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11 Top Things to Do in Pai

A panoramic view of the Thai countryside with a girl overlooking from a walkway

11 Top Things to Do in Pai

If you’re heading on a trip to Thailand and looking for some inspiration, check out this Pai travel guide covering the 11 top things to do in Pai. Pai is well known for it’s relaxed, hippie atmosphere and it certainly lived up to that reputation. There are loads of cheap places to stay and eat, and the whole town moves at a slow pace. It’s one of those places that you’ll end up longer than you planned to be!

Guy carrying a girl piggy back over a metal bridge with dark wooden plank floor

Things To Do In Pai Thailand

Pai is located in the Mae Hong Soon Province in Northern Thailand. The centre of town has loads of great places to chill, eat and drink. But when looking for things to see and do, it’s all dotted around the large surrounding area.

Like many places in Southeast Asia, the best way to get around here is to rent a scooter or bike. If you haven’t ridden one before, here’s probably the best place to try. The roads are quiet and in the most part pretty decent. I’d certainly take learning here over an Indian city any day of the week!

A guy sitting on a petrol scooter

11 Top Things To Do In Pai

1. Pai Canyon

A drone shot of a reddish-brown canyon area with treest

First on the list has to be Pai Canyon. Some people spend hours scrambling around the canyon. With narrow ridges and some terrifying drops to the side, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

When the canyon really comes alive is in the evening. Being up here at sunset is a kind of ‘rite-of-passage’ moment for visitors here. Grab some snacks in town before heading here and maybe a beer or two (remember you have to ride home though!)

One tip worth mentioning is to make sure you wear comfortable shoes before you go for any ambitious scrambles.

2. Sai Ngam Hot Springs

A couple relaxing at hot springs in the forest - girl on the edge, boy floating in the water

There are quite a few hot springs in and around Pai, the most popular is probably Tha Pai, but our favourite was the Sai Ngam hot spring.

Firstly it’s not as crowded as the Tha Pai hot spring. Secondly it’s a lot cheaper to get in for the same experience. The only downside is that it’s a bit out of town to the North, but it’s an enjoyable ride through the local countryside.

You can spend as long as you want here and if you’re like us, you’ll find it hard to get out of the lovely warm water.

Tip: It’s totally FREE to get in if you turn up before the people that work on the security gate. The lady who owned our guesthouse gave us this information and she was right. We’re not sure exactly what time they start but we turned up before 7:30am and there was no one around.

3. White Buddha Statue – Chedi Phra That Mae Yen

A large white buddha statue with a couple sitting on steps either side

The White Buddha Statue overlooking the town of Pai is another great sunset location. It’s pretty close to town so doesn’t take long to get here or back.

The climb up is over 300 stairs and can be tough if it’s really hot. Another good reason to go late in the day when the temperature starts to drop a little.

4. Land Split

A man overlooking a land split canyon from above
A girl walking in the land split canyon in Pai

The area suffered a large earthquake back in 2008. As a result there is a huge crack in the earth, straight through a farmers field. You can now visit the farm and walk up and around the split.

When you get back to the farm, he presents a platter of his produce and juice for a small donation. It’s amazing, organic fruit, and you can’t get fresher than straight from his back yard!

5. Pam Bok Waterfall

A narrow waterfall in a canyon

Pam Bok Waterfall is a bit further along the same road as the Land Split. It’s completely free to park and go up to the waterfall. You follow a set of steps around through the gorge and then you’ll see the waterfall at the end.

It was a pretty impressive waterfall when we went although that was during rainy season. We’ve heard from others that it’s not so mighty if you go at the height of the dry season. That said it’s a nice place in the shade and you can take a dip in the pool to cool off.

One good thing was it seemed less crowded than some of the tourist spots around Pai.

6. Bamboo Bridge

A long bamboo bridge with bamboo hut at the end among rice fields in Thailand

The Bamboo Bridge is also on the same road as the Land Split and Pam Bok Waterfall. So it definitely makes sense to leave enough time and see these 3 in a row on the same day.

It’s a super long bridge made out of woven bits of bamboo. It stretches through a huge expanse of rice fields. Again this is better in rainy season because the rice will be lush and green.

They have a few swings and seats placed around the bridge. It’s nice to just chill in one of the spots and watch the water buffalo roaming the fields. There’s also a beautiful temple in the forest if you go all the way to the end of the bridge. It’s only 30 Baht to get in, so well worth the entrance fee!

7. Pai Street Food

Someone serving noodles at a street food stall

The street food along Walking Street in Pai is just incredible, and the stalls open every single day! There’s so many stalls and you can get just about anything not just local food.

There are some great restaurants and cafes, so we went to those in the mornings or for lunch. Then we ended up getting food at the stalls most nights. The bonus is that some bars are happy for you to take street food in. Make sure to ask first though!

8. Nightlife

A "Gin specials" chalkboard price list in Thailand

Pai’s Nightlife is pretty electric. There are so many bars and restaurants everywhere in the centre of town that open late. There’s also loads of places that do deals on beer and cocktails. Take a stroll around and see what deals are on the boards outside!

9. Chinese Village – Santichon

A couple stood on a large, heart-shaped, metal walkway

The Santichon village on the outskirts of Pai is home to the Yunnan people of Southern China. The village has some traditional looking gates and buildings. They’ve also now built a few attractions here, but it feels a bit commercial.

It’s worth going up here to see the viewpoint and it’s a good place to stop for some refreshments.

10. Mor Paeng Waterfall

A girl sat on the edge of a cascading wide waterfall

Mor Paeng Waterfall is a really cool spot. There are actually a few different waterfalls and pools dotted along here. If it’s wet enough you can slide down some of the smooth rock surfaces!

It’s a great place to just hang around, maybe take some snacks and drinks with you and you’ll easily spend a few hours here.

The one downside is it can get really busy as it’s probably the most popular of the falls around Pai. You could see that as a positive if you’re looking to meet some fellow travellers!

11. Pai Memorial Bridge

A man carrying a woman piggy back over a metal bridge with dark wooden plank floor

Last on our list of things to do in Pai is the Memorial Bridge. It’s not so much of a must see as the rest of the list but it’s definitely worth a quick stop. It’s not far from Pai Canyon, and since the Canyon is an absolute must, it’s worth a small detour to see the Bridge.

More Things to Do Around Pai

If you have more time and are looking for something else to do then you can visit Tham Lod Cave. Admittedly, this is a little way out of Pai, and we ran out of time to make it there, but felt it was worth including.

It’s around 50km north of the town along scenic, winding roads. Tham Lod is a limestone cave system that stretches for approximately 1.6 kilometers. The cave is known for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites formations, as well as the Pang Mapha River that flows through it.

Tham Lod cave is not only a natural wonder but also home to various wildlife, including bats and swiftlets. The cave is accessible by boat, and you need to take a guided tour on a bamboo raft to see all of it.

You can choose to see one, two, or all three caves and the prices are THB 200, THB 250, and THB 500 per group respectively and the groups are no more than three people. If you’re travelling solo and looking to save some money, try to join up with another traveller or two at the entrance.

How to Get to Pai

The best way to get to Pai is via bus from the larger city of Chiang Mai. You can book the tickets online here for around 200THB / $7, or you can usually buy tickets at the Chiang Mai Arcade 2 Bus station. But it’s definitely worth booking in advance as it’s a very popular route.

How Long Should I Spend in Pai?

You can do most of the things on our Pai itinerary in two days, but three or four days is better if you can. Even if you run out of activities before then, the food and atmosphere is so enjoyable, you won’t mind staying longer.

Where to Stay in Pai

One of the most unique stays in Pai is the Pai Village Boutique Resort. It’s located on the banks of the Pai River, and has rustic wooden cottages surrounded by tropical gardens. At around $60 a night it’s at the expensive end for the area, but there are plenty of cheaper options available in prime locations around the town.

11 Top Things To Do In Pai

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