There are many reasons why Pai should make it onto your bucket list. It is simply a small town nestled in the mountains in the north of Thailand, but it offers up a big personality full of charm, magic, and appeal!
It is the perfect place for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle and have some time to unwind, escape, do some thinking and get creative.
Sources say that most people come for one or two days and end up leaving months later! We can vouch for that. Other couples we met along the way kept adding on nights to their stay and if we could have stayed longer, we would have gladly done the same!
What To Do In Pai
1. Route 1095 – Chiang Mai To Pai
First up, let’s discuss one of the most talked about topics when coming to Pai – the trip there. This route is famous for its whopping 762 turns! It’s a very windy journey through the forest, up hills, and through farmlands.
It is not a fun journey for many, however, can be very exciting and thrilling for the adventure seekers.
For this journey, we recommend taking it slow on a bike or flying up. You can go up with a van, but we explain our reasoning in detail if you’d like to…
2. Learn To Ride A Bike & Explore The Town
If you didn’t already come up on a bike and you are wanting to go and explore the town, the best way would be to rent a scooter. It is such a quiet town in the middle of the mountains that offers great views and the freedom of the open road.
This can also be quite fun as a couples experience too. Lots of laughter may occur! Don’t forget to be careful!
Renting a motorcycle in Pai is comparably cheap and easy to do. You are looking at around 100 – 200 THB a day for the regular scooters, but you can even rent a large motorcycle for the petrolheads out there, it’s just going to cost you a touch more.
When it comes to renting a scooter or motorcycle, you want to make sure the company you go with is trustworthy, but check your bike first anyway! Check tyres (pressure and tread), seat, side-mirrors, foot rests, ignition, seat storage, petrol level and paintwork. Photographs could just save you a buck or two in the long run, so don’t feel shy.
The company we trusted in Pai was D.D. All Travel. To be honest, they didn’t seem too great in the beginning and I thought they had pulled a fast one on us when our chain broke half a day in. Although, they actually came to fetch us and the bike, transferred our petrol and gave us a new one to go.
I will say they’re trustworthy, albeit not the friendliest we have ever dealt with.
3. Watch The Sunset At Pai Canyon
One of the most famous spots in town is the Pai Canyon, a red sandstone cliff in the middle of the forest that has eroded over time. Spend some time walking along the now very narrow ridge and pose for a photograph on the edge of the canyon to get your heart beating a little.
The best time to visit the canyon is in the early morning for sunrise or later on for sunset. Warning: sunset can get pretty crowded, so get there early to secure your ‘seat’ on the edge and enjoy.
4. Journey Up To The White Buddha
In Thai: เจดีย์พระธาตุแม่เย็น
The White Buddha is situated on top of a hill that offers some great views over the surrounding landscape; the perfect spot to go and get a glimpse of the town.
It can be a challenging walk up the ± 300 steps in the sun, but the view is worth it.
In case you were thinking about visiting the White Buddha for sunset, let us just burst your bubble and tell you that is closes at 6pm. However, you can still experience the beauty of the sunset from one of the other great viewpoints or restaurants along the way back from the White Buddha.
5. Walk Across the Bamboo Bridge
The Bamboo Bridge or Boon Ko Ku So Bridge is something that should definitely be on your list of things to do. Who doesn’t love to walk through lush, green rice paddies that are surrounded by mountains?
Important to note, it’s very seasonal. Unfortunately, we visited during the dry season and therefore there wasn’t much to see in terms of lush greenery so we gave it a miss. It just means we will have to come back again, so we aren’t complaining!
6. Reminisce On The Pai Memorial Bridge
In Thai: สะพานประวัติศาสตร์ ท่าปาย
This is the Pai Historical Bridge in, you guessed it, Pai. It’s actually the third reconstruction of it: first Japanese soldiers forced villagers and PoWs to build it in aid of their ‘Death Railway’, they subsequently burnt it down.
Second was by the villagers who had since become accustomed to it and finally a third time when the wooden version preceding this current version was destroyed by floods.
Now, years later, it’s merely a tourist attraction while a double-laned concrete bridge spans the Tha-Pai River right next to this one; the bridge that’s actually used as a bridge.
7. Dip into the Hot Springs & Waterfalls
Pai has some amazing hot springs and waterfalls. Again due to the fact that it was dry season and we only had 48 hours, this is one of the things we didn’t do in Pai. However, feel free to add one of these options to your customised itinerary! Like I said, we will definitely be back to explore more.
You get the:
8. Walk On The Walking Street
One of the best things about Thailand, in general, is their open-air markets! Walk the streets, peruse, indulge in delicious local foods and pick up some bargain deals while enjoying the evening breeze of Pai’s walking street.
Where To Eat
If you are craving delicious Mexican food for a great price then Cafecito is the place to be!
Not only do they have mouthwatering food, but the atmosphere created makes you feel as if you were tucked away in a little Mexican bar in an old abandoned town somewhere.
They are also nicely positioned on the backroads of town for you to explore some nearby installation art or walk about in the park.
Plus you have to check out their really cool wall mural!
We recommend the Quesadillas and the Bagel with cream cheese.
Coffee In Love
Coffee In Love is a great place to stop on the roadside for a cup of coffee and cake. If it is not terribly hot you are able to sit and look out over the beautiful mountains and rolling hills. Even in the dry season, this place is still beautiful.
The thing that really brings people here is that the property was actually a film set for a popular Thai movie called Pai in Love and a popular Chinese movie called Lost in Thailand!
Maybe seeing the set of a movie you haven’t heard of doesn’t interest you, but we both studied film and to sit near anything that resembles a set seems to make us feel a whole lot more connected to our passions and dreams.
I Love U Pai Café & The Container
The container is a great stop for a smoothie on a sunny day. Sip on a smoothie, look out at the view all while swinging away on a hanging egg chair.
It is a very relaxing experience. To top our experience off, two musicians sat down to practice for an upcoming show and blessed us with their music and lovely vocals.
Where To Stay In Pai
We stayed at Bura Lumpai Resort and absolutely fell in love with it. If only we could have stayed longer!
We had travelled down with my (Tammy) mom and therefore needed a family styled accommodation. Our preference was also to stay out of town because we were looking for some peace and quiet, however, the town was still very easily accessible by bike!
We had a joined chalet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The bathrooms were our favourite since they were semi-outdoor! Who doesn’t love an outdoor shower?
We were also right next to the pool. A greatly appreciated feature in Pai’s hot and humid weather.
There is a restaurant right on the property and it’s directly opposite the Pai Memorial Bridge!
➳ Explore Bura Lumpai (A Video)
➩ When you first sign up to Airbnb and book using our code you can score up to R600 off of your first booking and R225 towards an experience!
If you are coming from Chiang Mai (the most common route) be sure to make the most of your time there too!
A Video Of What We Did In Pai
Our stay was jam-packed, albeit short. We had tonnes of fun and have vowed to visit again. In the mean time, check out some Pai inspiration below!
Is Pai on your destination bucket list or have you visited already? What was your favourite thing to do in Pai? Share you tips and experiences with us below for our next visit!
❀ PIN FOR LATER ❀