Daily Archives: January 16, 2023

Songthaew Style

It’s been a while, but I wanted to take this time to talk about local Thai transportation. There’s this conveyance here called a songthaew. It’s essentially a pick-up truck painted bright cadmium red with two hard longitudinal bench seats and a bit of a roof, but open to traffic out the back.

(Photo snagged from https://www.thai2siam.com)

I include this information by way of explaining that this is the cheapest way of moving about Thailand. Designed for eight souls, I’ve never seen one with less than twelve or more cramped backpackers while circulating Pai looking for more. You go nowhere without a fully packed truck. Remember, there’s always room for one more. Somehow this all works out unless something goes wrong which would cause a lot of fun-seekers to tumble out the open back of the pickup. So far we’ve managed to avoid the songthaew.

We signed up for the rare, for us, “tour” to Pai Canyon and sure enough, it was time to become acquainted with our very own bright cadmium red songthaew. I will admit that the first step up through the doorless open back was challenging while simultaneously avoiding giving the very low roof a righteous head butt, it was obvious that first we’d be wandering around picking up more adventure seekers. Rarely has driving 12km through the Pai countryside seemed so long. We arrived just before sundown to the classic Thai carnival atmosphere. Music, food, balloons, cheap plastic Buddhas but the job at hand was a frontal assault climbing a surprisingly steep pathway up a long hill toward what I hoped was the correct way to Pai Canyon. We were fairly confident because we’ve developed a good nose for sniffing out the right way to go, and at least it wasn’t 360+ stairs.

Breathlessly summiting a dusty hilltop we were met with a strange scene of uncommon beauty.

The only thing left for all sunset lovers is to negotiate one’s way back to your ride in absolute total darkness. There simply are no lights at Pai Canyon.

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