Oct 8 - Thaton
It was an interesting day going from Pai to Thaton yesterday. We took the public van-bus from Pai (80 baht) to Mae Malai, getting off and changing to the bus that went to Fang (65 baht). The only way to go direct to Thaton was to backtrack from Pai to Chiang Mai (remember those 764 curves?) for the direct Chiang Mai to Thaton bus. We took the road less traveled. The country is basically jungle, broken up by agricultural areas and small towns. This is a very beautiful part of Thailand, and we were happy not to be driving so we could look around. At Fang, we got on a local yellow song-taew (20 baht) that went to Thalon. All told, we spent about 6 hours transit time, but were happy to get out at our destination in daylight. We had booked at the Old Trees House Resort in Thalon (www.oldtreeshouse.net) and Paulo picked us up for the 5 minute ride to the resort. What a beautiful place! He and his wife, Nid, built 6 bungalows just outside town. There's a view of the Mae Kok river, as well as mountains and rice fields. The private bungalow with king-sized bed, free wifi, satellite TV, free stocked mini-bar, and pool all helped relax us after the drive. Breakfast is also included, and this morning, Paulo mapped out a trekking route for us, then dropped us off about 8 km (?) up the mountain side out of town. We walked the back trails thru the Kentung village, and eventually reached the beautiful chedi (Wat Thaton) that sits high atop one of the hills overlooking Thaton. The views over the valley, river and town were broken up a bit by the haze, but the sun was shining and we took our time walking back to town for a late lunch. After getting back to the resort at 3:30, we arranged an oil massage for both of us (250 baht/hr); a very nice way to wind down the day.