The serpentine road seems to extend forever through the mountains. Up and down, inching its way towards Pai curve after curve, like a stubborn snake. In the valleys, the air gets surprisingly cold. I regret not putting the hoodie on at the last stop. But there is no time to feel sorry for my frozen ass; another 180-degree curve is fast approaching, demanding my full attention. Clutch, gear down, lean into the curve, give gas, gear up. Rinse, repeat. At some point, it gets almost hypnotic in its repetitiveness. It starts to feel like I’m driving in a dream, stunning mountain landscapes passing by in my peripheral vision.
What keeps snapping me out of this daydream are the 3-ton death machines whooshing by in the opposite lane. Life is never as fragile as when you feel the drag from oncoming traffic on a narrow mountain road while trying to operate a speed machine that at times seems to want to live its own life; to break free from its master and do as it pleases. Gear down, lean in, give gas, gear up. We’re good, the road stretches out empty in front of us again. We live to see another curve. Another mountain landscape. The sun makes a guest appearance and lends me some of its warmth.
"We live to see another curve. Another mountain landscape."
As the road signs start suggesting we’re approaching the city of Pai, relief washes over me. We’ve made it over the mountains and the road flattens, straightens itself out in front of us. A warm meal hopefully awaits this weary traveler. And a soft bed. Before we do it all again tomorrow. Gear down, lean in…
Okay, enough of the essay experiment. I confess I might have read too much Murakami during the trip. Moving on to the meat of the article (excuse the expression):
Vegan options explored:
I stayed at Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort - A Vegan Retreat. While they did not have the breakfast buffet available, vegan breakfast options were available for order. The hotel was nearly empty, but the Victorian-style buildings are beautiful:
I went for brunch at Asa Vegan Kitchen and Studio. Pancakes were very filling. Almost too dense, to be honest:
They have chickpea-based eggs on sandwich:
And healthy lunch bowls:
For dinner, Goodsouls Kitchen is a good option. Bangkokians will already be familiar with it, since the opening of the Bangkok branch in 2020. But the Goodsouls story started in Chiang Mai back in 2017. The menu is impressive, and there should be something for everyone. I had Quinoa steaks:
And good deserts:
There are also lots of vegan products in their shop:
I stayed only one night in Pai. Breakfast at Bom Bowls. Value for money in this place is crazy good compared to a similar meal Bangkok (I reckon this is true for Pai in general).
And some company that looks like me before I get my first coffee of the day:
I had dinner at Witching Well, which is not a vegan restaurant, but their Pasta Pomodoro was good.
Over and out!