Pai travel guide

7 Places You Cannot Miss In Pai, Thailand

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A small town hidden away in the Mae Hong Son province of North Thailand, Pai offers a rare combination of adventure, nature, culture, food, and comfort, all packed in a neat little package wrapped up with a bow. This little paradise is also pet-named #Pailand and is one of our favorite towns. Surrounded by mountain ranges in all directions, this blog lists the significant spots in Pailand that you need to mark on your itinerary.

A Complete Guide to Pai

How To Reach Pai?

Traveling via Chiang Mai is the only route to reach Pai. There are no public buses or trains available either to reach this place. The only options are to fly from Chiang Mai or travel in a shared mini-van that would cost about 150 THB. Booking from the Arcade Bus Terminal, from where the mini-van to Pai departs, further reduces the price. A tour agency or bookings made online cost more. 

Alternatively, you can rent two-wheelers in Chiang Mai and drop them at Pai and vice-versa. If you are up for it, conquering the 1462 curves is a bucket list thing in Thailand.

Getting Around

Unfortunately, Pai offers no buses to cart us around the town. The only way to explore this place is on foot or rented bikes and cycles. Since some must-visit places are located quite some distance away from the town, we think it is best to rent a bike while you’re here. The tour agencies offer group tours to popular spots. However, we suggest renting a vehicle and exploring at your own pace. 

Where To Eat?

Due to its surging popularity, Pai has several restaurants popping up regularly. There are several cuisines to explore. Most restaurants on the walking street are quite pricey but are fine dining establishments. However, if you are operating on a budget, we suggest you try the Thai food available a little away. However, the walking street does become more affordable during the night. 

Where To Stay?

 

Pai offers accommodations that fit budgets of all ranges, right from hostels to luxury villas. If you choose places near the walking street, be prepared for the party’s rhythm all night long with the youngsters gathering for celebrations. And if this is not your scene, you can find much quieter places just a little further away. We stayed at Pai Forest Resort ($). Here are a few other recommendations.

7 Places To Visit In Pai

1. Pai Walking Street

Pai walking street

The Pai Walking Street is a cumulation of the entire village’s specials, which are sold in stalls. A lively place decorated with hundreds of hanging lamps, you can find everything from clothes, souvenirs, fruits, and ice creams to smoothies. Heads up, try the black sticky rice with sesame and strawberry dumplings, and reach out to us on our blog to thank us. And while you’re at it, you can also see kids playing music and dancing.

2. Tipsy Tubing

Tipsy tubing at Pai

Tipsy tubing remains one of the most well-loved activities in Pai. Yes, it is precisely what it says. You party with a live DJ while floating down the Pai River on a tube. Be sure to book the tour from a travel agency on the walking street and look for a package that includes DJ, food, and water. For obvious reasons, it is recommended not to bring your mobile phones, passports, wallets, bank cards, or any valuables. You can also get beverages (extra charges) when they stop midway.

  • Cost: 250-300 THB per person
  • Timings: 1 PM – 5:30 PM for a roundtrip from Pai

3. Pai Canyon

Pai Canyon

A narrow, flat ridge where only one person can travel at a given time in some places, the Pai Canyon is known by the name Kong Laen. Stretching in the form of tributaries that cover a whopping 7.5 acres, this place is located about 10 km away from Pai. Visitors adore it for its spectacular golden hour views. 

Kindly exercise caution when you walk along the ridge because the loose, dry sand makes it slippery. The drop goes about 100-200 m on either side. You can book group tours from the walking street. These tours start at 4.30 PM daily, are carried out in jeeps, and cost about 100 THB a person. Alternatively, the Pai Canyon can be visited on private vehicles without an entry fee. 

4. The Two Huts

The two huts, Pai

True to its name, Two Huts is a restaurant overlooking scenic views of the rice terraces and mountains. Dining here allows you to enjoy the live music and watch as the sun sinks beneath the mountaintops. The sky turns into orange, pink, and blue hues, taking your breath away. 

This spot is located about 6 km away from the main town and can accommodate at least 300 people, but the best spots are occupied by five in the evening. Like the Pai Canyon tour, the group tours start at 4:30 PM and cost 100 THB per person. You can visit the Two Huts in your vehicle, and there is no entry fee. Keep in mind that outside food and drinks are not allowed.

5. Kho Ku So Bamboo Bridge

Kho Ku So bamboo bridge, Pai

The story of the Kho Ku So Bamboo Bridge follows a Buddhist monk, Pra-Ajam Sakom Suwasane, who, together with the people of the village of Ban Pam-Bok, built a bridge that would allow monks to travel from the monastery to the village year-round. The construction of this bridge took three months and is located 11 km from Pai. The 813 m long bamboo bridge has photo frames built around it for visitors. An easy and refreshing walk, this pathway would lead you to the Buddhist temple named Wat Pa Huai Khai Khiri, located inside the forest. Since the bamboo can be easily damaged, do not jump or run on the bridge.

  • Entry fee: 30 THB
  • Wat Pa Huai Khai Khiri timings: 7 AM – 5 PM

6. Tham Nam Lod Nature Trail

Located 55 Km from Pai, Tham Nam Lod is 1666 m long and comprises 3 caves, namely Tham Sao Hin Luang, Tham Tukkata, and Tham Phi Man, situated in the same complex. The guides will lead the way with a lantern. Be warned that some of these caves might not be accessible due to recent rains and water levels. 

The Sao Hin Luang, or the Big Colum Cave, contains massive stunning columns, stalactites, and stalagmites as high as 20 m. Tham Tukkata Cave has cute, doll-like rock formations of varying sizes. Besides having beautiful stalagmites and stalactites, Tham Phi Man, also known as the Coffin Cave, also hosts the remnants of earthenware, grains, stone tools, human teeth, and even bones. 

You can find various sizes of “Men’s Coffins” or wooden troughs for feeding pets in the cave, estimated to be 2000-2500 years old. Tham Phi Man is accessible only by riding a bamboo raft on the river. You can feed the fish by buying food at the entrance (20 THB or 50 THB) and see a lot of bats flying in the caves.

  • Ticket price: 400 THB for foreign adults, 200 THB for foreign children, 30 THB for Thai adults, and 20 THB for Thai children between 3 and 14 years old. Extra charges for the guide.
  • Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM

Note: Tham translates to ‘cave’ in Thai language. 

Twin’s Tip: As per the new regulations, the ticket purchased for Tham Nam Lod Nature Trail can be used to enter other attractions and is valid only on the date of purchase – Lum Gam Waterfall, Sai Ngam Natural Mineral Spring, Nam Bor Pee Sinkhole, Pham Bok Waterfall, and Doi Jik Jong.

7. Yun Lai Viewpoint

Nestled in Pai, this gem of a spot offers a breathtaking sunrise above the clouds during the summer months. A mystical mist blankets the area in winter and the rainy season, adding an enchanting touch. Whether you’re cruising on a bike or hopping into a jeep from the parking lot, the journey to the viewpoint is a must. A roundtrip costs 300 TBH per vehicle and is easily shareable among friends.

Upon reaching the top, you’ll discover an expansive camping area and a restaurant. Make sure to make a pit stop along the way at Satichin Village, a Chinese village inhabited by the Yunnan people. This tourist haven offers free entry and boasts engaging activities to captivate every visitor’s interest.

  • Entry Fee: 20 THB per person
  • Timings: 24*7

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pai a touristy place?

Sadly, yes. Once a small remote village in Northern Thailand, it is now a thriving tourist hub bustling with visitors. The place has developed so much, littered with cafes, pizzerias, and Western restaurants. Choose your accommodation away from the main walking street to escape the tourist crowd.

When is the best time to visit Pai?

The months from November to February are the best time to visit Pai. With an elevation of about 600 m, the weather in Pai is perfect to explore during winter. April, May, and June are the hottest months, whereas it rains during July, August, and September. Pai is polluted in March as the farmers burn their crops in the field.

Other Places to visit in Pai

Kiewlom Viewpoint, Jabo Viewpoint, Lum Gam Waterfall, Sai Ngam Natural Mineral Spring, Nam Bor Pee Sinkhole, Pham Bok Waterfall, and Doi Jik Jong are a few other places you can visit if you’re staying longer.

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