Things to do in Pai
Pai is a small, chilled out town in Northern Thailand. There are so many things to do and see here so check out our list of the best things to do in Pai!
1. Hit the night market!
The bustling little street right in the middle of town is known as Pai walking street – or food heaven as we like to call it. It’s full of little stalls selling food galore; sushi, barbecued meats, Indian food, spring rolls, pancakes and all of the Thai favourites. Did we mention it costs almost nothing? We got 3 spring rolls for 20 THB or 45p! If street food isn’t your thing, there are various little-seated food ‘stalls’. You can order off of the menu, sit back, stuff your faces all whilst people watching. The street food starts at around 4 pm and finishes at 11 pm
This well-known street also has enough trinket and souvenir shops to make sure you leave Pai with a packed backpack! From beautiful jewellery to tie-dye shirts, from alluring ornaments to novelty goods, Pai sells just about anything to tickle your fancy.
2. Visit the bunny cafe!
The bunny café in Pai was a great surprise. We only found out about this little gem on the bus from Chiang Mai from a fellow traveller. It’s sure to say, visiting the bunny café was one of the first things we did when we arrived! Located near the main walking street, you can relax in this cute little café; drinking tea or eating ice cream whilst you cuddle the adorable little bunnies. Looking out onto the street as shocked faces went by was also quite fun as people couldn’t quite figure out why there were so many rabbits running around.
3. Try strawberry everything at strawberry Pai!
Love Strawberry Pai is a great little stop off whilst your exploring Pai by scooter. The strawberry café offers strawberry everything, shakes, cakes and sweet treats. It’s a cool spot to hang out and chill on a sunny day whilst taking in the beautiful view of the surrounding fields. Top tip: Don’t forget the photo opportunity with the giant strawberries!
4. Go to Pom Bok waterfall
Who doesn’t love chasing waterfalls? We couldn’t miss the opportunity to add another fall to our ever growing list so hoped on the scooter and drove to Pom Bok. This waterfall is in a secluded spot and a little difficult to reach by foot when you arrive, so if you like adventure then this one is for you! Make sure to check the water level before jumping into the pool – we don’t want any injuries here!
Top tip: Whilst parking the scooter at the waterfall be careful!! We saw people break their bikes/fall off because they went too fast on the gravelled car park.
5. Pai land split
The land split in Pai is quite a unique experience. It is essentially a giant split in the land caused by an earthquake in 2008. The ground began to crack and the farmer whose land it was thought of a pretty cool idea – to turn it into a tourist attraction! It’s definitely a cool thing to see and we spent around 30 minutes walking around and exploring the area. After exploring, for a small donation the farmer and his family will fill you up with various homegrown produce. Roselle wine, roselle juice, peanuts and banana chips were amongst the snacks you could try and set you up for another couple of hours exploring the rest of Pai.
6. Pai Canyon
Pai Canyon is not to be missed on your visit to Pai! You can spend as long or as little time here as you’d like exploring the area or just taking in the magnificent view. Hike, explore or just find a place to watch the sunset with a beer in hand.
7. Walk the bamboo bridge – Kho Ku So
This bridge is made entirely out of bamboo and is another attraction not to be missed whilst in Pai. This pathway was originally built to allow monks to easily cross the rice fields and forest to access the temple Wat Hauy Kai Kiri. We enjoyed the peaceful walk across the rickety bridge and being entertained by the water buffalo.
8. Watch the sunset at sundown playground
This is a place that not many people know about and only opened 5 months ago! Sundown Playground is not too far from Pai walking street on a scooter. This funky kids playground style, wooden structure with a slide and hammock style chill out area is the perfect place to watch the sunset! Did I mention that this chill out café hidden in a secluded spot is surrounded by mountains and rice paddies? The owner is also super sweet and the place offers lots of cool, comfy cushions to sit back on and relax after a day of exploring. The café also offers yummy food and drinks at a reasonable price. We ended up visiting here numerous times on our short trip to Pai.
9. Rent a scooter
One of our favourite things to do! When you arrive in Pai, it’s a must to rent a scooter. We paid 100 TBH (£2) a day to rent ours from ‘Aya’. You can find Aya here. Many stores will ask to keep your passport as a deposit for the bike – we recommend never leaving your passport with anyone! This could be a way for them to make you pay a hefty amount of money to get your passport back!
Pai is a very hilly place so it’s best to rent a 125cc, the extra power will help you explore Pai quicker and safer. You might have also heard about the ‘Pai Tattoo’. This is NOT a cool ink job people get – this is what the locals and tourists refer to when people injure themselves falling off scooters in Pai. Don’t drink and drive people! As long as you’re safe and confident, you’ll have the time of your life exploring Pai on a scooter.
Before you rent or ride a scooter take a look at our best tips for doing so!
Top tips for renting a scooter
10. Climb the stairs to the White Buddha -Wat Phra That Mae Yen
Climbing the 353 steps to the White Budda is a must in our opinion. The views at the top of the surrounding valleys are not to be missed. Don’t forget to cover your shoulders and knees to be respectful. Entrance is free and we recommend going early morning or late evening to avoid the suns heat.
11. Memorial Bridge
If you’re planning to visit the likes of Pombok Waterfall or Love Strawberry Pai then this historical landmark is worth a stop on your way. The original bridge was built in World War || by the Japanese army as they needed a route between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son in order to attack Burma. The bridge you see today is not actually the original because the Japanese burnt it down when they left. The locals, however, placed a great dependency on the bridge and had to rebuild the wooden bridge over the Pai river.
12. Chill out!
Pai is one of the best places to chill out in a hammock, listening to music or reading a book. No matter where you stay you’ll be surrounded by beautiful nature and the sounds of wildlife.
13. Hang out at Fluid
Fluid is a cool spot not far from walking street with a great pool! You’ll find people lounging around, sunbathing, eating delicious food from the bar and having a ball in the water. It’s only 60baht pp (£1.50) and is worth it for the atmosphere alone. A great place to spend a couple of hours or even a full day.
14. Party Pai!
Whatever you like to do in the evening, we can guarantee Pai has what you’re looking for. From late night cafes to open mic nights, live jazz music and jungle parties with DJ’s Pai has it all.
As you may have noticed, Pai has been one of our favourite stops in SE Asia. If you can, try and allow 3+ days in Pai. Nearly everyone we spoke to extended their stay or wished they could have stayed longer.
Where to stay in Pai
Budget – Baan Mai Sak
One of the top reviewed hostels in Pai. If you’re looking to meet other travellers and are on a tight budget, this is the place to stay.
Mid Price – Otium Boutique Room
An affordable, clean and perfectly located guesthouse for you to easily explore. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, then definitely check out this place.
Luxury – Pai Island Resort
Pai isn’t known for its luxury resorts, but Pai Island Resort is the exception. The boutique hotel is set in a tranquil setting and is the perfect place to relax
For more places to stay in Pai you can check the latest prices here.
Heading to Thailand? Check out our top tips.