Pai Bucket List: Amazing Places to Visit in Pai, Thailand
If you’ve never visited Pai on previous trips to Thailand, you miss out on an amazing destination. This small town is located between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son and is a destination full of mountains and natural beauty. With the Pai River traveling through the eastern part of the town, great water and nature-based activities are on offer.
How to Get There
To get to Pai, you will want to start your journey in Chiang Mai, which can be reached by train or air. From Chiang Mai, take the bus to Pai. Route 1095 is known for being very steep and winding, but it’s a very scenic drive. The journey takes up to four hours, passing through hundreds of turns in the road.
Best Time to Visit Pai
With winter approaching throughout the world, November onwards is one of the best times to visit Thailand to enjoy some winter sun. Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite activities to do when you arrive in the town of Pai.
Grand Canyon of Pai
The Pai Canyon, also known as Kong Lan in Thai, is supposed to be Thailand’s answer to the Grand Canyon. However, many would say that’s a bit of an exaggeration!
It’s a stunning spot to visit, and it’s a unique geographical location. Erosion over the past decades has carved an incredible site.
There are steep cliff drops and walkways, which you’ll see when you walk through this forested area.
There are quite a few different waterfalls in the Pai area, but my favorite has to be the Mor Paeng Waterfall. This massive site has three different levels to its waterfall, and if you are visiting during the rainy season, you will have an amazing time. It’s used as a water slide by locals and visitors alike!
You’ll find the site about nine kilometers from the town center, and it’s easy to get to. Another great option is the Pambok waterfall, where you can enjoy swimming in the deep water. It may be a little more crowded as it’s easy to access, but it’s a fun place to cool off.
To fully appreciate Pai’s landscape, take the time to visit the Bamboo bridge, known in Thai as Boon Koh Ku So. It’s a suspended bridge that leads to the bamboo temple and is about one kilometer in length.
It’s really well kept by the locals and takes you over the green rice paddies. This was one of my favorite nature walks I experienced in Pai.
Enjoy the view from Wat Phra That Mae Yen.
About two kilometers outside of the town center, you will find Wat Phra That Mae Yen set on the hillside.
This temple has a giant white Buddha statue and offers incredible views over Pai. I love coming here to watch the sunset and appreciate the town’s green countryside.
The Pai Memorial Bridge
Commemorating the events of World War II, this memorial bridge is an important stop for any tourist. You will no longer see the original wooden bridge, but this was an important bridge over the Pai River.
During World War II, the Japanese army needed a route between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. The bridge was built back in 1941 with the help of elephants dragging trees from the jungle!
This village provides a look at Chinese clay houses and a different way of life. Enjoy sampling delicious cuisine at Baan Santichon while in the middle of the mountains.
Here you will experience the Yunnan people’s traditions, and I loved sampling the authentic Yunnan foods.
Sai Ngam Natural Hot Springs
If you are like me and enjoy relaxing on holiday, I’d recommend taking a trip to the hot springs. The water here is warm and clean, and the surrounding area is relaxing and peaceful.
I’d recommend visiting early in the day to avoid the crowds. They are about a thirty-minute drive outside Pai, but well worth it for the 80°C waters.
Explore the Night Markets
If you are looking for something to do in the evening, one of my favorite parts of my time in Pai was their fantastic night markets.
I enjoyed eating dinner while strolling through the market. This is also an inexpensive place to pick up gifts for your family and friends back home.
While Pai has some amazing nature, it also attracts many backpackers who still want to party. The Sunset Bar is one of the most popular bars, located just outside the town center.
Easy to access by foot, the bar is located in the trees. Drinks are about 100 Baht, but look out for their special promotions.
Tubing on the Pai River
One of my favorite days out in Pai was spent on the river. The ride takes about an hour and is available most of the year. It’s about 200 – 300 Baht for the trip, and you can book a tour through your hostel or a tour agency.
It’s such a fun journey and allows you to appreciate Pai’s nature from a different angle.
Pai was one of my unexpected favorite places in Thailand, and I would highly recommend spending a few days here on your next trip.
It ties in perfectly with my other favorite city, Chiang Mai, and is easily accessible from there. Have you visited Pai before? Let me know in the comments below what your favorite activities here were.
Pai Travel and Tour Packages
To help you plan out your visit to Pai, we listed places to visit and other amazing things in Pai, Thailand. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Pai hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.