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Recent visitors to Chiang Mai

Pai is a tourist heaven


Recent visitors to Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai recently welcomed the athletes of the ASEAN University Games and while the athletes spent most of their time competing in sports like track and field, volleyball, sepak takraw and football, they did get a day out and many took advantage of that day out to visit the Bor Sang Umbrella Village, Baan Tawai, the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, the Mae Sa Elephant Camp and the Night Safari.

One of the visiting Lao athletes seemed a bit reluctant to hold the python!

A visiting athlete from Brunei, Zman Barahim a Pencak Silat player said, “I am excited to go to these hot springs because we don’t have one in our country. I feel very happy to take a lot of pictures and boil eggs, and put my feet in the water. In Brunei, they don’t have such a weather like this it’s very cold and the scenery is very beautiful also so are the girls.”

While Herman Wewe, the Basketball captain of Indonesia said that he was very happy to visit and relax here, “It was my first time and we had great fun and got to know each other better by getting together at the elephant show. The elephant is a lovely animal with a lot of abilities, and I am really impressed with their painting, with really beautifully created pieces. It is incredible. Also, the weather is really nice for relaxing and taking a break from the games.”

The ASEAN University Games ran from December 15- 23 with all 11 ASEAN nations competing for the first time.

Athletes relax at Baan Tawai, admiring the many carved handicrafts.

An Indonesian athlete finds her hat being removed
by one of the elephants at the Mae Sa Elephant Camp.


Pai is a tourist heaven

Year round tourism on offer

By Phitsanu Thepthong

As the cool season draws in, the town of Pai found in Mae Hong Son shows off its charms.

Pai District Officer Nives Poonsawat said Pai hit 700,000 visitors in 2009.

“The charms of Pai have drawn tourists and visitors in increasing numbers as they come here and find we have all the facilities and conveniences they need,” said Nives Poonsawat District Officer.

From the lush forests to the beautiful mountains like those in China, the Pai river, Kong Laen grand canyon, hot springs and activities like elephant rides, river rafting and trekking, the visitor to Pai will not be disappointed. He stressed the year round aspect of tourism to Pai, adding that Pai, really is heaven for tourists and visitors as it offers all the natural beauties alongside traditions and culture, and “Pai people are actually very generous. Most of them still keep up their original way of rural life.”

He noted that the facilities offered full services for the tourists to stay overnight and that the grand canyon called Kong Lae, there is camping, there are elephant rides, trekking and a walking street market at night with local products on sale.

The cool morning fog over Huay Nam Dang National Park is a huge draw in the cool season.

In 2008, there were about 160,000 Thai and foreign tourists visiting Pai, and last year (2009), these number rose up dramatically to 700,000 tourists per year as Pai has developed quickly. The District officer added, “I really hope that the number of visitors to Pai, this year will reach 1 million for the whole year.”

“We have an outstanding tourism strategy, as Pai is still virgin and unspoiled with tranquility and peace. From Chiang Mai to Pai there are 762 sharp curves along the road. And on this road, there is the beautiful Huay Nam Dang national park, with the beautiful Kew Loom view point at Huay Nam Dang National Park on the way from Chiang Mai to Pai.”

Park officials noted that a car is charged 30 baht, adults 40 baht and children 20 baht, and the viewpoint is about 5 km from the road.

“I can say we rarely see criminal cases here,” said Nives Poonsawat, the Pai District Officer, adding that “We do not have the big nighttime entertainment venues, but we have small pubs, restaurants for listening to music and classic songs to entertain. Additionally, there are no prostitutes, service girls or beggars, because we care about Pai society, “he added,

Pai is rich in nature, an abundant variety of food, from local Northern to western to Japanese. The hilltribe people are a large part of the identity of Pai as it is rich in local culture and tradition.

With the start of the cool season, morning fog and cool nighttime temperatures draw people to Pai.

Pai town retains a slow and relaxed pace for visitors.