The tourist guide to discover the small city of Pai, a beautiful place lost in the mountains of northern Thailand: description, climate, to see, to do, transport, accommodation, maps, culture…
Pai is a small and very touristy town, located in the mountains of northwest Thailand, in the province of Mae Hong Son. It is the right place for trekking enthusiasts.
Pai has everything it takes to satisfy its many visitors, a post office, a hospital, many guests-houses, restaurants, bars, cybercafé, and massage parlors.
Accommodation and food are very decent and cheap. The restaurants offer local, Thai and Western cuisine, with homemade bread.
The city is 112 km from the town of Mae Hong Son.
Pai is surrounded by mountains and offers a beautiful natural landscape in a lush natural setting and good fresh air.
Many tribes still lead a peaceful traditional life there even if in recent years the inhabitants have had to adapt to the many tourist visits, which has also allowed them to develop new activities.
It was mainly agricultural (rice, fruit, lychee, cotton) a few years ago, but tourism has since developed considerably, providing a new source of income.
The nights are often cold; you need to bring warm clothes, the guesthouses all offer good warm blankets.
There are three seasons
Cold season: 12-28 °C from November to March
Hot season: 24-35 °C from April to June
Rainy season: 24-32°C from July to September.
This temple is located in the Wiang Tai region, near the bus station. In its center is a large Thai-style cherry tree surrounded by small chédis.
Wat Nam Hu
Wat Nam Hu is about 3 kilometers from the market. It houses a statue of Buddha 60 cm wide and 76 inches high.
Chedi Phra That Mae Yen
Chedi Phra That Mae Yen is located on the top of a small hill. From the Pai center, it will take you 30 minutes to walk to get there. From the top, you will have a beautiful view of the city and its surroundings.
Pang Lisu Village Pae
This Lisu village is popular, the villagers are friendly with tourists, and you can take pictures of them. If you want to buy Lisu products, such as clothes, hats and other trinkets as souvenirs, we advise you to buy them here.
The Pai Canyon
If you decide to go, you should bring good sneakers and expect to come back dusty, you should also be careful, there are dangerous passages, and nothing is planned for safety.
Mae Yen Waterfall
Mae Yen Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Pai area; the water flows over several levels forming like steps. It is about 7 kilometers from the city center.
Pai has no shortage of activities, difficult to get bored in this small town.
Here is a list of things you can do:
– Rafting along the Pai River
– Caving or trekking
– bike or motorcycle ride
– Jungle trekking: Pai is used as a base camp to discover the hill tribes. It is possible to trek in the jungle and spend the night with a tribe to discover their way of life. In Pai, guides and porters can be found if necessary.
– Medicinal sauna and traditional Thai massage.
– Thai cooking classes.
A festive city
And if you still have some energy left at the end of the day, you should know that the evenings are also lively.
You will find many restaurants and bars with live music, and food stands in the evening, but be careful, it can get very cold in the evening.
Finding a hotel in Pai
You will find the best quality/price ratio by comparing offers through our partner: Hotels in Pai on Hotellook
To compare transport prices, check timetables or book a flight, bus, train or boat ticket see: 12go.asia
You can reach Pai easily from the bus station of Chiang Mai or Mae Hong Son. It takes about 3h30 by bus to reach the city from Chiang Mai and about the same time from Mae Hong Son.
The agencies and hotels of Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son offer minibus services, for about 150 baht and 2h30 of travel.
On a motorcycle
Many travelers rent a motorcycle in Chiang Mai and make the trip. But I advise you not to do it if you don’t master the bike correctly, the road is beautiful but dangerous, full of zig-zags and very slippery after a rain.
I had an accident in a bend and saw a car go into the ditch the same day; it just braked but continued to slide by itself to land in the ditch.
Traveling in the city
Pai is tiny, you can walk, and if you want to visit the surroundings, you can rent a motorcycle in town between 100 to 150 baht per day or a bike for just 50 baht per day.
But if you plan to visit the surroundings with your bike, you need to have a good thigh; it’s the mountain with its (very) high and low points!
Local Thais and Yao occupy the city; the latter preserve their traditions, traditional clothing, house style, food, and also festivals.
The Yao or Mien
They are people from southern China, there are about 60,000 of them in Thailand and represent one of the six main hill tribes. They are often called Yao but call themselves Mien (which means “Person” or “Lu-Mien”).
The majority of Thailand’s Mien population is located in the Chiang Rai region; they form a homogeneous group all speaking the same dialect. Their settlement in the country is believed to date from the mid-19th century, many of them from Laos and who immigrated during the war in 1975.
Loi Krathong, the festival of lights in Thailand, in November
Firecracker party in Wat Luang, starting in November
Kin Wo: New Year’s Eve celebration in Yao, February
Thai New Year’s Day, Songkran: April 13-15
Rocket festival in May
Video on Pai
A nice video of a motorcycle ride in and around the city.
You will find other maps on the forum: Pai Maps
Here is a well-done map of the city of Pai with many indications, hotels, restaurants, bars, guesthouses, massage parlors, travel agencies, rental agencies, shops…
Detailed map of the city
Map of the surroundings of Pai