Pai is the hippie capital in Thailand’s mountainous north. This small and sleepy mountain village has become a staple among backpackers over the last few years. It’s the kind of destination where you unexpectedly stick around longer, because it’s just so hard not to! And we can know it, because we’ve stuck around for 6 months…! That’s why we listed the best reasons to visit Pai, other than relaxing, chilling out and even more relaxing!
1. Pai Canyon
You can find the spectacular Pai Canyon just a few kilometers outside of Pai’s center. Walk along small pathways next to steep drops (don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds), all the while enjoying the stunning view of the Pai Valley. Visit the canyon during sunset for the best photos.
Entry fee: Free
Rent a motorbike, enjoy the freedom and explore the area surrounding Pai! You’ll be on your way out of the center and among the green paddy fields in no time. There are many lovely routes, but the most beautiful one is the road from Pai (Road 1095) to Mae Hong Son. You’ll come across great viewpoints, nice turns and well maintained roads. There are a lot of good motorbike rentals in the side streets of Pai Walking Street. Don’t skimp on a good motorbike!
Price: Rental motorbike + petrol: ± 300 baht per day
3. Chilling out at Fluid Swimming Pool
Just want to chill out the whole day? Go to Fluid Swimming Pool, just outside Pai’s center – in the direction of the White Buddha. It’s a small pool with nice music, a pleasant atmosphere, a little mat on a grassy field and good food. This is what chilling out in Pai is all about! The swimming pool opening hours are from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM – but can be closed during off-seasons.
Entry fee: 60 baht per person
4. Enjoy a Jungle Jacuzzi
About half an hour from of Pai are the Sai Ngam Hot Springs. Go there early in the morning, while it’s still not too hot. It’s a truly magical place, especially when you’re there super early. You’ll be all alone to enjoy the soothing water and the rising steam. Besides the Sai Ngam Hot Springs there are a few other thermal springs in Pai you can check out.
Entry fee: 20 baht per person
5. A cup of tea with a view
Pai has a lot of attractive viewpoints. However, we do have a favorite and that favorite is the Ban Santichon Viewpoint (Yun Lai Viewpoint). This viewpoint looks out over the Pai Valley and lies atop the small Chinese village – that’s a 10-minute drive from Pai’s center. Once you’ve braved the road going up you’ll have a chance to catch your breath and enjoy a freshly brewed cup of tea. It’s particularly spectacular during sunrise in November to February, thanks to the morning mist.
Entry fee: 20 baht per person, including tea and sometimes bananas (if they feel like sharing)
6. Pai Walking Street
Every night Pai’s center turns into a fun and colorful Walking Street. It’s a great place to have a quick bite of Thai, or western, food, spot some cool looking hippies, or to buy some original handmade souvenirs you can’t get anywhere else in Thailand. This street also has a lot of nice restaurants and bars.
Entry fee: Free
7. Relax with a drink in hand
Even though Pai’s not very big, its nightlife is unique. There are no large clubs, but really nice small bars to hang out. In some bars you can play a game of pool, others will have live music and across the street you might see some people gathering round a campfire. Some our favorites are the Bamboo Bar, Don’t Cry and Edible Jazz.
Price for a beer: ± 80 baht
8. Visit Tham Lod Cave
If you visit Pai, you have to visit the Tham Lod Cave, a beautiful cave about an hour’s drive from the center of Pai. The road to get there is amazing on its own because it’s littered with stunning viewpoints. Once you arrive you can hire a guide and enter the cave on a bamboo raft, which we highly recommend!
Entry fee: around 200 to 250 baht per person for a tour
9. Pai’s waterfalls
Pai has been blessed with some very nice waterfalls. Ideal for a refreshing dip on a hot day! We have visited all of Pai’s waterfalls and we think Pai’s secret waterfall is the most beautiful; the Hua Chang waterfall. But the other ones are also totally worth your time. Don’t forget you swimming gear!
Entry fee: Free
10. Buy some Pai-pants!
If you really want to fit in in Pai, you’ll just have to do it: buy some incredibly camp and colorful harem pants. You can add these trendy pants to your collection for no more than 150 baht. In Pai you only look silly not wearing them!
Price: Pants ± 150 baht