This was the first town of our whole trip we traveled to with motor bikes, and I must say it went incredibly more smooth than a mini van with all the turns. We are able to stop when we pleased, go as fast or slow as we wanted and when we got to our destination in Soppang (about 40 km from Pai) we were able to explore as we pleased. It also had a view point stop about half way with amazing views and a couple cute little stands to get a snack. The only thing was that we needed to watch out for was rain, because then the turn out of traveling on motor bikes would have became a lot more difficult.
We had heard of this place called Cave Lodge from a couple friends back in the states that had a really good time and it also got 5 stars on Trip Advisor for best lodging in the area…dont be fooled though, this place is NOT a hotel, it is a tree house. It actually was super cool, very down to earth, natural, & rustic. Everyone we met there was from all over, and it was cool how everyone got to know each other, because we all went on guided tours together.
Cave Lodge was a place unlike any other we stayed, from the lodging itself, to the environment, food, people, things to do… It all was just so different. The lodging was only 950 bahts, for 2 nights and 4 people…so about $7.50 a person or $30 a night, and thats exactly what you got. The beds were pads on a built in wooden platform, side by side, with mickey mouse sheets, Cold shower, and no toilet paper, super basic. The village didnt have much and we only ate our hotel because we didnt see anywhere else. All the food was basic but very good and made in a regular kitchen by the people that own the place and about 4 or 5 locals that lived in the village. Food is pretty accessible at all hours of the day except no food after 8 pm because the locals want to go home to their families. The wifi is good, but only in the “lobby” and its in such a secluded area that everyone hangs out with each other. Many of the other people staying there were traveling all over… we met a couple from germany, 2 people from london, 1 person from canada, and some others….we all exchanged traveling tips, suggestions on where to stay, did tours together and just passed time and learned about each other.
There were 3 activities we fit into our 2 days there, although they offered a ton. The first night we walked to the main cave of the area, which is also the biggest cave discovered in Thailand, around 5:30-6 pm and watched how all these birds call swifts fly into the cave and all the bats fly out. Now this may sound super boring, but it was incredible how hundreds of birds just flew super fast into the cave and circled around out side. It smelled awful from all the bat poop and is only cool for about 15 minutes but just interesting how the animals make there transition from day to night.
The next day we got up at 10am to go on a kayaking trip, which is something I will NEVER forget. A little background on my white water rafting experience…ive been rafting for about 14 years of my life, I know how to kayak, ducky, canoe, you name it. My mom was a guide when she first moved to Colorado, and we went almost every weekend possible over the summer when I was growing up, although I did not enjoy it (mainly because of the bugs) I was forced to go and obviously learned over the years. So basically when they told me that beginners did fine on this river, I thought to myself this will be an easy float with a couple small rapids, no big deal……NOOOOO, you get down this river by luck. First of all, the water is about a foot deep, which results in a ton of rocks you have to dodge, lots of things called strainers, which are trees sticking out of the water that could pop your boat, our guide spoke basically zero language, didnt wait for us and just threw us over 2 DAMS (the first was about 10 feet, the second was about 20 feet high) with no warning. It probably was the most fun I have ever had rafting and a great experience but my goodness, I dont know if I would go again.
Now all this “rafting” came after the cave part.It was the same cave we went to the night before and watched the bats, so it smelled bad, but it also was the first time I went kayaking in pitch black darkness other than the small head lamp I was wearing and following the voice that was in a different language that I didnt understand. Thankfully there wasnt any big rapids and only lasted about 10-15 minutes. We then pulled off to the side a little before the end of the cave and went to “explore” I guess you could say. We climbed around, and checked out all the cool stalagmites, but this part of the tour I was NOT a fan of considering the spiders the size of my hand were crawling in the darkness all around me. It was just creepy.
The last thing we did the morning we left was a 5am sunrise watch. We didnt get much color, but all the clouds covering the mountains was of course beautiful. A must see for sure, Cave Lodge was….interesting.