Enticed by a florid description of Soppong, our initial plans involved us stopping over at Soppong for the night, before making our way to Mae Hong Son the next day or the day after.
Unfortunately, as the public bus pulled to a stop at Soppong, doubt started to creep into our minds. Checking in at the dark and insect-ridden (well, not the room itself) Lemonhill Guesthouse, our hearts, along with our spirits just took a rapid dip.
After a ten minute walk which saw us cover the whole town of Soppong (yes, that’s how small it is), back in our rooms, we decided that forfeiting the money for the room is much better than staying in Soppong any longer. That was when it was major brainstorming time for both of us– ideas thrown out included leaving Thailand totally, or changing our route to cover other parts of Thialand. In any case, we boarded the last bus from Soppong to Pai, so that we might have access to the internet that we might be able to evaluate our options better.
The bus journey back to Pai was a little more pleasant than the journey from Chiang Mai to Soppong, as it was less crowded, and occupying the backseats, we had a whole lot more legroom. Although the blaring Thai music of the driver’s personal stereo was a little overbearing at times, our journey was filled with rapture of the scenic landscape which the bus was contouring and also with horrid fascination at our weird bus conductor’s antics, which included swinging out of the bus hanging on precariously merely with one hand on the door handle, and also climbing atop the bus which was doing sharp bends around the mountain at 50km/h. There must be some border tensions with Myanmar, as mid journey, some armed soldiers boarded the bus for a check.
Returning back to Pai, and after settling our accomodation (choices ranged froma 500 Baht air-con room to a 150 Baht room which looked like a cell in jail) we hunted down an internet provider to weigh our options. Eventually we decided to stay in Thailand, and somehow figure out what to do with our extra time.
Buddhist festinval in Soppong
Church at Soppong
Crammed local bus