THAILAND | Pai Memorial Bridge, to Go or Not to Go

Friday, September 11, 2015

Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand

We were undecided if we were going to push through with our visit to the Pai Memorial Bridge. We debated, what can we really see there? It’s just a bridge after all. But with plenty of time left to spare before sundown, which we plan on spending at the Pai Canyon once again, and with nothing else on itinerary, we finally decided to give it a quick visit.

Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand
THE ARMY GREEN PAI MEMORIAL BRIDGE

The memorial bridge, which a few dub as the World War II Memorial Bridge, is located some ten kilometers from town. Coming from the Pam Bok Waterfall and the nearby Pai Land Split, it was actually much closer to where we were lodging at the time, the Pai House Of Love.

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Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand
THE BRIDGE SURFACE ARE MADE OF WOODEN PLANKS

Still using the motorbike we soft-crashed en route to Mo Paeng Waterfalls, we again zipped through the swerving roads of Pai until we arrived at the Pai River. We parked our motorbike just before the bridge where a few stalls selling tourist souvenirs were promptly in place.

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Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand
MADE IN AMERICA

As we expected, there was nothing much to see in the place. The steel truss bridge, which was moved from Chiang Mai to its present location, wasn’t even really the one that the Japanese built to cross the Pai River en route to Burma (present day Laos). That one was burnt down when they went into retreat.

Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand
THE MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON ISN’T THE BEST TIME TO WALK ALONG PAI BRIDGE

This one was actually put here by the Thai government since it was no longer being used in Chiang Mai and Pai needed a much stronger one after a flood washed off their old bridge.

Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand
THE OLD AND THE NEW BRIDGE

Like its predecessor, the Pai Memorial Bridge has also now become a thing of the past. A newer, concrete one has been built alongside, making it a relic used only to attract visiting tourists; a good ground for a selfies if I might say, as evidently seen from the flock of Koreans I saw visiting alongside.

Pai River, Thailand Pai River, Thailand
HUTS FOR RENT AND KIDS PLAYING UNDER THE PAI MEMORIAL BRIDGE

Braving the searing midday heat, we traversed the entire span of the bridge, taking in the banal view of the Pai River. Arriving at the other side, we thought of going down below the bridge. And why not, we can’t think of anything else to do.

Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand
UNDER PAI’S BRIDGES

We saw some friendly Thai kids playing along the pillars of the new bridge, too shy to have their photographs taken, and we thought of crossing the river to get back to the other side. We however quickly decided against it, even if the water seemed quite shallow, as our feet quickly sunk to its soft muddy bed on first try.

Pai River, Thailand
CATCHING FISH AT THE PAI RIVER

Instead, we contented ourselves with a stroll along the bank where we chanced upon another kid fishing along the river, throwing and hauling back his net as he walked against the flow of the water. He was totally unmindful of us and it was quite a beautiful scene on an otherwise dull afternoon.

Pai Bridge, Thailand Jack Sparrow Pai Memorial Bridge, Thailand
ELEPHANTS AND PIRATES!

But that was before the elephants came. Four of them, to be exact, came rumbling along the new bridge, each with a man riding above their necks.

And up on the old bridge once more, we chanced upon Jack Sparrow, a local celebrity of sorts in the area who dresses up as the infamous pirate. I’m not sure if he’s a tour guide or what, but he’s holding a souped-up Canon 5D Mark II on one hand and a flashgun on the other as he took photos of a group of tourists posing at the bridge.

Well, it’s not everyday that we see elephants, much less four of them, plus Jack Sparrow too. I guess venturing all the way up to Pai’s Memorial Bridge ain’t so bad after all.



Pai Memorial Bridge
Address: 1095, Mae Na Toeng, Pai District, Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Entrance Fee: None
Opening Hours: Open 24 Hours Daily
GPS Coordinates Map: 19.297490, 98.464977



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2 comments

  1. wow! i like your shots :) awesome pictures u got there :) thanks for sharing and also congratulations on your 2015 BLOGGYS nomination :)

    The Girl with the Muji Hat

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