Moonshine + Pai Sight-Seeing + Hot Springs = One Great Birthday!

Chiang Pai, Thailand
Feeling good about today!

Sometimes it’s tough to know what to do on your birthday. But while Peter and I drank all of his moonshine whisky the night before, he gave me some directions on how to get more.

“At the top of the hill you’ll see the place. Just walk past the shop and into the back. They won’t speak English, but make sure to bring an empty bottle for your whisky and tell them Anne sent you..” with those vague instructions I knew I had a mission for my 32nd Birthday.

The morning of the 10th was a beautiful day. Clear blue sky and standard 35 degree weather awaited us on our day of exploration. We headed into town to eat a big breakfast and rent a couple of retro style Yamaha scooters to boot around and explore on.

Chiang Pai, Thailand
Another disappointing waterfall

We headed out after breakfast to first checkout the waterfalls in the area. To be honest, they were more of a trickle especially compared to Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi, but the ride up there was worth it. You have to go through a small hill tribe and the whole way up and back the locals are yelling out “opium? marijuana? opium?” trying to sling their wares. Today my vice was moonshine, so we drove past them smiling.

Chiang Pai, Thailand
Let’s go! It’s time to find some moonshine!

Rolling up the road I figured this was the right track. With vague directions you can’t be sure and our hand drawn map wasn’t very accurate. Which hill is the right hill? Reaching the top of a hill I figured it was the right one… but there were two driveways.

We parked our bikes and looked around at the two options. One was a long dusty road that led to a house that was out by itself or a sketchy looking restaurant paired with a new looking house. Which one could be selling the moonshine? We decided to walk down the dirt path towards the old house. It kind of felt like a horror movie with someone ready to hop out of the building to skin us. The house was old and poorly put together. Nobody was home, and yelling “SAWADEE” didn’t turn up anyone, so this obviously wasn’t where the moonshine whisky was being made. We walked back up the dirt path towards the other house.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do at this point. We’re in Thailand trying to purchase illegal moonshine whisky. Doesn’t sound too safe but hey, what the hell eh? So I started walking down the other driveway, past the barking dog that wanted to rip my throat out and came up to a garage door. There was a guy standing around there who I said “Sawadee” (hello) to.

It was kind of awkward. He obviously didn’t speak english. My Thai is pretty bad. But somehow I managed to get across to him that I wanted to fill up my empty bottle with moonshine. I’m standing there saying “Anne, Darling sent me, said you could hook me up with some whisky”. Blank stare and I repeat it, this time slower. And all the sudden he gets it. The spark in his eye. “WHISKY!” he yells back at me.


Smiling, he grabs my arm and leads me into his garage. Unlocking three padlocks and stepping into the main garage, he brings me into a back room. And there it is. The clear liquid gold, sitting in two dozen black garbage cans. Rice Whisky. Moonshine! He grabbed a scoop and poured me a taster shot which I downed right away, and damn it was smooth. He filled up my empty water bottle and Dee came in feeling a bit scared of the dog outside. Luckily she had another empty bottle we could fill and was offered a sampler as well.

I gave the man 50 baht – about a $1.75 – for the two 1L bottles of moonshine, and feeling pretty happy, Dee and I walked out and up the driveway to our scooters. This was our first moonshine experience! Holy shit! It was pretty awesome that I got to buy moonshine whisky on my birthday, from a random Thai guy.

Chiang Pai, Thailand
Yet another giraffe sighting in Thailand!

Anyways, we hopped back onto our bikes and headed out for our other adventures with the whisky loot under our seats. Riding the scooters was a great way to spend the day. In fact, scooters in general are a pretty awesome way to see the countryside. We managed to see some giraffe’s on the side of the road, went to two waterfalls, had coffee in a famous coffee bar that was in some movie, checked out a memorial bridge, saw a huge red canyon, then relaxed in the hot springs.

Chiang Pai, Thailand
Pai Hot Springs

The hot springs in Pai are pretty chill. They’re not huge swimming pools like back in Canada, but more-so streams that you can sit in. Apparently you can boil an egg in the hotsprings and it will turn out different in texture and taste then a normal boiled egg. We saw many locals with bags of eggs with them. We hiked up through the beautiful forest past and chose one of the many small pools to sit in. We really felt one with nature as we sat on rocks and dirt rather then a tile pool like back home. We chilled for a while enjoying the calmness of the night and the hotsprings themselves. The hot springs “officially” closed, but no one comes to kick you out. Instead it just gets extremely dark as there is no lights. However, smart locals brought candles and stuck them to the rocks, creating a beautiful atmosphere. If we were to do it again we would arrive just before closing with candles and possibly an ipod with a portable speaker. It’s quite easy to find yourself a private little area.

All in all, I still can’t believe that I was able to buy some moonshine, and on my birthday to boot! It tasted good and later that night Peter and I finished off one of the bottles. It was super strong and while I couldn’t see much later that night I did have my vision in the morning. The night ended with me passing out, liquored on rice whisky like nothing else.

Isn’t that how all birthdays are supposed to end?

Chiang Pai, Thailand
Feeling tipsy?

PS: Please note that Scott’s Birthday was in the past on March 10th and also, no drinking and driving was done on this day. Aside from the one sample shot in the garage no whiskey was consumed until we were safely back at our bungalow. Don’t drink and drive kids!!

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