The road to Pai across these smoke shrouded mountains is among the steepest and most winding roads I have ever traveled. Built by the Japanese in the forties, only a handful of the more treacherous sections have been upgraded in the interest of safety. Despite the seemingly ever present smoke, the views here are breathtaking, and the riding is as good as it gets.

The town of Pai is somewhat unique in this region for having the least Thai feel of anywhere that we had visited so far. It is a decidedly younger crowd of international tourists that have settled into a laid back vibe in a town that hosts both an arts scene and a music scene. We had to comment that we hadn't seen so many dreadlocks since we left Goa. But the real charm are the bucolic scenes within a few minutes walk from the edge of town (above and below).

Adding to the natural beauty and tranquility of the region are the unique character of the people.  There are Shan and Lisu villages alongside a village of Kuomintang from China's Yunnan Province.

In and around the Yunnan village there was a story in each and every doorway as the pictures above and below will attest.

       On the way to the Yunnan village we passed this unique Wat that seemed to float on a lotus pond, while Chinese women tended fields of garlic and cabbages across the road. After a relaxing day wandering the roadsides of the Pai valley, a short ride in the opposite direction from town took us to the Tha Pai Hot Springs where we could revive our tired muscles.
        The parts from Yut had arrived at the post office as promised, but we decided to wait until Chiang Mai to have them installed. Chiang Mai is home to "German Joe", one of Thailand's most widely known big bike mechanics. The decision to wait proved to be a prudent one.