Pictures & Stories: Mor Paeng Waterfall, Thailand

Mor Paeng waterfall, Thailand.

Just a few random pics of traveler life for you with a few short stories. The image above of the Mor Paeng Waterfall has a special memory. I was traveling solo in Thailand several years ago, when my buddy Ric (Ricardo), (my buddy from from this post) met me in Thailand when I was staying there as my main hub one year. He was working in Tokyo, where we met and decided to travel for a month.

Ric had no plan as it was kinda last minute. No problem, “meet me in Bangkok”, I said. Cool. Among the places we bussed, trained and motor biked to was Mae Hong Son province in Thailand. This is in the Northwest on the Myanmar border. We went off to Pai, a sleepy backpacker town full of many ethnic Shan people as well as many Karen (Ka-yin) and other hill tribes near by.

Street in Pai, Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Street in Pai.

There was still actually some rebel groups fighting the Myanmar (Burmese) government as well as Thai military involved in skirmishes on occasion. Of course the average backpacker back then was oblivious. Pai is a backpacker heaven. (See some more recent beautiful pictures by Amy Rollo!) A decade later it is still the sleepy countryside but with improved wi-fi for flash-packing digital nomads!Land of Mae Hong Son, Thailand.

So off we went motorbiking wherever and going of of the main road down dirt roads with random opium hawkers popping out from behind trees and out of the jungle! HAHAHA! Man it was funny, but people popping out of the brush like ghosts can spook you! We almost got stuck on unpaved tracks because of mud and big holes! Ric and I met random Karen girls who sent us in the direction of local “undocumented” families still on some land. Off we went!

On our way back to town we detoured and dragged our motor mike through dirt roads and mud, up hills, to a clearing in the jungle, and were rewarded with this now semi popular Mo Paeng waterfall seen in the photo above! Back then there was nothing near and people were basically told by word of mouth.

Mor Paeng Waterfall Kills my Camera!


The same HP camera I had at Mor Paeng Waterfall.
The same HP camera I had at Mor Paeng Waterfall.

Of course I went to the top of the rocks, trying to get some shots looking down to the clearing, only for my not so small 250lb self to slip an fall right in! At the time I had a brand new point and shoot camera that went in with me! As I was falling I tossed it in the air trying to hit the brush and not the water but I didn’t make it! Ric almost caught it and scooped it up within a second. But…..Damn.The Camera was done! I was all wet, and I still had at least 6-8 weeks left on the road with no camera! It powered up but acted strange.

To make matters worse, we had a flight from Bangkok in a few days to Hanoi, Vietnam. Dejected, I looked up a list of Hewlett Packard offices world wide, hoping a major city in Asia would be on the list as it was a huge worldwide corporation. I still had a full warranty on the camera and low and behold! There was a Hewlett Packard office in Bangkok!!!

I sauntered down there as soon as we made our way back on an overnight train from Chiang Mai. I had a copy of my warranty with me and the proof of purchase. (No smart phones then). I was at least hoping for a repair that I could pick up at a later date. I still considering shelling out for a pocket cam for Vietnam. I explained to the clerk that It was acting funny and moisture was the problem. Her English was OK, but she sent for a tech from the back and his English was fine. It was very super humid and rainy at the time and he was too busy for the full story, although he was nice as could be. He just took the camera to the back to check it out.

Bangkok, Thailand traffic in the evening , 2004.
Back in Krung Thep (Bangkok).

I sat around and relaxed and he came out about 45 minutes later with a brand new camera!! I was there for maybe an hour tops, and they couldn’t get it to power up to check it. They must’ve been busy or just wanted to see me smile! WOW! He even had everything filled out for me so my warranty was still intact to continue on from the new camera. One of the many times I got lucky while traveling. I was already thinking how much a new one would cost me! We caught our flight the next morning and all was well!!!! Sometimes you actually get something for some accrued good karma I guess!!!

 Ric makes friends in Thailand near Mor Paeng.
Ric making friends in Pai, Mae Hong Son.
Land of Mae Hong Son.
Land of Mae Hong Son.

That was a fun group of memories and of course there are more. Why don’t you make your own? Here are some links you may find helpful.

This a pretty good book to prep you for South East Asia’s mainland with Northern Thailand , or a pre order for just Thailand for the newest publication. These Oboz, which I never heard of before last year, were the most comfortable hiking shoes I have had yet. (Women’s version.) I am a heavy guy and my feet were happy on my 10 weeks out last year.

Thanks again for stopping by and leave a comment below! I would love to hear if you have been to the Mae Hong Son or Pai region! If you have a moment add a like to my FB page from the link in the header! See ya!


  1. Hello Thomas,
    I love your story and I am very happy your were able to get a brand new camera after the accident. I hope that you were not injured. You took some beautiful pictures. You are a great writer and you will go along way with this.


  2. Love the way you write! I was in Bangkok in 2012 and it changed a lot base on the photo of yours on 2004. And the funniest part I also traded my old camera to the new one on the market in Bangkok:) I love the energy of the city and the culture. If I have a chance to come back to this country, I will definitely include Pai as a must place to visit too!

    1. I have seen many of the changes as I too have been more recently than 2004, but it was a tale I wanted to tell! I hope you get a chance to go back!! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Wow, what a fantastic life! I love the pictures, and I wish I had an artistic bone in my body 🙂

    Are you self-taught or did you take some photography classes/lessons? The image from Pai is awesome and I would love to visit some of these places during my lifetime.

    I love that you toured the country and made some friends along the way.

    Keep up the good work and keep posting!

    1. Most pictures are lighting and composition. I am still learning. I have never taken a course but I get info online, etc. You are probably more creative than you are giving yourself credit for! You can visit some of these places. One day as you put aside money for a trip, think outside the box instead of a week at a resort. I don’t know where you live but I am sure there are some places closer than you think that are outside of your regular thought pattern. For example Belize or the Yucatan for North Americans. Or Quito, Ecuador. These places are not expensive. People spend more at Disney. South east Asia for people on the other side of the world like Australia if you wanna leave the country, or North Africa and the Mediterranean for Europeans. Also Africa has a ton of places that will surprise many. Just research! So you don’t need 20 hours of planes to get somewhere unless you want to go farther. Thanks for stopping by! See you again!

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