Pai, Thailand is a true highlight for everyone traveling through the North of this beautiful country. We fell in love with that stunning nature immediately. Even though the town is actually quite small, you can find a lot of things to do in Pai.
Whether you are a Backpacker or a family, I am sure you will be amazed by the unique and gorgeous Pai attractions.
In case you wonder what to do in Pai, in the following we would love to introduce you to the most popular and best things to do in Pai including our personal favorites and practical tips.
What to find out in this post
- 1 Pai, Thailand Facts
- 2 Best Travel time for Pai
- 3 How to get to Pai
- 4 Where to stay in Pai
- 5 How to get around Pai
- 6 Things to do in Pai – The best Pai attractions
- 7 Waterfalls in Pai
- 8 Tham Lod Cave
- 9 The Pai Canyon – Kong Lan
- 10 World War II Memorial Bridge
- 11 White Buddha, Pai
- 12 Pai Hot Springs
- 13 Land Split Pai
- 14 The rice fields of Pai
- 15 The Pai Night Market
- 16 The Strawberry Farm
- 17 Travel Insurance for Thailand
- 18 Already packed?
- 19 Where to next?
Pai, Thailand Facts
- Located in the Mae Hong Son Province
- 2284 Inhabitants (2006)
- Even has an airport
- Ca. 150 km from the border to Myanmar
Best Travel time for Pai
October – February
March – May
End of June – Beginning of October
Your first time in Thailand?
In our Ultimate Thailand Guide, you can find a lot of information that is extremely useful for your trip.
How to get to Pai
From Chiang Mai to Pai by bus
There are busses (Mini-Vans) operating daily between Chiang Mai and Pai. The journey takes about 3 hours, depending on the weather and road conditions. If you tend to become motion sick, you might want to take a pill before entering the bus.
You can buy your ticket either on-site or on 12Go Asia.
Going from Chiang Mai to Pai by airplane
You’ve read correctly: You can go from Chiang Mai to Pai by airplane. The journey takes less than 45 minutes and is a great alternative for people that would like to avoid spending so much time on the bus. Anyway, the price for the flight is obviously much higher than for the bus.
You can compare prices to find the best deals with Skyscanner.
If you own an International driver’s license you can even drive yourself. In Chiang Mai, you can either rent a car or a motorcycle in order to go up to Pai. But be careful, this journey is definitely not suitable for beginners.
Where to stay in Pai
Cheap accommodation in Pai
You can find a great bunch of budget accommodation and hostels in Pai.
BB Hostel – Bed in dorm
Twin Hut – Small Double Room
Rainbow House Pai – Cottage
Accommodation in Pai
Le Mont Resort – Deluxe Room, 3 Stars
Pura Vida Pai Resort – Double Room, 3 Stars
Tarnjedton Pai Resort – Bungalow, 3 Stars
How to get around Pai
We decided to visit the surroundings of Pai by motorcycle. Since we like to be flexible when traveling and also planned to visit some places a little bit off the beaten path this seemed to be the best option.
If you also want to rent a motorcycle, be honest to yourself: Are you an experienced driver? The roads around Pai are extremely curvy and therefore, can be pretty dangerous, especially when it is raining.
If you walk through Pai at night, you will see dozens of people with injuries wearing dressings. If you drive as an unexperienced driver through the surroundings of Pai, you won’t only endanger yourself but also others.
With a tour
If you can’t or don’t want to drive yourself, a tour is a great alternative. This way, you can also meet new people.
There are many options for different tours and you can choose between a group tour or a private tour.
Do you want to travel to Thailand as cheap as possible without missing anything? Then you will love our Ultimate Thailand Budget Guide.
Things to do in Pai – The best Pai attractions
Waterfalls in Pai
Pai is famous for its beautiful waterfalls. If you want to visit them, the best time is actually during or right after the rainy season as they are usually full of water around this time of the year.
If you want to know more benefits of traveling during the rainy season check our Southeast Asia Rainy Season Guide.
Pam Bok Waterfall
Der Pam Bok Waterfall was for us the most beautiful waterfall in Pai. Here you can refresh yourself on a hot day. So, don’t forget your swimwear 😉
Top Tip: Bring a pair of sturdy shoes when walking to the waterfall.
Top Tip II: It can be quite crowded here. Better come as early in the morning as possible if you want to avoid the crowds.
Mor Paeng Waterfall
The Mor Paeng Waterfall is also gorgeous. The best part is probably the amazing view you have from here. Many locals, especially kids, come here to have a little bath. They use the big slippery stones as slights.
Mae Yen Waterfall
This waterfall is said to be the most impressive one in Pai. Anway, before you are able to see it, you have some hiking to do. Therefore, visiting this waterfall is just recommended for people that love to hike.
Top Tip: Bring a pair of sturdy shoes but expect your feet to get wet.
Tham Lod Cave
Opening Hours Tham Lod Cave: 09.00 am – 05.00 pm
Entrance Fee Tham Lod Cave: 450 Baht (ca. 11,63 €/ $ 13,52) for up to 3 people + Guide
After reading such exciting reviews, we were absolutely sure that we wanted to visit this cave.
However, since it has been raining a lot during the last days (we visited during the rainy season) most parts of the cave were underwater, unfortunately.
Our guide led us to the entrance of the cave from where we took a raft which brought us to the inside of the cave. From here, we continued on foot. The Tham Lod cave was impressive although the whole tour just took around 20 minutes. For us, a little disappointing, to be honest, considering the long way you have to drive in order to get here.
However, the people we talked to that visited the cave during the high-season were all super happy with the Tham Lod Cave and considered the tour as absolutely worth it.
Top Tip: Before going, try to talk to other travelers that have already been to the cave about the current condition of it.
The Pai Canyon – Kong Lan
One of the most exciting activities if you are wondering what to do in Pai, Thailand is the Pai Canyon, also called Kong Lan. Here you can climb and enjoy the great view.
If you are suffering from fear of heights like Eduardo does you might want to stay away from the edges.
You can get here for the sunset and enjoy an amazing act of nature with a panorama view.
World War II Memorial Bridge
As you have probably already guessed by its name, this bridge is a reminder of World War II. The World War II Memorial Bridge is located near to the Pai Canyon so that a visit to both Pai attractions can be easily combined.
The construction of this bridge has been taking place during World War II and has been mandated by the Japanese army which wanted a road to Burma (Nowadays Myanmar).
White Buddha, Pai
Another of the Pai, Thailand Things to do is a trip to the White Buddha. It’s impressive due to its size and can be seen already from a distance.
If you want to go up to the Buddha, you have to take many steps. Anyway, when you arrive uphill you will be rewarded with an amazing view over the gorgeous nature of Pai.
However, the temple, which you can find on the hilltop is nothing particularly special.
Pai Hot Springs
The Hot Springs recommended by TripAdvisor is the Sai Ngam Hotspring, Pai Hotsprings, and Tha Pai Hotsprings. However, we heard many travelers complaining about those as they are crowded with tourists and apparently not worth the entrance fee.
Luckily, we also heard about the hidden Hot Springs of Pai.
Mueng Paeng – The best Hot Springs of Pai
The Mueng Paeng Hot Springs are also called the Hidden or Secret Hot Springs of Pai.
Even though the Hot Springs are around 30 km outside of Pai and the way there is not always easy it was absolutely worth it. Besides two older local women that took a walk around here at one point, there was no one.
Since we caught some monsoon rain on the way here, it just felt amazing to sit down in the hot water and simply relax for a while.
And for this highlight, we didn’t have to pay entrance or share it with another 100 Pai Backpackers. 100% recommended!
Land Split Pai
The Pai Land Split was beside the Mueng Paeng Hot Springs probably one of the biggest surprises we encountered during our time in Pai.
Not expecting anything we arrived at the Land Split of Pai. Immediately we have been welcomed by the people living and working here. This land has been used to grow a lot of different things until part of it suddenly split in half after an earthquake in 2008.
This nice man explained to us everything about this land and invited us to try his delicious snacks and drinks. We had a long conversation and after more than 40 minutes of talking to him, we realized we haven’t even checked the land split yet.
Before leaving you can make a little donation of what you think your experience was worth. For us, it was a true highlight of Pai!
The rice fields of Pai
Another highlight for us was just driving around without actually having a destination to go to. Just exploring the area and the wonderful nature. When we saw something we liked, we just stopped to take a picture.
It’s especially amazing during the rainy season when everything is covered by this strong green color.
The Pai Night Market
We have spent most of our time outside of Pai. But what to do in Pai? Going to the night market! Here you can find a lot of yummy local and international food. Most of it is way cheaper as e.g. on the night markets in Chiang Mai.
Top Tip: If you haven’t yet you should absolutely try the Sticky rice with Mango.
The Strawberry Farm
Actually, I wouldn’t really call it a highlight of Pai, but if you drive by, make sure to stop and grab a refreshing strawberry juice.
If you like you can as well take some pictures here in those surroundings that make you feel like you’ve been just sent to a fairytale world for 5-year-olds. 😉
Travel Insurance for Thailand
If you are traveling to Thailand, especially, if you are planning to take a motorcycle, you should definitely make sure to have reliable travel insurance.
The World Nomads is one of the most popular travel insurance for backpackers and adventure-traveler because it covers a lot of things that other insurances don’t.
Where to next?
Read also about the following adventures in Thailand.