Northern Thailand Tour Continued

Lamphun – Chiang Mai – Pai

Today featured a wonderful mixture of Thai culture, a medical “Resort”, beautiful plants, breathtaking landscapes, and an amazing journey across the mountains of northern Thailand to the town of Pai.

Hauy Sai Kaw

Surprisingly, we weren’t the last of our group to show up at the 6:30am breakfast!  Bill is definitely not a “morning” person!  An hour later we headed back towards Lamphun for our first experience of a Home Stay village at Huay Sai Kaw.


We were greeted by smiling, traditionally dressed women, who offered us garlands of jasmine and served herbal teas for detox, back pain and energy.  The tea was delicious and we’re sure if we drank more of it we would experience the promised results.

The daughter of the Village Chief gave a presentation explaining that at one time this area was covered in lush teak forests, however, excessive logging resulted in deforestation, erosion and landslides.  Several years ago a Restoration Project was developed and the land began to recover. Dams were built to conserve water and prevent flooding and 5 years ago the Village was awarded the Green Global Trophy from the Princess of Thailand.


The village added a Home Stay program to encourage tourism and currently has nine homes available for visitors to stay and participate in village activities.  Other income is derived from agriculture, mainly rice cultivation.


The houses are built on stilts and have high ceilings to allow the cooling breezes to circulate.  The accommodation is modest but clean and comfortable, with western style bathrooms.  This is the perfect way to experience the friendliness of the Thai people and participate in their daily life in the countryside.

Vivo Bene Village

All too soon we left our smiling hosts and set off towards Chiang Mai to visit a Swiss owned and managed Wellness Resort.  Named Vivo Bene Village, the complex is a combination of luxury resort, retirement residence and professionally managed wellness center.

The Village offers special facilities for anyone recovering from surgery, illness or simply seeking a quiet retreat.   Qualified health professionals provide care for clients with special needs such as Alzheimer’s and hospice.

It seems that nothing has been overlooked.  Set in beautiful grounds, the residential Pavilions and Villas are tastefully decorated, each with a small kitchen for those who prefer to eat ‘at home’ rather than in the “Rossli” restaurant that serves western and Asian food, using organic vegetables grown on the property.


Weekly massage, laundry, meditation classes, a fitness center and a daily shuttle bus service to Chiang Mai (11 miles; 18 km) are included in the price. The terrace and pool area invite one to sit a while, enjoy the view, and sip on a glass of wine … or something stronger, if you prefer!

At the end of our visit, everyone agreed that this Resort is exactly what we have in mind for our final years.  Maybe we’ll have a reunion there!


Orchid Farm

The Mae Rim Orchid Farm was a relaxing stop on this busy day.  The buffet lunch was delicious and, if you enjoy orchids, you will certainly appreciate the variety of shapes, sizes and colors that you see as you stroll through the grounds.

YouTube Car Video


For the men who are not into flowers there is a collection of cars to see and photograph. And the ladies will not have any trouble spending money in the Gift Shop!

Pai via Huay Nam Dung National Park

As we mentioned in our previous Blog, in order to reach Pai one has to pass over mountainous terrain on a road that consists of 792 curves!  We were warned to take motion sickness medication if necessary but, frankly, we didn’t have a problem.  Our driver was excellent and we traveled at a steady pace – unlike public transportation on this route!

The twists and turns offered spectacular scenery and, at the scenic outlook at the Huay Nam Dung National Park the view was unbelievable!  It was as if we could see forever, with a stunning landscape continuing as far as the eye could see!

A sign in the Ladies Restroom attested to the fact that the drive can be difficult for those who suffer from motion sickness!


Our drive continued to Pai where we checked into our hotel, Pai Doo See Resort.  Time for a quick change and off to dinner in town then a walk through the Night Market which is somewhat low-key compared with other markets in Thailand.  We saw some excellent, authentic and less mass-produced items for sale and enjoyed people-watching along the way.


Tired after a long day, we didn’t have the energy to explore Pai’s nightlife but we understand it’s a vibrant scene, particularly suited to the young, backpacking, partying crowd!  We’ll have to come back to see if we fit into this scene!

We’ll also come back to spend time just hanging out in this beautiful setting,  venturing out into the surrounding countryside and exploring the best of downtown Pai.

For now, it’s on to Mae Hong Son, our final destination on the tour!

Link to Photo Album: