At dusk the main street of Pai, North Thailand, comes to life in a menagerie of buskers and vendors, tourists and hawkers. Sizzling aromas share the air with the sound of laughter and banter in two dozen languages. The colours are so vivid, what else can the photographer do but shoot black&white?
A great dane would be a fitting side show if he wasn’t so central to the nightlife of Pai, north Thailand. The dog, seen here with his white-haired owner, put in a command performance in the cause of receiving doggie treats. After wooing the crowds, the big fella trotted off none the wiser that he had become the local celebrity.
From peasants tilling fields at the close of day to ribbed hillsides breathing out vapour at the break of day, the countryside of northwestern Thailand is serene in its majesty. After decades of widespread hunting the forests may have fallen eerily silent, but no man armed with bow or rifle can bring down the tropical sun. Where birds once cawed and monkeys once howled, it is the dawn the makes all the noise nowadays.
Please click on image to enlarge. Trust me, it’ll be worth your while.
There’s a village about as far northwest as you can go in Thailand before you hit the fortified frontier with Myanmar. Its name is Ban Rak Thai, which translates as “Thai-Loving People”. There’s a story in how it came to be. That village with its signs written in Mandarin and its slopes lined with oolong tea shrubs was founded by Kuomintang soldiers, themselves escaping Mao’s Communists across the hills from Yunnan Province in 1949. While the mainstay of Chinese nationalists fighting under warlord Chiang Kai Shek fled to Taiwan, this faction of history’s losers found sanctuary in Thailand where they brought a little taste of home with them.
Three mountainous hours northwest of Chiang Mai, around 762 hairpin bends that Thai the rider’s stomach in whorls of knots, lies the little town of Pai, where old hippies go to die and young hippies come to live amid the colours and the food stalls.