Experience Pai

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    Additional things to do in Pai

    For a small mountain town, there is a range of things to do in Pai and in the greater Pai district for nature lovers and culture enthusiasts to enjoy:

    Pai Canyon

    A visit to Pai canyon is a must at sunset, offering a tranquil end to a day exploring the town followed by a dip in the nearby Pai Hot Springs. People flock to the canyon towards the end of the day so it may be quite busy.

    Wat Phra That Mae Yen

    Just two kilometres from Pai is Wat Phra That Mae Yen temple or also known as the White Buddha set on top of a hill where you will capture fantastic panoramic views of the lush green countryside of Pai. The pure white deity is a spectacular sight and one of the most visited sites in Pai. To reach this majestic temple, you must be prepared to climb up over 300 steps but the effort is well worth it.

    Pai Memorial Bridge

    Located 9 kilometres from Pai township is the Pai Memorial Bridge. It is a World War II remnant similar to the structure of the famous bridge over the River Kwai further south in the Kanchanaburi province. The Japanese army forced local villagers to build the bridge over the Pai river as a strategic entry point to cross over into Burma for the purpose of invasion.

    Santichon Village

    Santichon Chinese Village is a Chinese village replica village similar to those you would find in Yunnan province in China. The Chinese village is located 5 km north-west of Pai. It’s a quaint little spot to visit the traditional clay houses, try some Yunnan cuisine and buy local souvenirs. 

    Muang Paeng Hot Springs

    Located almost 30 km out of Pai is the Muang Paeng Hot Springs. The spring is a central stream flowing in nature and sits around a steamy 95 degrees celsius, which visitors mainly use to boil eggs in for a fun activity. There are pools around that have been cooled down for people to use.

    Sai Ngam Hot Springs

    About 25 minutes drive outside of Pai town is the popular Sai Ngam Hot Springs. Located within a national park, the natural pools boast 3-tiers of cascading hot springs, the top one being the hottest at 34-degrees Celsius. The water is exceptionally clear and very therapeutic, packed full of natural minerals. You will need to pay an entrance fee to the national park first then a separate fee to access the springs.

    Pam Bok Waterfall

    The majestic Pam bok Waterfall is surrounded by a canyon of high cliffs with a freshwater rock pool at the base of the falls. It’s best to go during the wet season when the waterfall will be full and flowing making swimming in its clear fresh waters a must-do!

    Mo Paeng Waterfall

    Around 9km west of Pai town you will find the Mo Paeng Waterfall. It is a fall with a collection of rock pools and even has its own natural water slide which is a very popular attraction for visitors. The surrounding forest is green and full of foliage which provides a lovely backdrop to this natural waterfall.

    Mae Yen Waterfall

    The Mae Yen waterfall can be found in the deep jungle of Pai, crossing over the Pai River. The hike to reach the falls is challenging and long, taking up to 6 hours. The reward for your efforts will be swimming in a natural rock pool filled with cool fresh mineral water from the cascading tiers above.

    Bamboo Bridge

    The Bamboo Bridge or Boon  Ko Ku So is located 11 km south-west of Pai towards the Pai Land Split. This an 800-metre bamboo bridge that snakes through lush green ricefields. The best time to visit is from July to November during the wet season when the plantations will be green thick and long, which is the peak season for growing rice paddies and the most picturesque. If you visit in other times of the year, the fields will have been harvested leaving only browny yellow hay residue.

    Coffee In Love

    The Coffee in Love cafe featured in two popular Asian, films- the Thai “Pai in Love” movie and later the Chinese film”Lost in Thailand” placing both this coffee shop and Pai on the map as a must-do tourist destination. Coffee in Love overlooks the valley and surrounding mountains with a spectacular panoramic vista where patrons can enjoy a hot brew on the alfresco terrace.

    Tham Lod Cave

    Tham Lod Cave is considered to be one of the most spectacular natural wonders to visit when in the region dating back to the Stone Age. It is an ancient natural limestone cave system, measuring 1.666 metres in length with a central freshwater stream, giant formations along with stalagmites and stalactites. You will need to take a guide and lanterns to navigate this exceptional phenomenon. It is situated about 50 km from Pai heading towards the Myanmar border but well worth the trip.

    Hill Tribe Villages

    Northern Thailand is home to several ethnic clans scattered throughout the mountains and valleys. One of the most well-known tribes is the Karen people. Karen women are famous for their weaving skills and the men are considered to be great artisans. The women are famous for wearing stacked thick metal rings around their necks which elongates their necks over time.  Ban Mae Ping is the only Karen village that is easily accessible from Pai, located about 10 km from the township centre. Other tribes live more remotely and will require more complicated treks to access these more authentic villages.

    Pai Walking Street

    Pai Walking Street is the epicentre of Pai activity. After dark, the street transforms into a foodies paradise with a huge assortment of hawker food, bars and live music.

    Pai Thailand – Overview


    For a small mountain town, there is a range of things to do in Pai and in the greater Pai district for nature lovers and culture enthusiasts to enjoy:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the best outdoor activities in Pai?

    The best things to do in Pai outdoors are trekking, visiting caves, walking in ricefields, swimming in waterfall pools, soaking in hot springs, visiting temples and strolling through the town market in the evenings.

    What are the most popular things to do in Pai with kids?

    Some great things to do in Pai with kids include visitinggorges, hot springs, waterfalls and rice fields. Enjoying local food and entertainment in downtown Walking Street or learning about ethnic minorities by visiting a local hill tribe village or Santichon traditional Yunnanese village.

    How to get around Pai in Thailand?

    Pai town is very walkable. Tuk-tuks and taxis aren’t common so if you want to go exploring it is best to rent a motorbike. If you don’t drive a scooter, then your best bet is to stay in the centre of town so everything is within convenient reach. There are local pick up trucks for public transportation that will be able to take you to some locations just outside of town.

    What is Pai, Thailand known for?

    Pai Thailand has gained a reputation amongst travellers as the laid back holistic health capital of the northern region, packed with organic fooderies, vegan and vegetarian cafes, yoga retreats and healing arts centres. Once a hippy and backpacker hotspot, the small town has transformed into more of an upmarket bohemian melting pot full of western and Chinese tourists. It’s famous for its rolling valleys and mountains, waterfalls, rivers and majestic caves, therapeutic natural hot springs, stunning vistas, and a quiet ambience.

    Is Pai Thailand worth visiting?

    For those looking for a slower pace of life in the Thai countryside, but with the convenience of what a tourist needs to be comfortable, then Pai is worth visiting. There are a number of things to do in Pai and in the surroundings of the town. The lush green surroundings featuring rolling hills, mountains and waterfalls are sensational and nature lovers will be in their own type of utopia.

    What is there to do in Pai at night?

    Things to do in Pai at night include the Pai Walking street which really comes alive as the sun goes down and is the place to come to haggle and shop, grab some cheap local food and people watch. There’s also plenty of live music venues and bars playing an assortment of acoustics, hip hop, reggae, punk and everything in between. Years ago there was very little in terms of nightlife in Pai, but since tourism has grown, many visitors say that the nightlife here outshines Chiang Mai nowadays.

    Where is Pai in Thailand?

    Pai is situated around three hours north of Chiang Mai in the Mae Hong Son Province of northern Thailand.

    Can you do a day trip to Pai from Chiang Mai?

    Being a three-hour drive from Chiang Mai, it’s not recommended as a day trip. It is better to spend at least one night in Pai to take in the sights.

    How long does it take from Chiang Mai to Pai?

    Compared to tourist destinations towards the southern part of Thailand, Pai is reasonably cheaper for accommodation, food and drinks, transport and daily living. Although prices have increased with its growing popularity as a tourist magnet.

    Is Pai safe?

    Road safety is probably the biggest concern. The mountainous roads around Pai should not be attempted by a beginner on a scooter as road accidents are quite common. You should only rent a motorcycle if you are an experienced driver, with a licence and insurance and wear a helmet. As with any other destination, it is best to avoid walking around alone at night and not to engage in any illegal drug use.

    Information Centre

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    Things To Do

    Plan for an unforgettable holiday escapade and uncover the fascinating assortment of things to do and see in Thailand's most popular destinations as well as those lesser known travel spots and routes.