Last updated on April 9th, 2024 at 05:30 am

Welcome to the enchanting realm of Pai, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of northern Thailand. With its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant night markets, and an array of captivating attractions, Pai promises an unforgettable journey for every traveler. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, cultural discoveries, or simply a serene escape, this Pai travel guide is your key to unlocking the wonders of this charming destination.

How To Get To Pai Thailand

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To get to Pai, a popular town in Northern Thailand, you have a few transportation options:

  1. By Road: The most common way to reach Pai is by road. You can drive or take a bus or minivan from Chiang Mai, which is the nearest major city. The journey takes around 3 to 4 hours, and the road is known for its many curves and bends, providing picturesque views of the countryside.
  2. By Air: Pai has a small airport, Pai Airport (PYY), but flights to Pai are limited and can be weather-dependent. Flights typically operate from Chiang Mai’s airport, and the flight duration is short. However, flights may be more expensive and less reliable than road travel.
  3. By Motorbike or Scooter: Some adventurous travelers choose to rent a motorbike or scooter in Chiang Mai and ride to Pai. The journey can be scenic, but the road can be challenging due to its twists and turns. Make sure you’re comfortable riding on hilly and winding roads if you choose this option.
  4. By Tour: There are also tour companies that offer organized trips from Chiang Mai to Pai. These tours might include transportation, stops at viewpoints and attractions along the way, and a guide.

How To Get Around In Pai

Pai attractions

Getting around in Pai, Thailand, is relatively easy and offers a few options:

  1. Walking: The central area of Pai is compact, and many attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance. Walking is a great way to explore the town’s charm at a leisurely pace.
  2. Motorbike or Scooter Rental: Renting a motorbike or scooter is a popular choice among travelers. It gives you the freedom to explore the surrounding area, including attractions like Pai Canyon and waterfalls. Just make sure you have the necessary license and are comfortable riding on hilly and winding roads.
  3. Songthaews: Songthaews (covered pick-up trucks with benches) are available for short trips within Pai. They are especially useful if you’re traveling in a group or going to attractions that are a bit farther from the center.

Where To Stay In Pai

Pai is a popular tourist destination in northern Thailand known for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery. When looking for a place to stay in Pai, you’ll find a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some areas and types of accommodations to consider:

  1. Pai Town Center: Staying in the town center provides easy access to restaurants, shops, and attractions. You’ll find guesthouses, hostels, boutique hotels, and mid-range accommodations in this area. Recommended hotels are B2 Pai Premier Hotel or ChaLi’s Family Hotel & Hostel
  2. Countryside and Riverside: If you prefer a quieter environment, consider staying a bit outside of the town center along the Pai River or in the surrounding countryside. These areas offer a more serene atmosphere and often provide lovely views. Recommended hotels are Hotel Pai Country Hut or Canary Guesthouse
  3. Bungalows and Eco-Resorts: Pai is known for its bungalow-style accommodations and eco-resorts set amidst nature. These options can provide a unique and immersive experience in the area’s natural beauty. Recommended hotel is Pai Klang Na Cottage

When deciding where to stay, consider your preferences, budget, and what kind of experience you want to have in Pai. Keep in mind that Pai can get quite busy during peak tourist seasons, so it’s a good idea to book your accommodation in advance, especially if you’re visiting during holidays or festivals.

Top 5 Things To Do In Pai

things to do in Pai

Amidst picturesque landscapes, Pai attractions offers captivating experiences. Discover the Pai Night Market’s vibrant stalls and mesmerizing attractions that showcase natural beauty. Whether you’re into trekking or exploring local crafts, Pai invites you to create indelible memories.

  1. Experience the Pai Night Market:
    Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Pai Night Market, one of the must-visit attractions in Pai. As the sun sets, the market comes to life with an array of stalls offering local crafts, delicious street food, and unique souvenirs. This bustling market is not just about shopping; it’s a sensory journey that encapsulates the essence of Pai’s culture and lifestyle.
  2. Visit the Pai Canyon:
    A visit to the Pai Canyon is an adventure that promises breathtaking panoramic views. As you trek through the rugged terrain, you’ll be rewarded with vistas of deep canyons and unique rock formations. It’s a great opportunity for hiking enthusiasts to explore Pai’s natural beauty and capture stunning photographs that showcase the allure of this captivating destination.
  3. Explore the Pai Walking Street:
    The Pai Walking Street is the heart and soul of this charming town. This pedestrian-only street becomes a hub of activity in the evenings, offering an eclectic mix of local handicrafts, clothing, and accessories. It’s the perfect place to find souvenirs to remember your trip by and indulge in traditional Thai street food, immersing yourself in the local flavors and culture.
  4. Explore the Yun Lai Viewpoint:
    For panoramic views that will leave you in awe, a visit to the Yun Lai Viewpoint is a must. This vantage point provides a bird’s-eye perspective of the surrounding landscape, including the winding Pai River and lush greenery. It’s a trek worth taking for those seeking a peaceful escape and a chance to connect with the natural beauty of Pai.
  5. Go Tubing along the Pai River:
    Embark on an adventurous tubing experience along the Pai River, a fun-filled activity that combines relaxation with a touch of excitement. Drift lazily downstream, taking in the serene surroundings of Pai’s countryside. It’s a great way to unwind and soak up the tranquil atmosphere while enjoying the beauty of the area.

Remember, these activities offer a diverse range of experiences, from immersing in local culture at the night market to exploring Pai’s natural wonders through trekking and tubing. Each adventure contributes to creating cherished memories of your time spent in Pai.


Pai Trekking

Pai Travel Guide

While looking for things to do in Pai, there are several fantastic trekking options that allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region. While also enjoying the captivating Pai attractions. Some popular trekking destinations include:

  1. Pai Canyon: While not a traditional trekking route, Pai Canyon offers short hiking trails that wind through rugged terrain. The views from the canyon are breathtaking, making it a must-visit for those looking for picturesque landscapes.
  2. Mor Paeng Waterfall: This waterfall is accessed by a short trek through the forest. The trail is relatively easy and leads to a refreshing swimming spot where you can cool off and relax.
  3. Pai Hot Springs: The Pai Hot Springs are surrounded by lush vegetation, and you can enjoy a relaxing dip in the warm mineral waters after a short trek.
  4. Yun Lai Viewpoint: This viewpoint requires a moderate trek through a scenic landscape, leading to a panoramic view of Pai and the surrounding mountains.
  5. Pai Bamboo Bridge and Santichon Village: A trek through fields and hills takes you to the Pai Bamboo Bridge, and from there, you can continue to the Santichon Village. This trek offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.
  6. Pam Bok Waterfall: A slightly more challenging trek takes you to the Pam Bok Waterfall, surrounded by lush jungle. The trek involves some steep paths but rewards you with a serene natural setting.
  7. Mae Yen Waterfall: This waterfall trek is one of the longer and more challenging options. It involves a hike through the jungle and a bamboo forest, leading to a stunning multi-tiered waterfall.

It’s important to note that some treks may require a local guide, especially for more challenging routes. Always check the current conditions, weather, and difficulty level before embarking on a trek. Many accommodations in Pai can help arrange trekking tours and provide information on the best routes based on your preferences and fitness level.

Exploring Pai’s Culinary Delights: A Journey through Northern Thai

Pai Night market

Pai is more known for its unique culinary experiences rather than specific dishes originating from the town itself. However, Pai does have a vibrant food scene that includes a blend of Northern Thai cuisine, street food, and local specialties. While there may not be dishes exclusively originating from Pai, the town offers a range of delicious options that reflect the flavors of the region. Some of the dishes you can enjoy in Pai include:

  1. Khao Soi: While not exclusive to Pai, this Northern Thai dish is popular and well-loved in the region, offering a harmonious combination of flavors and textures.
  2. Local Market Eats: Pai’s markets offer a variety of traditional Thai street food, which might include grilled meats, spring rolls, and fresh fruit.
  3. Creative Cuisine: Pai’s creative culinary scene often results in unique dishes and twists on traditional favorites, thanks to the town’s artistic and laid-back atmosphere.
  4. Organic and Farm-to-Table Offerings: Many restaurants in Pai focus on using locally sourced and organic ingredients, creating dishes that highlight the freshness of the region’s produce.
  5. Artisanal Treats: Pai’s artisanal ice cream shops and cafes offer inventive flavors and treats that cater to a variety of tastes.


Pai comes to life after dark, offering a mix of entertainment options that cater to different preferences. From cozy bars to live music venues, night markets, and cultural shows, Pai’s nightlife scene is vibrant and diverse. The town’s laid-back ambiance is perfect for those looking to socialize, relax, and enjoy their evening hours. Whether you’re drawn to live music, cultural experiences, or exploring the night markets, Pai has something for everyone to enjoy.

2-Day Pai Travel Itinerary: Exploring Pai Attractions

Pai trekking

Day 1: Exploring Pai’s Charms

Start your day by immersing yourself in the vibrant Pai attractions. Begin with a visit to the stunning Pai Canyon, where you can enjoy panoramic views that showcase the natural beauty of the region. Capture breathtaking photos as you take a leisurely walk through the rugged terrain.

Savor local flavors at a nearby restaurant. Fuel up with traditional Thai dishes as you prepare for more things to do in Pai.

Embark on an afternoon of Pai trekking adventure. Choose a scenic trekking route that suits your preference and enjoy a refreshing hike amidst lush landscapes and tranquil surroundings.

As the sun sets, make your way to the renowned Pai Night Market. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you explore stalls offering an array of crafts, clothing, and delicious street food. Engage with locals and fellow travelers alike, soaking in the bustling ambiance.

Day 2: Cultural Delights and Relaxation

Kick off your day with a visit to local temples and cultural sites, among Pai’s top attractions. Discover the unique architecture and serene ambiance of Wat Nam Hoo Temple and other nearby landmarks.

Indulge in a leisurely lunch at a cafe or restaurant known for its organic offerings. Enjoy fresh ingredients and unwind in the tranquil surroundings.

Delve deeper into Pai’s natural beauty with another round of Pai trekking. Choose a different trail to explore, immersing yourself in the lush scenery and taking in the peacefulness of your surroundings.

For your final evening, enjoy a serene riverside stroll or opt for a relaxing massage at one of Pai’s wellness centers. As the day winds down, reflect on your memorable two days filled with the best things to do in Pai.


From the serene allure of its attractions to the bustling energy of the night market, and the allure of trekking through lush landscapes, Pai stands as a destination that caters to every traveler’s desires. As you navigate the charming streets and explore the surrounding beauty, you’ll find yourself captivated by Pai’s unique blend of culture, nature, and adventure. So, pack your curiosity and embark on an expedition that promises memories to last a lifetime in this enchanting Thai town. Thailand Travel Guide

What are the top attractions in Pai?

Pai boasts a plethora of attractions, from the iconic Pai Canyon offering stunning vistas, to the serene surroundings of Mor Paeng Waterfall. The revered Wat Phra That Mae Yen temple and the quirky Land Split are also worth exploring, each adding its own unique charm to the Pai experience.

What can I expect at Pai Night Market?

Pai Night Market comes alive as the sun sets, offering a tantalizing array of local delicacies, handicrafts, and live performances. From savoring delectable street food to shopping for handmade souvenirs, this bustling market provides an immersive taste of Pai’s vibrant culture.

Are there opportunities for trekking in Pai?

Absolutely! Pai’s verdant landscapes and lush mountains offer fantastic trekking opportunities. Embark on treks to explore hill tribe villages, cascading waterfalls, and even hidden hot springs, immersing yourself in the region’s natural beauty.

What are some off-the-beaten-path attractions in Pai?

Venture beyond the usual tourist spots and discover hidden gems like the Pai Land Split, a unique phenomenon caused by natural forces, and the World War II Memorial Bridge, a historic site that tells tales of the past.

When is the best time to visit Pai?

The cool and dry season, from November to February, is generally considered the best time to visit. The weather is pleasant for outdoor activities, and you can also enjoy Pai’s vibrant festivals, such as the Pai Jazz & Blues Festival held in February.

How do I make the most of my Pai trekking experience?

To fully enjoy your trekking adventure, it’s essential to wear comfortable footwear and clothing suitable for the terrain. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, carry essentials like insect repellent and sunscreen, and consider hiring a local guide to navigate the trails expertly.


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