12 Best Things To Do In Pai, Thailand

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Located on the banks of the scenic Pai river in the Mae Hong Son province of northern Thailand, Pai has become a very popular tourist destination. Let’s discover all the amazing things to do in Pai.

Pai is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous places to visit in Thailand. Unlike many other destinations in Thailand, you won’t find beaches or islands around this small town, but charming green valleys, mountains, peaceful vibes, mesmerizing scenic waterfalls and a lovely village. It won’t come as a surprise, if while you are visiting Pai you get an urge to extend your stay and spend more time exploring and enjoying this very charming town. Here are some of the best things to do in Pai which you should not miss out on!

Things To Do In Pai

1. Enjoy The Refreshing Waterfalls

Among several waterfalls in Pai, there are three main waterfalls you should be visiting namely Mo Paeng Waterfall, Pam Bok Waterfall and Mae Yen Waterfall. Soaking yourself and enjoying under these waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Pai.

  • Mo Paeng Waterfall : This is the most easily accessible and popular waterfall located at a distance of 8 km approx from Pai. Mo Paeng waterfall is three tiered and also has a natural water slide leading to the pool below the waterfall where you can swim too. Try visiting it during the morning as it might get crowded in the afternoon.
  • Pam Bok Waterfall : Little less accessible than the Mo Paeng, you will have to take a scooter it’s entrance and then a short hike to reach the Pam Bok waterfall. This waterfall is very scenic, less crowded and hence perfect for a refreshing swim.
  • Mae Yen Waterfall : Mae Yen is the most impressive waterfall and is for the tourists who are seeking adventure. You will have to drive till Pai Village farm, then follow a 6 km jungle hike crossing the river at every few 100 meters.

2. Relax Around The Hot Springs

Pai has amazing natural hot spring pools where you can sit back, soak yourself, relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings. These hot springs have a low cost entrance fee and are one of the top things to do while you are in Pai. There are two main hot springs that you should look out for;

Pai Hot Springs Resort : These hot springs are located near Pai Canyon and living up to it’s name are very hot specially during summers. If you are looking for a luxury option to enjoy the hot springs that are temperature controlled and less crowded, you can visit the Pai Hot Springs Spa Resort.

  • Entrance Fees : 300 Baht (USD 9.5 approx)
  • Timings : 7 AM to 6 PM

Sai Ngam Hot Springs : The Sai Ngam hot springs are located a bit farther from Pai at about 20 kms that would be a 30 minute drive. Located in a national park these natural hot springs are more beautiful and have very pleasant temperatures.

  • Entrance Fees : 200 Baht (USD 6.5 approx)
  • Timings : 7 AM to 6 PM

3. Catch The Sunset Views From Wat Phra That Mae Yen

things to do in Pai
View from Wat Phra That Mae Yen

The white Buddha’s statue located on a hilltop is noticeable from many points around Pai. This is a famous Buddha temple known as the Wat Phra That Mae Yen. A climb up to this temple consists of about 350 stairs and are totally worth the mesmerizing views of the green valleys and mountains surrounding the Buddha’s statue. There is also an easy hike towards the hilltop temple which is a more convenient option than the stairs. Make sure you carry enough water with you and are dressed appropriately.

  • Entrance Fees : Free
  • Timings : 7 AM to 6 PM

4. Visit The Pai Canyon

things to do in Pai

The Pai Canyon is another popular attraction from where you can catch some spectacular sunset views over the green valleys of Pai. The hike trail towards the Pai Canyon has no shade and becomes narrow at some points. So, you need to be very cautious and also make sure you have put on good hiking shoes. We would recommend you to go for the hike early morning since it’s more cooler and after you have visited the Pai Canyon head towards the Pam Bok waterfall which is located very near to it, where you can take a refreshing swim to cool off.

  • Entrance Fees : Free
  • Timings : Open 24 hours

5. Wander Across The Memorial Bridge

things to do in Pai

The memorial bridge is a historical landmark in Pai. This steel bridge overlooking the Pai river was built by the Japanese during the World War II in 1941 as a route between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son to transport weapons. When the war ended, the Japanese burnt the bridge and left Pai. This bridge was rebuilt by the villagers as it was a convenient route for transportation. In 1973, the bridge got destroyed again due to floods and was rebuilt after two years. This bridge now serves as a Pai World War II Memorial bridge and is a significant attraction in Pai.

  • Entrance Fees : Free
  • Timings : Open 24 hours

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6. Go Tubing & River Rafting Along The Pai River

Tubing, bamboo rafting and white-river rafting along the gorgeous and picturesque Pai River are the most enjoyable things to do in Pai for adventure seekers. You can easily book these activities through your accommodation or directly at the banks of the Pai river. These activities might cost up to 300 Baht (USD 9.50 approx) per person.

7. Visit The Land Split

Land Split is a tourist spot in Pai which was a result of an earthquake in 2008. A farmer’s land had cracked 2 meters wide and about 11 meters deep. The land owner is very welcoming and friendly and serves you with locally grown fruits, snacks and fresh Roselle juice. There is no entrance fees to Land Split and you can pay as much as you feel is worth for the snacks you have there. The land owner’s warm welcome is a great example of Thai hospitality. The vision of the land split too makes this place a must visit.

8. Explore The Santichon Village (A Chinese Cultural Village)

Things to do in Pai

Santichon Village was once the residence of Chinese people who had fled the revolution of Mao Tse Tung. Some of the descendants still reside here exhibiting a cultural mix of Yunnan Chinese and Thai. Many locally manufactured Thai and Chinese art pieces, tea sets, souvenirs and Chinese tea leaves are sold at small shops in the village. You can also dress up in Chinese costumes that are available on rent and take pictures in them. Santichon Village is also a perfect stop to sip in some refreshing Chinese tea that’s served in a lovely tea pot. It is available for just 20 Baht (USD 0.65 aprox).

9. Stroll, Shop And Eat At Pai Walking Street

As the sun goes down the walking street in Pai lits up with various street vendors selling some lip smacking variety of delicacies, clothing, accessories, craft works and Thai souvenirs. There is so much variety available for street food that if you visited it for each night you are staying in Pai, you would never get bored. Not only Pad Thai and other famous Thai dishes are available, but you can also savour on pizzas, baked potatos, lasagna, burgers, bruschetta, filled patties, falafels, coconut balls and a lot more. The Pai walking street becomes very lively every evening with lots of tourists and locals enjoying the street food, shopping at the small kiosks or just taking a stroll across the street.

  • Timings : 5:30 PM to 10 PM

10. Eat Healthy Food

When it comes to eating healthy food, Pai is not at all short of options. Many restaurants and cafes serve vegan and gluten free dishes prepared from fresh and locally grown harvests. Earth Tone, Bomb Bowls, Isara Garden, Om Garden and Dang Restaurant are few of the many options serving healthy and organic food in Pai.

11. Visit The Love Pai Strawberry Cafe

Visiting this cafe is one of the most fascinating things to do in Pai for strawberry lovers. The Love Pai Strawberry cafe has a very charming strawberry farm and serves the most refreshing strawberry drinks and smoothies. You can visit this cafe while you are on your way back from the Pai Canyon. Having a delicious strawberry smoothie after the hike would be very reviving for you.

  • Timings : 8 AM to 6 PM

12. Take A Trip To Tham Lod Cave

Things to do in Pai

The magnificient Tham Lod Cave is located just at 45 minutes drive from Pai. It is totally doable if you can save time for a day trip. There are 3 huge connected caverns which can be navigated with the help of a mandatory guide carrying a lantern who is available at the entrance. You would be exploring some parts of these impressive caves on a bamboo raft and the other parts by walking through the caves.

In the caves, you could see some ancient coffins that are about 500 years old, thousands of bats, stalactites and stalagmites (hanging pointed formations on the ceilings of the cave). Make sure you are wearing very comfy shoes and if possible do carry a torch for a better vision inside the caves.

  • Entrance Fees : You will have to book this tour through any local guide that are easily available in Pai. The total cost of the tour may cost up to 550 Baht (USD 18 approx) per group of maximum 3 persons. The cost includes the fee for the guide and the bamboo raft.
  • Timings : 9 AM to 6 PM

Where To Stay In Pai

Pai is a small town having all the guest houses, resorts and hotels located very near to each other. You can choose to stay near the walking street if you are looking for a more lively atmosphere or you can stay a little farther if you are looking for a peaceful and more scenic place. Here are some of the best accommodation options that you may check out as per your budget and location preferred;

Budget Stay (Under $20)

Pai Country Hut Guesthouse

Located near the Pai Walking Street, this cottage styled guesthouse has rooms with private balconies showcasing views of scenic lush greenery and hills. The guesthouse has hammocks too in front of each cottage where you can get in and relax peacefully.

Click Here To Book This Hotel

Baan Pai Riverside Resort

This beautiful resort is located just next to the tranquil Pai River offering guests gorgeous views of the mountains, riverside and greenery through private balconies.

Click Here To Book This Hotel

Mid Range ($20 – $50)

Kuad Khon Thoe Pai Cottage

Fascinated about staying at a place that is surrounded by beautiful valleys, rice fields and farms? Kuad Khon Thoe Pai Cottage offers you such exotic surroundings in a very peaceful and relaxing environment.

Click Here To Book This Hotel

Pai Cherkaew Boutique House

Pai Cherkaew is a boutique guest house located very near the walking street. This guesthouse offers an outdoor swimming pool, very spacious rooms and amazing views of the town.

Click Here To Book This Hotel

High End ($50 – $100)

Family House Zen Boutique Resort

This stunning boutique styled property is located across Pai riverside and boasts relaxing, peaceful and charming surroundings. The walking street and other main attractions in Pai are located at a short walking distance. The rooms are very spacious and clean having beautiful pool and garden views from the private balconies. Family House Zen Boutique Resort is highly recommended specially of you are visiting Pai with your family.

Click Here To Book This Hotel

If you are short of time and thinking of visiting Pai from Chiang Mai for a day trip, check out this tour offering convenient round trip transportation, lunch, guide and visit to the major attractions in Pai.

Those were the best things to do in Pai! We are sure you are going to have a great time there and feel very close to the nature in this charming town. Happy Travels!

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

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