Far in north Thailand, Pai (ปาย) has always been the favourite for backpackers and despite recent rise in its popularity, it still is a perfect destination if you want to head to an easy-going, laid back town. Pai scores perfect be its night life (with live music scene) or its lush green countryside.
On our way across Mae Hong Son Loop (Motorbike trip), we reached Pai after negotiating notorious 762 curves on the way from Chiang Mai to Pai. This itself becomes an achievement for you and is worth mentioning when you tell that you have been to Pai.
We stayed in Pai for a day and are writing to suggest fellow travellers how they can plan their one day Pai itinerary. Please note that this is power packed itinerary and you have to drop few places in case you want to have a relaxed trip. Decide as per your choice.
- Visit Pai Memorial Bridge right at the city Entrance
- Watch Sunrise at Yun Lai viewpoint in Ban Santichon Chinese Village
- Experience Mor Paeng Waterfall, one of 4 Pai Waterfalls
- Visit Wat Nam Hu on way back to Pai
- Relax at Pai Hot Springs in Afternoon
- Watch Sunset at Pai Canyon
- Send a postcard to yourself from Pai
- Explore Night Life at Pai Night Market and Walking Street
- Stay at a Farm Stay in Pai – Away from city
- Chill out at Pai – Backpackers’ paradise
(Go to the Top) Pai Memorial Bridge has its own history. It was built during second world war as Japanese army forced local villagers to build this bridge for crossing Pai river (in turn to attach Burma). But as they left after war in 1946, they burnt down this bridge. All villagers came together and rebuilt the wooden bridge over the Pai rive known as famous Pai Memorial Bridge. As you reach Pai, you can take a quick halt at Pai Memorial Bridge right at city entrance.
(Go to the Top) Yun Lai Sunrise Viewpoint is a Pai trip delight as you can take a good early morning walk through the famous Ban Santichon Chinese Village (หมู่บ้านสันติชล), another Pai attraction. In case you are lucky and skies are clear, you may enjoy amazing views from the top as sun rises behind mountains. And in case it is all mist and a sea of clouds, you can enjoy the feel of the place with popular Chinese tea and buns.
You can read more about our experience here – Yun Lai Sunrise Viewpoint at Ban Santichon Chinese Village
(Go to the Top) Pai has for waterfalls around it and in case you are staying longer in Pai, you can go for a waterfall hunt drive. Mor Paeng Waterfall is close to Ban Santichon Chinese Village, 4 Kms drive on the same road. This is a 3-stage waterfall that comes to its best in rainy season. Visit during morning hours to avoid day crowd and rush.
You can read more about our experience here – Mor Paeng Waterfall
(Go to the Top) Wat Nam Hu (วัดน้ำฮู ) is Pai’s famous Buddhist temple on the same road that leads to Yun Lai Sunrise Viewpoint and Mor Paeng Waterfall. It houses sacred Buddhist imade said to once have emitted holy water from its head. Statuses of Cocks lined up at the temple boundary is quite intriguing.
(Go to the Top) North Thailand has multiple Hot Springs and Pai has its own share with 3 Hot Springs in and around City. Pai Hot Springs are relaxing but with 300 Bahts, most people find them overpriced. Sai Ngam Hot Spring (around 15 kilometers from Pai) cost 20 Bahts and is a great alternative. For more relaxed settings, you may head to Pai Hot Springs Spa Resort which cost around 100 Bhats and you can enjoy in Hot Spring pools.
We skipped a visit to Pai Hot Springs as we already had visited Chiang Dao Hot Springs twice previous day only.
(Go to the Top) Pai Canyon is another top destination in Pai. This is a serene and scenic canyon with narrow hiking trails that provide beautiful valley views overlooking Pai city. Head to Pain Canyon to enjoy sun set views. We were short of time and thus missed a trip to Pai Canyon but would recommend a visit to our readers for sure.
(Go to the Top) It is a popular trend to send a postcard to yourself from Pai driven by a famous Thai movie. Following the trend, we too headed to Pai Post Office and became a part of this tradition by dropping a postcard to ourselves from this mountain city.
(Go to the Top) A mix of colours, smell, sound, taste and vibrance, Pai Night Market (Pai Walking Street) is the most happening place to head after dusk. Tailor cut for tourists but still with no cajoling vendors and with reasonable prices, this night market sets itself different from other night markets in Thailand. You will feel relaxed and rejuvenated while taking a walk through Pai Night Market with bars and restaurants lined up on street sides and happening live music scene.
You can read more about our experience here: Pai Night Market Walking Street – Colours, Smell and Taste
(Go to the Top) Pai has got some awesome stay options and we will suggest to find a stay option far from the city traffic. We had stayed at Pai Punthong Resort, a farm stay far from the city. You should try to find an option where you can lay back and rejuvenate your soul.
(Go to the Top) This is the most paramount thing to do in Pai. One day is not at all enough for Pai. You should plan to stay here at least for few days. Even if you would try to cover above all one after another, you will not get time to soak the beauty and would be rushing around. So stay for few days, get a scooter and chill out in Pai.
We hope that our post helps you explore this backpackers’ paradise better. Please drop us a comment in case you need any additional details or have more to share that we can include on our page to help fellow travellers better.