If anything I was getting sleepy. The winding mountain road with its lush landscape was lulling me into a state of slumber. Unfortunately for me, a minivan is the least comfortable vehicle to sleep in, and as I look around, most of my fellow travellers were wide awake with their eyes on the road. As if they could control the next turn or the rain that had started falling with higher intensity.
The road from Chaing Mai to Pai, according to local knowledge, has a grand total of 762 turns and it's widely known among backpackers due to its sickness inducing hairpin turns and daredevil drivers. Yet, the only thing making my stomach turn was the state of my electronics under the morning's outpour. Naively, we had sent out our packs to the roof of the van without a raincover...
The small town of Pai, in recent years, amassed a big reputation for it's relaxed and slow paced life, so it's not surprising to see flocks of backpackers walking the village main street, snacking on street food and partying until the sunrise.
But Pai is what you make of it, and as a mountain enclave, the town is a superb gateway to adventure activities; Tham Lot caves, countless waterfalls and hot springs are a short drive away. It's crowning jewel, however, is the so-called Pai canyon, an elevated dirt trail that overlooks high rock cliffs and the valley.
On the second afternoon, we climbed the trail, the heavy clouds had scattered and people had gathered along the edge of the path. Everyone was waiting for the sunshine, and the mountain gods didn't disappoint.