How to get to the Kung Fu Retreat.
You will need to arrive in Thailand, head for Chiang Mai, the capitol of the North, then on to the town of Pai.
I. To Thailand:
The best way arrive in Thailand is to fly to Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is much nearer to the Kung Fu Retreat but Bangkok has more flights and is usually cheaper. There is an abundance of hotels, guest houses etc in Bangkok to suit all budgets, should you need to arrange an overnight stay. There are usually a lot of good deals available at www.ebookers.com and similar budget air fare sites. Otherwise, search individual airlines and check what deals they are offering.
II. To Chiang Mai:
For flights, check www.bangkokair.com they should come in at 1000-2000 Baht each way and take about 1 hour 15 minutes. You could get an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok’s central station, Hua Lam Pong, for a little over 1000 Baht each way. Booking in advance is recommended.
Please be aware that trains in Thailand often run very late. The trains are very comfortable and afford great views of the Thai countryside. If you are on a very tight budget, you can go to Kao San Road in Bangkok and get an overnight coach for about 300 Baht or so. This is the least comfortable way to travel. We recommend the flight, especially if you have not spent much time in Thailand before.
III. To Pai:
You have a choice between flying, taking a minibus or taxi.
Flights take 25 minutes and have awesome views. To book tickets: www.kanairlines.com
Before booking, check when you arrive in Chiang Mai and leave at least one and a half hours to collect your bag and check in to the next flight. For most of the year there is only one flight a day which leaves Chiang Mai mid morning. In the high season (December / January) there may be up to 3 flights a day. The airport is very near to the Kung Fu Retreat so look out for us when you come in to land. The journey from the airport is less than 1 km and will take no more than 5 minutes in a taxi.
The minibus trip costs about 150 Baht and has awesome views. It takes about three and a half hours, most of which is spent on amazing winding roads through mountains the like of which you have probably never seen before. The views are breath taking and the journey is an adventure in its self so we recommend that you travel during daylight. The most popular minibus provider is AYA service. www.ayaservice.com Their office in Chiang Mai is close to Tesco. To get there from the airport, take a taxi with a meter. It should take 15 – 30 minutes depending on traffic and cost very little. Once you arrive, book on to the next available minibus if you have not booked already. Minibuses run between about 7.30 am and 5.00pm. If you arrive in Chiang Mai later than about 3.30pm you are likely to need to either stay overnight in Chiang Mai or get a taxi to the Kung Fu Retreat. If staying overnight, which is the cheapest option, we recommend that you still go to the AYA service office when you arrive and book on to a minibus for the next day. Then look for a guesthouse. You should be able to get a nice room near the centre of Chiang Mai with fan for 400 – 500 Baht. If in doubt try looking on tripadvisor.
Taxi. We can arrange for a taxi from Pai to come to the airport to meet you. Alternatively you could speak with drivers in the taxi rank outside the airport. Recently taxis have been charging about 3,800 Baht for the trip. This does vary and will likely be higher if late at night or in December / January. If we arrange a taxi for you we will need to pay in advance so please do not pay the driver otherwise he will think that he has just got the best tip of his life and likely take a week off! If you do want to give a tip, 100 – 250 Baht would be about right.
IV. Pai to the Kung Fu Retreat.
When you first arrive in Pai the easiest way to get to us is simply to book a taxi. The taxis are a little way up the main street from the AYA service office. Motorcycle is the cheapest taxi and should cost less than 100 Baht. For a minibus / car 200 – 250. Ask for Kung Fu or Kun Iain / Kun Pu. If in doubt, ask the driver to call 0864286739 for directions in Thai. Alternatively, hire a moped and ride to the Kung fu Retreat. It will take about 10 minutes.
Directions: Head out of town towards the airport / Mae Hong Son. On the far side of the airport turn right, parallel to the runway. We are the first turn on the left, about 400m down the road, on a sharp right hand bend. We have a prominent sign. A little way before our sign is a flashing orange sign signalling sharp bend / left hand turn.
Video showing the route from Pai to the Kung fu Retreat:
If you need help planning your journey, please