Pai, Thailand

Just a 3 hour drive from Chiang Mai lies the small but awesome town of Pai. What used to be a lazy, hippy town is now becoming more popular with backpackers but that has not dimmed its charm. Nestled away in the mountains and jungle of North Thailand, this is one of those places you go to that absolutely everyone loves.

Pai is a great little town in the Mae Hong Soon Province of northern Thailand. The food is amazing and varied, the views are beautiful,  the people are friendly, there’s lots to do and the atmosphere is relaxed & chilled. Pai is indeed a hard place not to like. 

*Video shows shots of Chiang Mai and Pai

An increasingly popular way to get to Pai from Chiang Mai is to hire a motorbike and drive. Whilst this may be a fun half day trip for experienced riders, we would certainly not recommend it unless you are extremely confident on a motorcycle. The drive is mostly mountain roads and has a total of 762 pretty tight bends, if this isn’t daunting enough, the weather can change in an instant and riding a bike in torrential rain ain’t no fun (trust us). This is exactly why we travel there by private mini bus on our 14 day Northern Thailand and 21 day North Thailand & Beaches tours.

Pai, Thailand – What we do

During our time in Pai we have two full days of activities and you get to see loads of cool stuff – the first day we visit some of the area’s cool natural features

Pai---Hot-Springs---Groupshot2Tha Pai Hot Springs – A naturally heated pool in the jungle where we go for a soak and an an optional mud mask to get us all feeling young & looking fresh.

The Lod Cave – This is the biggest cave in Thailand and is a really cool place to explore. We are led throughPai---Lod-Cave---Landscape1 the cave by a local guide with a gas lantern and get to ride a traditional bamboo raft through parts of the cave. It is home of 10’s of thousands of swift birds and bats so can smell a bit fresh in some areas but it is well worth braving this for the views and the back to basics experience. 

Waterfall – Next stop is the local Mo Paeng waterfall which can be pretty impressive when there has been some rain. Though not quite on the scale of Erawan Falls which we visit earlier in the trip, it is still a lovely place to take a refreshing dip surrounded by natural beauty. 

Pai Canyon – A famous local landmark and something which is quite hard to describe accurately with words Pai---Canyon---TruTravelsalone is Pai Canyon. You can walk along some of the paths hundreds of meters above the canyon floor which is covered with thick jungle. Just have a look at the pics or the video to see what this place is like. Beautiful views of sun sets to be had from the top. 

The next day we slow the pace down a bit and chill in tru Pai style. Pai---Canyon---Groupshot TruTravels

Tubing (Seasonal) – Firstly we get a lift a couple of kilometers up the Pai river equipped with some massive rubber rings. Then we float back down on em taking in the surrounding jungle and mountains from the river. A nice chilled way to start the day.

Fluid pool bar – After a leisurely morning tube, we take a short walk to the local swimming pool at Fluid pool bar. This is a cool spot where lots of the young travellers and backpackers passing through town come to chill for the day and. The owner and staff are super cool Thai guys and they serve a mean cocktail.

Pai---Waterpark--Groupshot-TruTravels-FluidPai Circus School – After a few hours chilling in the pool we head up to Pai Circus School Hostel to watch the sunset over the beautiful surroundings (see cover pic of page). The circus school hostel which is actually a backpacker hostel at the top of a hill where some hippy style backpacker volunteers stay and teach guests how to spin fire, walk the slack line, juggle or spin the diablo.Pai-Circus-School-TruTravels The hill side retreat boasts lovely views of Pai a bar, a pool table and a swimming pool so we can easily keep ourselves entertained until dinner time. The rooms are very basic so we don’t stay here but it’s a cool place to hang and learn some skills.

Other Stuff – In the evenings we can try some of the local restaurants or the delicious and varied culinary delights available from the stalls on Pai walking street food market. There are lots of souvenir shops, bars and restaurants in town and the nightlife is also pretty vibrant so we can also check out some night spots and hit the town for a few beers if you wish. Here’s a cheeky little blog from our Ryan about his first time in Pai.

Where We Stay…

On our Northern Thailand tours we spend 3 nights in a lovely little resort just on the outskirts of Pai town just a 5 minute walk from the high street. Equip with air con private double and triple rooms with en suite bathrooms and a nice swimming pool to cool off in. All rooms we use are private twin or triples.