountains and eventually headed back to the hostel. We all showered and went out for food at the night market. The night market was awesome, the whole street just becomes lined with vendors and they have delicious Thai dishes for less than a dollar. My favorites are dumplings, spring rolls and mango sticky rice. We went to a reggae bar for the night and listened to the band play covers of Bob Dylan and The Band then we called it an early night. The next day we did the northern loop but it was rainy and pretty cold. Still so beautiful though. We stopped at a Chinese village and did a funny ferris wheel type swing then checked out some more waterfalls and headed back to town. We hung out at the hostel in the afternoon and met some really cool people- a ton of Americans, actually the most I’ve met my whole time abroad! A bunch of people from the hostel went out that night and we had a really great time. The next day an English girl and I did a Thai cooking class. I learned how to make pad Thai, red curry, Tom kha gai soup, spring rolls and mango sticky rice. I also went to the market with the woman in charge of the class and we learned so many useful skills. Like how to tell if pineapples are ripe! And how much things should cost at Thai markets. By the end of the day I was incredibly full and exhausted so I went back to the hostel and went to bed pretty early. I did get to take home the recipe book though so a few of you lucky people may be getting a home cooked Thai meal when I get home. As it had been about a week, the next day I was due for a massage so I went to get one with a girl from new York. It was delightful as usual and we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the town. That night spicy Pai had a barbecue for everyone at the hostel. It was so yummy and so fun! Afterwards we all went out on the town, I ended up meeting a guy from boulder who knew my two best friends in college, the more I travel the smaller the world gets, it’s crazy. I headed back to Bangkok the next day on an equally gruesome bus ride back to chiang Mai then overnight bus to the city. I then went straight to the train and went to visit my friend from home who was doing an English teaching course in Hua Hin.