Pai is a small hippy town located in the mountains about a 3 hour drive from popular Chiang Mai. Pai is one of those places that people completely and utterly fall in love with, they come for a weekend and stay for a month! It is super chilled, and a nice break from the busier Northern Thailand towns. Despite falling head over heels, we did manage to keep our stay to a just a weekend… but would have happily extended our stay!
One of our highlights of visiting Pai was the journey there – it was the most stunning drive I have ever been on, and Tom was completly in his element! We traded in our scooter and hired a motorbike for the weekend and it was totally worth it. Riding a motorbike around 762 curves through beautiful scenery was seriously breathtaking and something I won’t forget anytime soon. However, if you do not have experience in driving motorbikes then this is not the transport for you, the roads, however fun, can be extremely unsafe and many inexperienced drivers are subject to accidents. Good news is that it is super easy to get a bus there! So don’t panic, everyone can make it to Pai.
So the drive is amazing, but what to do when you get there?
These are my top things to do in Pai!
Explore the surroundings!
Pai itself is a really tiny town, it’s packed with bars and restaurants, but outside of that you need to really hire a scooter to get around. If you haven’t already hired one for the drive there, then it’s super easy and cheap to do that when you arrive in Pai – there are loads of scooter shops and you can hire a bike from around 100 Baht a day ( which is less than £3.50! ), Take some time to drive through the town, and then head out and explore the incredible scenery Pai has to offer – waterfalls, temples, lakes, mountains – it’s beautiful!
Climb your way to the White Buddha
Sitting at the top of the hill, on the same site as the Wat Phra That Mae temple, is the Big White Buddha. Be prepared to climb up quite a few stairs to reach the buddha, but you are rewarded with an incredible view over Pai (and the Buddha itself!). We didn’t get a chance to, but we heard that this is a great spot to watch the sunset.
Eat your way through the Walking Street Market
At 4pm The Pai Walking Street (the main street in the town), comes alive with endless food stalls. The Pai walking street was completely different to the walking streets in Chiang Mai and was super chilled. There was a huge selection of food, including lots of healthy and meat free options! The highlights for me where the avocado rice paper rolls, and the brushettas!
Take in the view at Pai Canyon
The Pai Canyon has the best views over Pai and it’s super popular to head there to watch the sunset!
Stop by the Land Split
The Land Split is unlike anywhere I have been before! The Land Split lies on land that was once a farm, but was damaged during two earthquakes, leaving the land with a huge great split in it! It’s pretty cool to see, but the best part is the owner – he is the friendliest guy, who welcomes everyone. After walking around to see the land split, he prepares you a tray of foods, grown by his family on the land – plantain chips, peanuts, tamarind, sweet potato and roselle juice which you can sit and enjoin the seating area or chilling in the hammocks. This is all free of charge – there is a donation box for you to contribute whatever you can! It’s a really interesting thing to do in Pai and definitely worth a visit!
Chill out in the unique bars
Pai town is full of tiny little bars, all unique and quirky! We were ‘stuck’ in a bar during a full on storm and had to enjoy the super cheap drinks, chilled atmosphere and live music for the whole night…what a shame that was!
Visit the Waterfalls
Visiting waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Pai. There are loads of waterfalls around Pai, but the two most popular with tourists are – Pam Bok waterfall and Mo Peang waterfall, which has a natural water slide. Both are easy to get to with a scooter!
Where to stay…?
One of the reasons I loved our trip to Pai so much was our beautiful accommodation. We stayed at Pai Village, which is right in the centre of the town in a really great location. We stayed in one of the bungalow huts which I loved! The whole setting was really lovely – with an outside lounge area, fish to feed in the pond and an amazing breakfast buffet! The staff there were all amazing too, and drove us to their farm, where we could explore and feed the animals for free! We booked on Booking.com – I would definitely recommend checking it out if your visiting Pai!
I hope this has given you some ideas of things to do when visiting Pai, or inspired you to visit if you are planning a trip to Thailand!
I would love to hear your thoughts on Pai so please share any comments or ask any questions!
If you are heading to Thailand it is really important to be aware of the Elephant Tourist industry – you can read about it in my Elephant Sanctuary post here
You might also like to read my Things to do in Chiang Mai post.
Thanks for reading!