Pai is a small hippie town surrounded by the lush green mountain hills of northern Thailand. It is located 147 km across windy roads, twisting and turning 762 times from the city of Chiang Mai. This chilled out little town has become a destination and a home for many travellers as there are many things to do in Pai.
From visiting the famous canyon, to sliding down waterfalls. No matter what it is you are coming to Pai for, you will find something for everyone in this beautiful town.
As some of you may already know, we met in Pai and absolutely love this town. We can easily stay here for a month at a time. This is the type of place where you plan on staying for a few days but end up leaving a week or two later. You might even fall in love with it that much, you will be looking to extend your Thai visa in Pai so you can stay even longer.
We always say to ourselves, if Pai had a beach it would probably be the best destination in Southeast Asia. Well, for us at least.
Things To Do In Pai
Rent A Scooter In Pai
What better way is there to see Pai than getting lost driving through its beautiful green countryside as far as the eye can see. Renting a scooter is one of the best things to do in Pai, as many of the main attractions are outside of town. Plus, renting a bike is a lot cheaper than paying for a taxi. To rent one for 24 hours will only set you back 140 Baht (4$) including insurance for any damage.
Our recommendation on where to rent a bike is from AYA Services on the walking street. They are one of the cheapest in Pai and we never had any trouble with them. Also, if you don't feel comfortable leaving your passport, give them a photocopy and a 2,000 Baht (58$) deposit and of you go.
Note: Pai is a great place to learn how to ride a scooter. The roads are well maintained and not too busy. If this is your first time driving a bike, make sure you feel confident in doing so. Or ask someone who can drive a scooter to give you a quick lesson on how to drive.
Pai's Walking Street
Pai's walking street at night is where all the action happens. The street comes alive with street vendors sell everything from traditional clothes, handmade paintings, jewellery and best of all, food!
More than likely, you will return night after night to try out all the different variety of culinary on offer. From Indian, sushi, lasagne and a whole lot more, there is nothing you won't find here to fight off your cravings.
If you love food and street vendors as much as we do, then pigging out on the walking street is definitely one of the most satisfying things to do in Pai.
The Hot Springs
A great way to spend a day relaxing in Pai is by visiting one of its hot springs. There are a few spread out around town, the main one being Tha Pai Hot Springs. Which you can skip if you like, as it's well overpriced at 300 Baht. We know of two others which are reasonably priced and offer the same if not more.
First of them being Sai Ngam Hot Spring also known as the "Secret Hot Spring". Not so much a secret anymore though. This natural spring is located 15 km from Pai town and costs only 20 Baht (.60$) per person, with an additional 20 Baht per motorbike.
The second one is the Pai Hot Spring Resort, 7 km outside of town. For just 100 Baht (3$), you will have a full day access to three thermal baths and a large cooled swimming pool. Making it one of the most enjoyable and relaxing things to do in Pai.
There are three main waterfalls to be found in Pai, Mo Paeng Waterfall, Pombok Waterfall, and Mae Yen Waterfall.
Mo Paeng is the closest to Pai town and the easiest of the three to reach. The waterfall forms a natural water slide, which you can slide down into the small pool at the end. If you are not brave enough to face the slide, then the pools are a perfect way to spend a few hours cooling down.
Pombok waterfall is a little further out on the road towards Chiang Mai. A little more secluded, the falls are surrounded by high cliff walls in which the water runs down. You can climb up these walls and leap off into the pool below.
Mae Yen is 3 km from Pai town and is not accessible by bike, making it perfect for a short hike. We never made it to this waterfall, but we hope to check it off our list of things to do in Pai whenever we return next.
Fluid Swimming Pool
Fluid swimming pool is another cool place to spend a relaxing day in Pai with some friends. Entrance fee is only 60 Baht (1.70$) for the whole day. The atmosphere is amazing with some good music, delicious food, and it's a great location to meet new people. If this sounds like something you would like? Then fluid is definitely worth putting on your list of things to do in Pai.
The Land Crack
The Land Crack was once a small family run farm, until one day the farmer woke up to find a split through his land. Instead of giving up on the farm, the clever man turned it into what is now a busy tourist attraction.
It is not so much the split that attracts travellers, but the families generous hospitality. Once you enter their property, you will be greeted with smiling faces happy to show you the crack in the Earth.
On your return, the farmer and his wife prepare a few tasty snacks for you with nuts, sweet potato, fruit, and some fresh homemade juice. And this is all done by donation. How cool is that? This is for sure one of the more special things to do in Pai.
Pai's Coffee Shops
Pai has some really funky coffee shops spread out through the town. Each shop has their own unique design that serves some fantastic coffee and homemade cakes.
Take some time out of your day to visit some of these cool cafes. As we all know, there is no better way to spend a couple of hours, than people watching with a good cup of coffee.
One of the most impressive things to do in Pai is to visit the Pai Canyon. A small canyon known to resemble the larger and more dramatic Grand Canyon.
Located 8 km from town towards Chiang Mai, this natural landscape is a perfect spot to catch the sun setting behind the neighbouring mountains.
Make sure you arrive early as this is an extremely popular attraction to watch the sunset, especially during high season.
But don't just come here to watch the sunset. Pai Canyon is a pretty cool place to hang out at during the day. You could easily spend a few hours exploring the narrow paths while enjoying the beautiful views.
Lod cave is a large cave with a river running through the heart of its natural limestone system. You can hire a guide, who will take you into the cave on a small bamboo raft pushed along with a bamboo pole.
Inside the cave, you can explore the dark caverns by a small gas powered lamp carried by your guide. Do bring your own torch if you have one. This will give you an opportunity to see more of the cave without relying on your guides light.
During certain points in the cave, you get the chance to exit the raft and climb up a wooden staircase to explore the stalactites and stalagmites. Spread out through the cave are also some pre-historic paintings and teakwood coffins carved out by the Lawa tribe over 1,400 years ago.
Lod Cave is not actually in Pai but situated 35 km towards Mae Hong Son in a small village called Sop Pong. This scenic drive to the cave by bike/car is definitely worth the trip and should be on your bucket list for things to do in Pai.
As you can see there are many things to do in Pai. Have you ever been to this amazing little town before? If so, share with us in the comments below what impression this hippie town left on you.