Fun Things To Do In Pai, Thailand
Pai; a peaceful town that has long been a haven for hippies and digital nomads alike; is quickly evolving into a backpacker mecca. But that doesn’t mean it’s ruined. There are still plenty of fun things to do in this natural oasis in northern Thailand.
With a valley full of adventure and beautiful nature abound, it’s no wonder why so many travelers who come to Pai; only planning to spend a few days; end up staying for a few weeks and sometimes much longer.
The Town Of Pai
Located a few hours northwest of Thailand’s cultural capital of Chiang Mai; is the town of Pai. Surrounded by green rolling hills and split in two by a river bearing the same name; it has long been a haven for hippies and digital nomads alike.
That, however, is quickly changing as more travelers and package tourists catch wind of how amazing this place is. The once quiet streets are now bustling with partiers looking to light the candle at both ends. The only remnants of the Pai of old lie across the bamboo bridge on the East side of the river.
The Town Of Pai
There you will find primarily dirt roads with the occasional mom-and-pop shop and quite a few riverside bungalows; ones that used to be the cheapest in all of Thailand; but that too is rapidly changing.
Where To Stay
You won’t be hard-pressed to find a place to stay in town. A quick search on Hostelworld or Booking.com will show you just how many options there are. However, if you’re looking for that special Pai experience, then you are going to have to look to the East.
I stayed at the Pai Country Huts; which used to be only ฿200 or $6 per night for a private bungalow near the river. It now runs ฿350 or $10.60, which is still a pretty cheap room considering what you get.
Pai Country Huts
Where you choose to stay is important. If you pick the wrong spot then you’ll be woken up throughout the night and be too tired to do what; in my opinion; is a key part in having the best Pai experience. Hitting the road and exploring all of the stunning nature outside of town; which often requires a motorbike.
Renting A Motorbike
I don’t have firsthand experience renting a motorbike in Pai because I had rented mine in Chiang Mai before going on a week-long ride around the North of Thailand on an adventure known as the Mae Hong Son Loop; which passes through Pai.
I did ask around though, and the standard price for an automatic scooter should be ฿150 or $4.50. Vespai Rentals seems to be the best in town, and they have a beginner class if you’ve never ridden before.
Adventure Tip: If you fancy yourself an adventure, then rent your bike in Chiang Mai and cruise the 762 curves through the mountains to Pai.
The Road From Chiang Mai To Pai
If the idea of two wheels scares you; not to worry. For a much higher price, you can hire a car for the day to chauffeur you to all of the fun destinations around Pai.
5 Fun Things To Do In Pai, Thailand
From bone-chilling waterfalls and amazing viewpoints to dark, creepy caves and a deserty canyon; here are five fun things to do in Pai, Thailand.
1. The Pai Waterfalls
With mountains as far as the eye can see and rain most of the year; it’s no wonder why there are so many waterfalls around Pai. A few of them; in my opinion, stand far above the rest. Starting with the Mo Paeng Waterfall; where you can go plunging down a slippery rockface into some chilly water.
Mo Paeng Waterfall
My second favorite is surrounded on all sides by high cliffs and is more of an Instagrammers delight than a fun adventure. But Pam Bok Waterfall is still a pretty cool spot to take a break from the sun.
Pam Bok Waterfall
2. The Land Split
Located on the same road as the Pam Bok Waterfall; the Land Split is more of a quirky Pai experience than a real natural attraction.
Back in 2011, a local farmer woke to find his land was beginning to break apart which made part of his farm unworkable, so instead of just accepting a low yield, he decided to supplement his losses by creating a tourist attraction.
He and his lovely family now sell fresh hibiscus juice and dried fruit at a makeshift stand in front of the split. The juice is delicious, and they only ask for donations.
The Pai Land Split
3. White Budha Viewpoint (Wat Phra That Mae Yen)
Located East on Mae Hong Son Road, and visible from nearly any point in Pai; is Wat Phra That Mae Yen. Also known as “The White Buddha”; this Buddhist temple sits high on the side of a mountain overlooking the entire Pai river valley.
Be prepared to sweat as you climb the 353 steps to the top of the temple and remember to be considerate by covering up.
Stairway To The White Buddha
The next “fun-things-to-do” destination on the list, lies just over an hour North on highway 1095 through the beautiful countryside of northern Thailand.
Highway 1095 Northbound
4. The Lod Caves
The Lod Caves, also known as “The Spirit Caves”; are a vast system of limestone caverns that happen to be some of the largest in Thailand. You can spend a few hours discovering the massive stalactites and stalagmites in the dark.
The Lod Caves
The Mae Lang River runs through the caves on which you can hire a bamboo raft to float you by candlelight into any of the three caverns. It’s not possible to explore the caves on your own, so you will have to hire a guide for ฿150 or $4.50.
Journey Into The Darkness
5. Pai Canyon
The last fun thing to do on the list is Pai Canyon. Located ten minutes South of town; it is probably the most touristic destination on this list. It often gets referred to as Thailand’s answer to the Grand Canyon but, come on now. 🙄
Normally it’s best to reserve this adventure for last, as the sunsets from here are supposed to be fantastic. However, if you’re there in the rainy season; like I was; then it won’t much matter what time you go.
Make sure to bring some suitable shoes for hiking down into the canyon on the many trails leading through the valley.
Hiking Around Pai Canyon
And that’s a list of five fun things to do in Pai, Thailand. Chances are if you find yourself there it’s because you’ve been traveling through other parts of the country. You’ve also more than likely run yourself ragged trying to see all that you can in a short amount of time.
If that’s the case, I recommend spending a few days soaking up the beautiful rice paddies and green rolling hills while doing absolutely nothing.
The Pai Countryside
I’m not talking about a few hours for a nap. I’m talking about waking up to lie in a hammock and only getting up to eat. Sorta like a sloth. 😎