Thailand is widely renowned for its stunning islands and beaches, as well as for its full moon parties and inexpensive drink. It is the best party location for travelers.
Pai is vibrant and full of wonderful restaurants, eccentric cafés, a bustling night market, and a plethora of nightlife options. You may get to Pai by driving around 150 km (762 twists) through the northwest-facing mountains.
In the Mae Hong Son region’s highlands, the small yet thriving town of Pai may be found. Despite the fact that it is a well-liked location for both visitors and residents, and that it may get rather crowded during the summer, the surrounding environment and its hippy culture give it a serene and pleasant attitude. Frequently, visitors who only plan to spend a few days remain for a week or longer.
Even though Pai is a well-liked vacation spot, many individuals pass up the chance to visit. Many people traveled up to the north solely for Chiang Mai. Pai competes with larger, more fascinating cities as well as some of the world’s most gorgeous islands and shores.
This location has an almost indescribable vibe. It is bordered by jungle-covered mountains, falls, hot springs, and canyons. For some people, Pai is the ideal place to unplug from the outside world and reconnect with nature, themselves, and others. Moreover, it is described as a “healing location” from several perspectives.
Things to do in Pai, Thailand
Pai is a charming, hippy town with much to do, despite its tiny size. We advise hiring a motorbike so you may travel to the stunning natural surrounds. Given the calm and spacious roads, Pai is perhaps one of the simplest places to learn to ride a scooter. Head to Walking Street (in the center), where several stores rent bikes and provide tours and activities.
Pai Canyon is renowned for its many hiking routes and its breathtaking 360-degree views of the neighboring mountain range. The first thing on your list of things to do in Pai should be the hike to the lookout for sunset.
The first viewpoint is about a 5-minute stroll up a good set of cemented steps from the parking lot. For all of you adventure seekers, there are lookouts with 30-meter (98-foot) steep drops. To avoid crowds, it is feasible to climb past the overlook along slender ridges. However, if you decide to do this, wear hiking boots.
There is no entrance fee and the Pai Canyon is open every day. Use a scooter or tuk-tuk to get there as it is only a short distance from town.
Visit the Pai Hot Springs
There are two well-known hot springs to choose while deciding what to do in Pai. The most popular and nearest hot springs to the city are Thai Pai Hot Springs. Entry is 300 baht, or around $9.
At roughly 80°C, the upper pool is the warmest. Each pool below then becomes colder. The second hot spring is perfect for you if you like the outdoors. It is clear how it came to be known as the Secret Spring or Sai Ngam Hot Springs. Nothing compares to the surroundings of these springs, which are tucked away in a lush forest paradise.
It’s simple to spend the day admiring nature at this location, which is around 15 km (9 miles) north of Pai and has crystal-clear water and temps of 34°C (93°F). You may take use of all Sai Ngam has to offer, including the restrooms, food and drink vendors, and changing rooms, for 300 baht (about $9).
Visit the Pam Bok Waterfall
Pam Bok Waterfall is hidden under several tall rocks, thus it is frequently shaded for the most of the day. The water is therefore rather cooling, but this also means that you can have the pool to yourself.
There are a few ledges you can climb to leap out of as well. Before jumping into the water, make careful to measure its depth! Kids, put safety first.
Swim at Mo Paeng Waterfall
The Mo Paeng waterfall is just 20 minute drive from Pai’s city center. It has a natural water slide and is surrounded by several other smaller waterfalls and swimming holes, making it the ideal waterfall experience. Large grassy spaces and wooden gazebos are also present, making it the ideal location for a full day of relaxation.
From 8:30 morning to 5:00 afternoon, it is open. Naturally, we advise going early if you want to relish the falls with fewer visitors.
Have breakfast at Ban Cha Bo Hill
For a breakfast with a beautiful perspective, visit Ban Cha Hill if you are traveling from Mae Hong Son City to Pai or conversely. Enjoy the café or restaurant while dangling your feet above the mountains, or take in the amazing perspective overlooking the highlands. It is an excellent location for photographs.
On that topic, if you prefer taking photos, go early because the mountains may be shrouded in a sea of fog. Opening hours for the café and restaurant are 7:30 morning to 4 afternoons. Given the spectacular view, the meals and coffee are fairly priced.
Wander Pai’s Walking Street Night Market
Every evening, street food vendors and market booths offer anything from classic hippie apparel and jewelry to customized postcards line Pai’s main street. But even if you don’t enjoy shopping, you should spend nearly every evening exploring Pai’s Walking Street, especially if you’re hungry. Sushi, Indian food, grilled meats, fresh fruit smoothies, and deep-fried items are all available as street food. You will surely not go hungry!
The night market is where everyone goes on most evenings, making for fantastic people-watching. Just be cautious of inexperienced scooter riders who don’t know how to drive. Engrossing yet perilous!
One of the prominent attractions in Pai is Wat Phra That Mae Yen, popularly referred to as the White Buddha. The White Buddha, perched high on the hill and visible from most parts of town, isn’t only a religious site; it also provides some of Pai’s greatest vistas.
When you are approximately 2 kilometers outside of town and have crossed the bridge heading out, keep going straight until you get to the trail leading to the summit. The White Buddha is reached after climbing 353 steps, and although it might get exhausting, the views are always worth it.
Plan your journey so that you get at the summit just as the sun is setting, and you’ll fall in love with how the entire valley changes color before your very eyes.
Take water with you, and even if it be scorching outside, remember that you still need to honor Buddha by dressing modestly.
Go Tubing Down the Pai River
The finest Pai activity is tubing on the Pai River. You’re in for a tremendous treat if you’ve never gone tubing. In essence, all you need are your bathing suits, one sizable inflatable tube, and a sense of adventure. With a group of companions, you travel upstream and plunge into the water. The river will then take you back to town as you relax. The whole process should take one hour.
Especially on a hot day, this is unquestionably among the top things to do in Pai, Thailand. For less than $10, including transportation to and from the river, you may rent a tube from one of the local tour operators.
Check Out the Tham Lod Caves
The magnificent limestone system known as Lod (Spirit) Caves is situated 35 kilometers away from Pai, in a town called Mae Hong Son. The caverns are connected by a river, and you may hire a guide to help you navigate them on a bamboo raft.
You may examine the stalactites and stalagmites up close as well as the countless old pottery and wall murals that are dispersed throughout the complex at various locations by ascending steps and ladders. It is well worth the trip there.
Pai Circus School
Everyone appears to engage in various types of entertainment, such as fire dancing, juggling, and slacklining, in a bohemian neighborhood. You may go to a school in Pai to master all of these abilities for yourself!
After paying a one-time membership fee of 600 Baht, you are free to participate in courses taught by skilled instructors in everything from poi to staff to juggling to diablo, as well as anything else you might find interesting.
If you don’t feel like participating in the activities, there are nice gazebos where you can unwind with views of the surrounding valleys. It is situated in a lovely hilltop environment. The site’s amenities have undergone extensive renovation throughout the years, and they are now considerably nicer than they were. There is lodging available at the Circus School, and guests may take advantage of all the courses by staying there.
How to get to Pai
It’s crucial to consider transportation options while organizing your Thailand itinerary. Pai is a fantastic destination to visit, but getting there can be a bit difficult.
The most practical routes to reach Pai from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai are examined here to make your travel simpler.
Bangkok (and Chiang Mai) to Pai
There are several ways to go from Bangkok to Pai. This gives us the following choices:
- Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for between $16 and $43, then take a minivan or private vehicle to Pai for $6 or $110, respectively.
- For $7 to $57, take a train to Chiang Mai. Depending on the cabin class you select, prices change. Then, take private transport ($110) or a minivan ($6).
- From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, take the bus (around $17), then get in a minivan ($6) or private transport ($110).
Note: The route from Chiang Mai to Pai has 762 turns, so if you get car sick, we suggest carrying some motion sickness medication just in case.
Chiang Rai to Pai
Private vehicle or minibus transportation is the quickest method to go to Pai from Chiang Rai. If you are going with a group of six or more individuals, a minibus is the best option.
Overall, Pai offers a wide variety of activities, including hot springs, wonderful food markets, waterfalls, and sunset sites. If you’re traveling to Thailand, it ought to be on your list.