📍 Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
- 38°C Real Feel temperature
- Intermittent internet
- Calvin Harris blasting in the background
- Instant coffee
- Three employees sanding down wooden tables off to the right
📍 Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
This is an Airtel 4G hotspot1. It takes cell service and turns it into WiFi.
This particular device is only compatible with the Airtel network in India. But everyone in Laos uses it to connect their phones to the internet.
We bought one from a street electronics vendor in Luang Prabang. They buy them in bulk from the manufacturer in China, and then open them up and change a firmware setting in the software to unlock them. That way, any GSM SIM card will work.
Elizabeth got two vendors into a bidding war. She got them shouting back and forth lower and lower prices. Our first quote was 440,000kip. We ended up paying 280,000kip (~$30).
After buying it, we opened the case, dug behind the battery, and put in a Unitel SIM card. 10,000kip bought us 5 GB of data for 2 days.
In Thailand, we opened it up again and put in a True Move SIM card. 600 baht for 30 days of unlimited internet at 6 gbps.
Traveling and working has been really tough, but would have been impossible without this device.
Every traveler that comes to Pai ends up extending their visit. People come here and decide they never want to leave.
An Australian we met back in Laos decided she was going to move to Pai for 6 months starting in 2019.
It’s easy to see why.
It’s surrounded by jungle-covered mountains. There are waterfalls and swimming holes. The locals are relaxed and friendly. Nobody honks or shouts.
The food is fresh. There are vegan restaurants on every corner. The Pad Thai and the Kao Soi are incredible.
We intended to come for 3 nights. We stayed for 5.
Goodbye, Phai-Mae Hong Son.
Renting a motorbike has been an amazing way to see the country and travel with different groups of people.
For $17, we’ve had a motorbike for three days (including gas!).
We’ve overcome our fear following the stitches.
We biked over to the White Buddha temple overlooking Pai with three Dutch travelers we met at our hostel. The two guys are on a 3 week holiday. The girl met up with them in Bangkok and is traveling for 6 months.
We’ve gone to the bamboo walking bridge, the Pam Bok Waterfall, the Mo Paeng Waterfall, and Pai Canyon. As you pull up, there’s always a collection of bikes. Odds are you’ve seen the other tourists in town or at a different site. It’s fun seeing people you met at a bar the night before.
This morning, we woke up at 5:30am to bike up to the Chinese Viewpoint to try to catch the sunrise. We met a handful of other Americans and Brits we’ve been hanging out with. It was foggy.
The other American said, “I’m not leaving Pai until I get up here one morning and it’s a clear sunrise.”
One of the most fun aspects of our trip has been meeting people from other countries around the world.
Last night, Elizabeth went out with a group of friends she’d made. Some Dutch, some Brits, some Canadians. Some people from Brazil and Italy.
This morning, we went to breakfast with two of the friends she made last night. It was fun hearing their perspective on the night of the Trump election, the Kavanaugh proceedings, and their travels.
Last night at dinner, we sat across the table from three earthy musicians. Two from Scotland and one from Israel. One of the Scots and the Israeli had just hitchhiked through China, playing music along the way. The woman from Scotland said she was a precocious 5-year-old piano player. Then she fell in love with metal and never looked back.
As we motorbike around to Pai Canyon, and the Chinese Lookout, and the various waterfalls, it’s fun running into people we know, and chatting with them as we all slide down the falls.
I have never done an extended trip at hostels like this before. I’ve found it very rewarding.
“It’s all in the angle,” they say.