Home Visit Mae Hong Son Pai: the guide to the small mountain town in northern Thailand

Pai: the guide to the small mountain town in northern Thailand

by Pierre To
10 minutes to read
The city of Pai

The tourist guide to discover the city of Pai, a nice town lost in the mountains of northern Thailand, description, climate, what to see, what to do, transport, accommodation, maps, culture...


Pai is a very touristy town that attracts both trekkers and partygoers.

It has everything to satisfy its many visitors, a post office, a hospital, numerous guets-houses, restaurants, bars, cybercafé and massage parlours.

The accommodation and food are very good and cheap.

The restaurants offer both Thai and international food, and you can even find homemade bread.

Pai city centre

City centre

Geographical location

It is a city located in the Mae Hong Son provincenear the Burmese border.

Mae Hong Son Province

Mae Hong Son

The city is 112 km from the Mae Hong Son city.

Pai is surrounded by mountains and offers a beautiful natural landscape with lush nature and fresh air.

Many tribes still lead a peaceful traditional life here, although in recent years the inhabitants have had to adapt to the many visits of tourists, which has also enabled them to develop new activities.


It was mainly agricultural (rice, fruit, lychee, cotton) a few years ago but tourism has developed a lot since then, bringing new sources of income.

Pai shopping street

Pai shopping street


Nights are often cool, so bring warm clothes, the guesthouses all offer good warm blankets.

Three seasons ago

Cool season: 12-28 °C from November to March
Warm season: 24-35 °C from April to June
Rainy season: 24-32 °C from July to September.

What to see

Wat Klang

This temple is located in the region of Wiang TaiIt is close to the bus station. In the centre is a large Thai-style chedi surrounded by small chedi.

Wat Nam Hu

The Wat Nam Hu is about 3 kilometres from the market. It houses a statue of Buddha 60 cm wide and 76 high inches long.

Shedi Phra That Mae Yen

The Shedi Phra That Mae Yen is located on top of a small hill.

From the centre of PaiIt is a 30 minute walk to the top. From the top you have a beautiful view of the city and its surroundings.

In the vicinity

Lisu Village of Pang Pae

This village Lisu is very visited, the villagers are friendly with tourists and you can take pictures of them.

If you want to buy products LisuWe recommend that you buy these items, such as clothes, hats and other souvenirs, here.

Pai Canyon

Pai CanyonPai Canyon (Kong Lan in Thai) is very vast, it is a magnificent place with impressive landscapes. It is located 8km from the city, in the direction of Chiang Mai.

If you decide to go, you should bring good trainers and expect to come back dusty.

You also have to be careful, there are dangerous passages and nothing is provided for safety.

Mae Yen Waterfall

The Mae Yen waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls around PaiThe water flows over several levels, forming a kind of step.

It is about 7 kilometres from the city centre.

To do

Pai There is no shortage of activities in this small town, and it is difficult to get bored.

Here is a list of things you can do:

Rafting along the Pai River

Caving or trekking

- ballad in Bicycle or in motorbike

Trekking in the jungle : Pai serves as a base camp to discover the hill tribes.

It is possible to trek into the jungle and spend the night with a tribe to discover their way of life.

À PaiGuides and porters can be found if required.

Medicinal sauna and traditional Thai massage or Burmese.

- Course Thai cuisine.

Bridge to Pai

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.

There are many restaurants and bars with live music and food stalls in the evenings, but beware, it can get very cold in the evening.

Find a hotel in Pai

You can find the best hotel deals in Pai with Booking.com


You can get an idea of the transport prices or book your tickets via our partner 12go.asia :

Powered by 12GB system

By bus

You can join Pai easily from the bus station in Chiang Mai or that of Mae Hong Son.

It takes about 3.5 hours by bus to reach the city from Chiang Mai and about the same time since Mae Hong Son.

By minibus

The agencies and hotels of Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son offer minibus services, for about 150 baht and a 2.5 hour journey.

By motorbike

Many travellers hire a motorbike in Chiang Mai and make the journey.

But I advise you not to do it if you don't have a perfect command of the bike, the road is beautiful but dangerous, full of zig zags and very slippery after a rain.

I myself had an accident on a bend and on the same day saw a car go off into the ditch, it just braked but kept sliding off by itself and landed in the ditch.

Getting around the city

To get around the city centre you can hire a bike or walk, it's not very big.

If you want to visit the area, you can rent a motorbike in town for 100-150 baht per day or a bicycle for just 50 baht per day.

But if you plan to visit the area by bike, you need to have good thighs, it's the mountain with its (very) highs and lows!

Pai Street

Pai Street

See also : Transport in Thailand, getting around in the land of smiles.


The city is occupied by Thaïs premises and YaoThe latter retain their traditions, traditional clothing, house style, food and also festivals.

The Yao or Mien

Yao woman

Originally from southern China, there are about 60,000 of them in Thailand and they are one of the six main hill tribes.

They are often called Yao but call themselves the Mien (which means "Nobody" or "Lu-Mien").

The majority of Thailand's Mien population is found in the Chiang Rai region, and they form a homogeneous group all speaking the same dialect.

Their settlement in the country is said to date back to the mid-19th century, with many coming from Laos and immigrating during the war in 1975.

Some holidays:

Loy Kra Tong The night of the full moon in November
Firecracker Festival at Wat Luang, starting in November
Kin Wo Yao New Year celebration in February
Thai New Year Festival 13-15 April
Rocket Festivalin May, to ask for rain

Video on Pai

A nice video of a motorbike ride in and around the city.

Pai cards

Here is a map of the city of Pai well done with many indications, hotels, restaurants, bars, guesthouses, massage parlours, travel agencies, rental agencies, shops...

Reminder: to see the image at its original size, click on it, then right-click and select "View Image".

Detailed map of the city

Pai card with indication

Map of the area around Pai

Map of the area around Pai

Google map

Source: wikipedia.org. Photos: Pai street: Kansaikiwi; Pai landscape: ShahJahan; Shopping street: Tniehoff; Roof of a house: Tyen; Yao woman from China: Rex Pe; Canyon of Pai: James Antrobus Wooden bridge and Pai city centre: mattmangum 

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