Day-tripping at Pai Canyon

Several kilometres outside of Pai town a series ochre coloured, knife edge sandstone ridges rise from the earth, dropping to deep gullies on either side. This is Pai Canyon, and while the Grand Canyon it is not, it’s still an interesting place to spend an hour or two.

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We walk up a series of concrete steps to a viewpoint and the canyon spreads out in front of us. It’s 10am in the cool season and already the sun is hot on our skin. This shadeless place is not one to visit at midday. Scrubby pine trees dot the landscape as tourists tread the vertiginous paths, risking life and limb with selfie sticks extended looking for that perfect Instagram shot.

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Rather him than me!

The paths are narrow and sandy, it would be easy to slip in a careless moment. If you plan on walking the ridges, this is not a place for flip-flops. We venture along one ridge but go no further. Our children are cautious and Chloe has a  fear of heights, so while Alex and I would be keen to traverse further, it isn’t on the cards that day.

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We choose a wider, gently sloping path and walk down it a few hundred meters but go no further. The kids are hot, Chloe keeps complaining of rocks in her shoes and we’re all getting a bit hungry. There are times when travelling with children limits your experiences and this is one of them. Clambering up and down, and along the canyon would have been fun but it’s just not safe for our children and they are most definitely not in the mood. It can be frustrating to feel like you’re missing out on experiences, and while this isn’t the first time we’ve felt it on our trip, we also know it won’t be the last. Such is life, all you can do is accept it and enjoy what you can.

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