Pai is the type of place that you’ll plan to visit for a couple of days and then move on but once you get there you’ll get sucked in, fall in love and want to stay forever. Pai is a small hippie town in northern Thailand nestled between the mountains that are decorated with lush green forest.
The main street is small but filled with hip and relaxing cafes and bars. Driving a scooter around is easy, the atmosphere is very chilled and I swear you will not find a reason to dislike Pai. Visiting Pai is often regarded are one of the top things to do in Thailand.
The best part? It’s a bus ride away from Chiang Mai. Be forewarned that the road does wind a lot so be sure to stock up on some motion sickness pills before you go. But I promise it will be worth it so you can go ahead and add it to your Thailand itinerary because visiting Pai is a Thailand must do.
There are so many things to do in Thailand and sometimes Pai goes under the radar. I highly suggest that you don’t skip it because you’re going to want to visit once you read this list of what to do in Pai.
What's in this article
- 1 Thailand Essentials
- 2 Things to do in Pai
- 2.1 Pai Canyon
- 2.2 Pai Walking Street
- 2.3 Lod Cave (Tham Lot)
- 2.4 Big Buddha
- 2.5 Waterfalls
- 2.6 Land Split (Land Crack)
- 2.7 Pai Circus School
- 2.8 Hot Springs
- 2.9 Try the Local Cafes and Bars
- 2.10 Where to Stay in Pai
- 3 Travel Insurance Thailand
Things to do in Pai
Thailand has their own mini version of the Grand Canyon and that’s Pai Canyon. It’s a nice spot to hike around during the day but the best time to see it is during sunset. Pai Canyon is one of the best things to do in Pai and can be reached by motorbike and is a quick drive from the main street.
Pai Walking Street
Not your typical Thai market, Pai Walking Street is the main street in Pai that comes alive at night. The shops spill out onto the street with hand made jewelry, tie-dye clothing and all sorts of souvenirs and trinkets. Food stalls will pop up that serve more than the traditional Thai dishes. You’ll find banana and chocolate spring rolls, falafels and so much more delicious treats. The market starts at 4pm every day.
Lod Cave (Tham Lot)
Though Lod Cave is not technically in Pai it makes for the perfect day trip. Rent a scooter in town and you will love the 40km ride to the cave up and over a mountain. The scenery is absolutely incredible and the ride is so much fun. At the cave entrance, you will be asked to pay for a local guide which is 150 baht for a group of 3. An additional 300 baht covers the raft you will need to take in the cave.
The cave is huge and has a gorgeous view at the very end. Make sure on your ride to or from to stop for the epic views at the top of the mountain.
The big white Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) sits on top of a hill overlooking the valley below. It’s a 1km walk outside town or a quick scooter ride away. To get to the Buddha it’s 353 stairs up so be prepared but the views are worth it.
Pai is filled with beautiful waterfalls, so many so that you could spend a whole day riding around on a scooter finding them and soaking in the pools below the gushing water. Some of the best ones to see are Mo Paeng Waterfall which is the closest to town and has a natural waterslide. Pam Bok Waterfall is another favourite and is a little farther from town but is close to the Land Split.
Land Split (Land Crack)
The Land Split has turned into a bit of an attraction in Pai but really it’s on a farmers land. The land has literally cracked and now the family invites tourists to take the small hike up and take a look. The family is so kind and generous. There is no fee but operates on a donation basis. The family even gives you fruit, nuts and a delicious roselle juice.
Pai Circus School
You read that right! Pai actually has a circus school and it’s at a beautiful spot on top of a hill overlooking rolling hills. The school itself is also a hostel and you can enjoy watching others perfect their circus skills or give it a go for yourself!
Get ready for a day of relaxation, Pai has thermal springs that are said to have healing properties. The first springs are Pai Hot Springs, the closest and most expensive at 300 baht. It’s quite busy with tourists so you could opt to find the Pai secret hot springs, Sai Ngam Hot Springs which are further but much cheaper at 20 baht and less crowded.
Try the Local Cafes and Bars
Following with the chill vibe in Pai, it only makes sense that the town is filled with cafes and bars. Pull up a stool and enjoy a casual beer or lean back on the floors that are decorated with cushions. Just take a stroll down the market street and hop around the corner and you’ll find an abundance of cafes and bars inviting you in.
Now make sure Pai is at the top of your what to do in Thailand list!
Where to Stay in Pai
This quick guide highlights the best places to stay in Pai on any budget.
Purple Monkey Backpackers
For a centrally located budget option, nothing beats Purple Monkey Backpackers. Located right on the main walking street this hostel has dorm and private rooms, air conditioning, breakfast is included, hammocks and a pool.
The Famous Pai Circus Hostel
I mentioned earlier that there was a circus school in Pai and it’s at this hostel! The hostel has bamboo dorm rooms or private rooms, a pool overlooking rolling hills, a pool table and free yoga.
READ REVIEWS: Hostel World
Family House Zen Boutique Resort
People love the location of this spot because it’s just outside the hustle and bustle. You will most certainly be able to get your zen on here with views of their gorgeous pool or while enjoying a drink at the bar.
READ REVIEWS: Booking.com
I hope these top things to do in Pai gives you a better idea of how fabulous this hippie town really is and encourages you to visit!
Travel Insurance Thailand
- Picking travel insurance is an essential part of planning a trip for everyone, including your trip to Thailand
- If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel
- World Nomads is an affordable option that I personally recommend
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- No idea where to start? Check out my travel insurance guide to help you pick the best option for you
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