There’s something magical about this small town sitting peacefully between the mountains of northern Thailand. The happy people, the yoga classes and the vast amounts of delicious wholesome food make this the perfect place to detox, relax and let all of your worries and troubles melt away. Generally people book 2/3 days here and soon realise that they need a week or more.
So keep reading to learn more about how to spend your time in Pai.
How To Get There:
From Chiang Mai you can easily get a mini van to Pai. Be prepared to buy the tickets in advance as they can sell out quite quickly. It takes three hours and costs around 160baht.
Just make sure you pick up some Dramamine tablets (travel sick pills) before the journey.. The road twists and turns and the drivers slow down for nobody.
There is no better way to explore Pai than by scooter.
They are so cheap to hire, either from the town (the most popular one being right next to the bus stop) or from your accommodation if this works out better for you.
Some of my fondest memories include zooming around the lush green country side of Pai. You’ll also find that most of Pai’s attractions are a little out of town, so you’ll love the freedom of having a scooter.
Things To See And Do:
Kong laenkong laen (more commonly known as Pai Canyon) is located in the Mae Hong Son province, 7km away from the town of Pai.
The canyon is open to visitors all year round. The most popular time to visit for photographers is early on a winters morning when the mist is settling in the mountains.
Remember to bring trainers or hiking boots, a hat and sun cream. The trails are thin with cliff face other side and you’ll struggle to find a patch of shade.
Bring plenty of water because once you start walking, you won’t want to stop.
WARNING: Pai views are addictive.
Owned by a local farmer and his family, the land split was created by an earthquake in 2008.
When you arrive you’ll be greeted by the the most kind, generous and friendly people who instantly make you feel at home.
They show you to a nice shaded area where they offer you fresh roselle juice, sweet potato, banana chips, tamarind and nuts.
The land split itself is beautiful. It’s tranquil and the lush green leaves mixed with the sound of bird song make this place paradise. Take the stairs down inside the cracked earth and wander through an active fault line (pretty cool I think). Don’t forget to leave a healthy donation on your way out so that they can continue to show travellers the local food and keep the land maintained.
Be prepared for a bit of a bumpy ride if your planning on visiting by scooter. Pam Bok is quiet and with just a few steps and a bridge to get to the falls, it’s perfect for a few peaceful hours.
If your looking for a popular place to meet other travellers and enjoy cool, refreshing water, this is the place to be. Here you can slide down the the smooth rocks into the pools below. Just be sure to choose the correct rocks to slide down because out of the three tiers of falls, only one is safe.
If your feeling a little more adventurous this this one is for you. You’ll arrive at the waterfall after a 7kn hike through the jungle, so remember your water, insect repellent, good walking shoes and sun cream. Follow the stream to the waterfall.
Wow. Don’t miss this place. It’s very easy to find by scooter especially if your using Maps.me (free app where you can download maps to use offline).
This bridge was built by the locals and is 800m long. The people here are very friendly and welcome you to leave an optional donation at the end. It’s totally worth the journey.
Pai Memorial Bridge
So if you don’t have a lot of time in Pai then this (in my opinion) could be skippable (unless you love history then please don’t skip).
During World War II, the Japanese army wanted to have a route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son to attack Burma which was a colony of the United Kingdom at that time. To establish the route, the bridge was built over the Pai River (Tha-Pai river near Tha Pai village) in 1941 using elephants to drag trees from the jungle and forcing villagers to work. After the war, Japanese soldiers left and burnt down the bridge. However, the villagers were in trouble because the bridge was very important for their daily life, and rebuilt the wooden bridge over the Pai river.
Pai Walking Street
The food here is INCREDIBLE.
The market is located on Chaisongkran Road and Rungsiyanon Road from around 6pm until 10.30pm each night. You will find many more stalls during the peak tourist season between November and February!
The food here is unreal and you can also find beautiful hand made clothes, souvenirs and jewellery.
Wat Phra That Mae Yen
Also known as The White Buddha, this temple sits on top of a majestic hill with beautiful views of the valley below. By foot take 353 steps to the top or by moped/scooter take the 400m sealed road.
I Love U Pai Cafe
If your into sitting on an egg chair, hanging from the ceiling, and looking at the stunning Pai landscape then this place is for you. The coconut shakes are amazing and the atmosphere is peaceful. I remember saying to Jake “I feel so calm right now, like all is good with the world” … That’s the kind of place this is.
I don’t even want to think about this place right now because I would love to be back there drinking tea, eating waffles and smoothie bowls. The sad thing is, I know waffles will never be the same. No waffles will ever be as good as these waffles.
This place is a little out of town, but thankfully we were staying in a little hut right by Earth Tone. Even if you have to walk, cycle or crawl here, it’s so damn worth it.
I hope you enjoyed reading all about Pai, if you’re in Northern Thailand you must make the trip because I know you’ll love it as much as I did.
⁃ The Lost Girl