Nearly 130 kilometers and hundreds of bends from Chiang Mai lies Pai, an attractive mountain village with many attractions. There’re a lot of awesome sights in Pai that are worth a visit. After a tough trip in the minivan I arrived quite nauseated and wrecked. Because it was raining and it was practically deserted in the walking street, there was a gloomy atmosphere. Is this the mountain village that everyone is so enthusiastic about?
As soon as it stopped raining in the evening, the walking street finally started to get lively. Everywhere cozy lights went on and stalls were set up. This is the atmosphere I had hoped for! This is Pai!
And in the vicinity of Pai there are many fun activities and sights to enjoy. These are 10 awesome things to do in Pai that are definitely worth it!
10 awesome sights in Pai
1. Pai Street
I already mentioned the Pai Walking Street. This street runs straight through the village. All the stalls are set up here from 4 p.m. and you can enjoy the tastiest street food. Pad Thai, noodles, dumplings, samosas, pizza, lasagna and desserts are all here. You must have eaten here once during your visit to Pai! You can also buy nice souvenirs.
2. Yun Lai viewpoint
Rent a scooter and visit the Yun Lai viewpoint. From here you have a super view of Pai and the beautiful mountains. You recognize the way to the viewpoint through a Chinese arch as an entrance. This road passes through a Chinese village. In the end, the road is actually steep and not of the best quality, so drive carefully.
3. Mo Paeng waterfall
After all this sweating it’s very relaxed to cool down at the Mo Paeng waterfall. The waterfall has deep sections at different levels that you can swim in. Some people jump in from a great height or slide from the stones into the water, but I wouldn’t do that myself!
The Mo Paeng waterfall is on the route of the viewpoint and that’s why these two sights in Pai are easy to combine. The road to the waterfall is new and in perfect condition!
The surroundings of Pai are ideal for a nice trekking. You’ll see beautiful mountains, rivers, rice fields and some small villages.
For example, do a one or multi-day trekking from a guesthouse in the village of Pang Mapha. Unlike Pai, this village isn’t touristy at all so far. Pang Mapha can be reached within an hour by bus from Pai. A very nice guesthouse in Pang Mapha is PenCave Guesthouse. The owner Pen is super sweet and you want to stay in her guesthouse for several nights.
5. Lod cave
The Lod Cave is perhaps one of the coolest sights in Pai, but it is also the furthest away. This huge cave is located about 50 kilometers from Pai. A guide with a giant oil lamp leads you through the cave and points out several rock formations that resemble all kinds of animals. Sometimes you need a great imagination!
A ticket costs 400-500 baht per bamboo raft that can accommodate 3 to 4 people. The Lod Cave is easy to combine with a trek from Pang Mapha because it is very close together. For example, it’s within walking distance from PenCave Guesthouse.
6. Hot springs
In the vicinity of Pai there are several natural hot springs where you can relax. For all hot springs applies, the earlier you go, the quieter it is.
The Pai Hot springs Spa Resort costs 100 baht. Sai Ngam hot springs are on the way to the Lod cave and cost 200 baht. The most expensive hot springs are the Ta Pai Hot springs and cost 300 baht.
7. Pai canyon
The Pai canyon is located about 8 kilometers from Pai and is easily accessible by scooter. It’s very nice to walk on the rocks, but be careful! It’s fun to visit the canyon during sunset, but you’re certainly not alone. Many tours end at the Pai Canyon, making it full of minivans around that time. Entrance is free.
8. White Buddha Pai
On top of the mountain is the big white Buddha. After more than 350 steps, you can admire this Buddha up close and enjoy the view. Dress appropriately and cover your shoulders and knees when visiting. Entrance is free.
9. Bamboo bridge
This hundreds of meters long bamboo bridge that runs over the rice fields is located a bit from Pai. The road to the bamboo bridge is long and quite poor quality. Some driving experience is therefore recommended. Entrance is 30 baht.
10. Memorial bridge
This bridge was built during the Second World War by workers and elephants who towed wooden poles from the forests on behalf of the Japanese. The bridge has since been restored and is a popular attraction among Thai visitors. Entrance is free.
Transport to visit the sights in Pai
Pai is best explored by scooter. The roads are generally good and not too steep and winding. So it’s also easy to do for inexperienced scooter drivers. Above all, keep to the left! You can rent scooters in the center of Pai for 100 baht per day. My first ever scooter experience I gained in Pai actually.
If you prefer not to rent a scooter, but do visit many places of interest in Pai, the many tour operators offer a solution. Many half and full day tours are offered so you just get to see a lot.
Taxis are available in several places in Pai because many tour agencies have a taxi service. Grab taxis are not available in Pai.
In my opinion, Pai is highly recommended in the North of Thailand. The nice atmosphere and many sights in Pai make the village very nice for a few days to a week.