From Chiang Mai to Pai it takes three hours to drive through the mountainous landscapes of Northern Thailand. This makes visiting Pai a great day trip from Chiang Mai or an easy travel day if you plan on spending more time.

This small “hippy” town has been gaining popularity with travelers who are seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of more urban destinations. Known for its breathtaking scenery and laid-back atmosphere, there are plenty of reasons to visit this tranquil haven.

In this article, I’ll go over how to get to Pai from Chiang Mai, list some of the awesome things to do in Pai and at the end of the article I’ll add any useful tips and information that will aid you in your trip to Northern Thailand.

From Chiang Mai to Pai

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Is Pai worth visiting? Pai is worth a visit for those seeking a laid-back and serene experience. Nestled in the mountains of Mae Hong Son province, Pai is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, hot springs, and a slower pace.
 
The town itself is known for its bohemian vibes, quirky cafes and, night markets. The surrounding area offers natural attractions like waterfalls and canyons, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

How to Get from Pai from Chiang Mai

The journey from Chiang Mai to Pai takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the mode of transportation. The most common and popular way is to take a bus or minivan from Chiang Mai to Pai. 

Buses and minivans depart from Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station regularly throughout the day. Another option is to rent a motorbike or car and drive to Pai. The journey is picturesque as it winds through the jungle. 

It’s important to note that the road to Pai from Chiang Mai is characterized by twists and turns, so cautious driving is advised. The journey itself becomes part of the adventure, as travelers traverse the mountainous terrain, passing through lush valleys and hillside villages. 

The trip to Pai is not just a destination but a memorable experience in its own right. 

Book your Ticket to Pai →

Things to do in Pai

Things to do in Pai

In this section I’ll go over some of the awesome things to do in Pai. Most of these activities are a bit outside of Pai, so you’ll want to feel comfortable driving a moped or be with someone who is.

Rent a Scooter & Tour the Countryside

Rent a moped at one of the many moped rentals in town. Since you will be driving outside of Pai rent a moped with over 100cc’s, it will cost you 150 BAHT for 24 hours, which is about $4.50 USD.

The country surrounding Pai is as beautiful as they come. Renting a two-wheel provides the freedom to visit natural wonders like Pai Canyon, More Paeng Waterfall, and the historic World War II Memorial Bridge.

The journey takes you through lush valleys, rice paddies, and small hillside villages. The ride to Yun Lai Viewpoint offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Pai Valley and surrounding mountains.

Rent a Scooter →

💡 Travel Tip: Make sure you have an international drivers license. It cost 20$ and its easy to get and gives you peace of mind.

Mor Pang Waterfall

The next thing to do in Pai is to see the More Pang Waterfall. If you are visiting Pai on a day trip from Chiang Mai, plan to get to the Mor Pang Waterfall before 11, as this is when some guided tours will arrive.  

This Pai waterfall is about a half hour moped ride from town. It’s easy to get to, just plug it into your google maps and it will take you to the entrance. There are also signs for the waterfall along the drive with your moped.

There are three tiers of waterfalls and its an easy hike to all of them. You can swim in the pools in front of some of the waterfalls and even use the slippery rocks as a slide.

Check the deepness of the pool before you try sliding down the rocks though! Once you’ve explored all the waterfalls hop back on the moped and go for a short drive. Its super scenic complete with rice fields and panoramic views!

Lunch at Earth Tone

One of the best places to eat lunch in Pai is at Earth Tone. Earth Tone Restaurant is located about a quarter mile outside of town across the street from the Maeyan Temple (the large White Buddha).

Earth Tone is a restaurant and health shop that offers vegan/vegetarian food. Some of the items on the menu include desserts, vegan ice-cream and kombucha. The menu is large and oh so delicious, you won’t be disappointed. They are closed on Saturdays so plan accordingly.

White Buddha Pai Temple

The White Buddha Pai Temple, also known as Wat Phra That Mae Yen, is a captivating cultural and spiritual landmark in Pai Thailand. Perced atop a hill, this iconic temple offers panoramic views of Pai Valley.
 
The centerpiece is a majestic white Buddha statue that stands tall against the backdrop of lush greenery. Make sure your shoulders are covered or you have a Sarang to wrap around your shoulders  If you are not dressed appropriately, you will not be able to climb the stairs to get to the top of the temple.

Pai Hot Springs

If you never miss up the opportunity for some R&R, head out of town and go to the Secret Hot Springs. It should be called the ‘Not So’ Secret Hot Springs as the secrets out.

If you’re not staying at the resort it costs 100 BAHT to use the facilities which include the hot springs and a large, inviting swimming pool. Relax and spend the rest of the afternoon hopping back and forth from the hot springs to the pool.

Night Market

Another awesome thing to do in Pai is to check out the night market. The main drag comes alive with the night market. Spend the night strolling up and down the Pai walking street sampling all the tasty street food, do some shopping, and check out the new and used book store.

There are dozens of food vendors selling all types of food made to order. I’m talking falafel’s, pad thai, healthy wraps, fruit shakes, and you name your flavor of waffles or bite size pancakes. If you crave it, you can probably get it.

Full yet? To end your day, grab a cocktail at one of the bars that line the night market street. If you love live music and an abundance of healthy foods then a trip to Pai Thailand is a maus!

Where to Stay in Pai Thailand

Where to Stay in Pai

Soi One Boutique Bedrooms

The location at the  Soi One Boutique Bedrooms was perfect, directly in town, steps away from the night market/ walking street but tucked away that it was quiet to sleep.  The rooms were big, comfortable, and clean.

Montis Resort

The Montis Resort offers a laidback holiday experience.   All the rooms have stylish designs and panoramic mountain views. 

The resort is rustic yet luxurious complete with an outdoor heated pool, fitness center, and an archery range.  There is a free shuttle service that will take you into town, although its only a 5-10 minute walk.  

Reverie Siam Resort

⭐️ Top pick

The Reverie Siam Resort is a beautiful resort has 2 outdoor pools and a restaurant that is open all day serving Mediterranean and Thai cuisine.  And they have wine! 🍷

Rooms are decorated in traditional Thai styles and comes with a private balcony, air conditioning and WiFi.  Located on the back of Pai River, this resort is just a 5-minute ride to walking Street.

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Pai Thailand Travel Guide
I'm Jess Traveling, Travel guide Pai Thailand
Pai Thailand Travel Guide
Chiang Mai to Pai | How to Get There & What to DoChiang Mai to Pai | How to Get There & What to DoChiang Mai to Pai | How to Get There & What to Do
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