Photo: The range of options are growing fast.

Where to stay in Pai

Our pick of the crop

Where to stay in Pai

If you’re wondering where to stay in Pai, here is our pick of the best places. Read on for our comparison of the key areas to stay along with an overview of the best times to visit Pai.

Agoda coupon: Get an extra 7% off selected properties with the coupon code
“Tfishpromo”

Booking.com

From huge holiday village-style resorts to tiny homestays offering a spare room or two, and from rundown bamboo shacks to chic boutique guesthouses, we reckon at last count Pai district had the best part of 400 or so various accommodation choices. This eclectic collection is scattered throughout the town, spreading along the river banks and reaching into the remotest corners and furthest villages of the Pai Valley.

Where is the best area to stay in Pai?

Your choice depends somewhat upon your means of transport and how you envisage your Pai stay panning out. If you reckon you’ll be busy day times and want to profit from the myriad bars and restaurants on offer, then an in-town room is ideal. On the other hand, if your itinerary involves large chunks of relaxing by a pool or kicking back on a balcony, then an out-of-town resort in perhaps one of the quieter surrounding villages could be a better choice.

Looking over the Pai valley.

Looking over the Pai valley. Photo: Mark Ord

If you’re planning on renting a motorbike, or even a bicycle, then that widens your radius but if you’re on foot then you’ll need to calculate an acceptable walking limit to and from town. Some hotels are well out of town and when we last visited during rainy season the bamboo footbridge linking the east bank resorts to Pai town had disappeared (this happens sometimes in the wet season) necessitating a long hike even from a spot directly opposite the town centre.

In Pai village
For travellers on a budget and especially those looking to be close to Pai’s creature comforts like bars, restaurants and cafes, staying in the centre of the town itself can be a smart move. There are dozens of places to stay and you’re also close to public transport. Staying downtown is also a good idea if you’re not planning on renting a scooter to get around on.

See our selection of the best places to stay in downtown Pai here.

On the far bank of the Pai River
While both sides of the Pai River are lined with resorts and guesthouses, the far (east) bank of the river is somewhat quieter—especially once you get a little further back from the river. For many, this area is essentially the best of both worlds, delivering on peace and quiet but keeping you within a manageable walking distance of Pai town should you want to head in to the big smoke come the evening. Also included here are a couple of properties a little to the north of town, heading towards the airport, which likewise deliver a bit more peace and quiet.

See our selection of the best places to stay outside downtown Pai here.

Further afield
If you’re less fussed about the distractions of Pai town and more looking for a rural countryside getaway, then opting for a guesthouse or resort in a more far-flung part of the Pai valley can be a good choice. There’ll be no booming noise from parties of the evening, nor spluttering motorbikes during the day. Think a gentle breeze and the sounds of splashing in the pool being about as animated as the scene gets. Do bear in mind that these properties are not walking distance to downtown Pai, so you will need to either hire your own transport or rely on transfers offered by the hotel or resort.

See our selection of the best places to stay well out of Pai here.

When to go to Pai

Pai attracts a substantial number of Chinese visitors throughout the year. July and August sees an influx of young Western backpackers thanks to European summer, while the cool season of November through to February is the signal for well-heeled foreigners and big city Thai tourists to hit the hills.

Pai can still be very pretty in the rainy season.

Pai can still be very pretty in the rainy season. Photo: Mark Ord

Prices vary accordingly, with the cheapest low season deals to be found between March and September, higher rates applied in October, November and January, February and the often frightening peak period supplements in place for Christmas and New Year.

Even popular Thai islands struggle to compete against Pai’s pricing fluctuations. For example, certain basic backpacker huts (they don’t warrant the word bungalow) jump from a 200 baht low season price to 1,500 baht, and a classic flashpacker 1,000 baht room increases to 5,000 during peak period. If you are on a budget, pick your season wisely!

Note that though low season represents the best value for money, some places can close down at relatively short notice during rainy months and in other spots discount rates often correspond to a downgrading in service and facilities.

Finally, while the majority of establishments are happy to take anyone, certain are very much stuck in niches so there are backpacker joints where you’d feel out of place if you’re over 25 and Thai country-style complexes where the service and aesthetic may not correspond to typical Western tastes.

Where to stay in Pai

Beginning with the backpacker/budget range we’d put forward the tiny Baan Sangheaun or perhaps Breeze of Pai’s garden cottages as representing good value for money, in-town suggestions at any time of year, with Yotaka also being a great low season option.

Cool off at one of our favourites, Pai Chan.

Cool off at one of our favourites, Pai Chan. Photo: Mark Ord

Moving up range slightly, but for the same period, Brook View and Baan Tawan with their exceptional gardens provide excellent flashpacker options while the centrally located but quiet Pai Cherkaew is our mid-range fave at any time of year. If you want to go upmarket then ignore the fancy Reverie’s published rates and check what online discounts you can dig up.

Out of town, Pai Chan and Bann Mai Konmuang Pai are both delightful and easily accessible spots with very reasonable budget rates and restrained high season supplements. Pai Klang Na is another flashpacker choice for all seasons. With superb views and no less than two pools, Belle Villa stands out if your budget stretches to midrange with the plush and lush Pura Vida offering great low season rates and being a good option for those with their own transport.

It’s difficult recommending anywhere in Pai during the period from Christmmas to Western New Year when peak season supplements are applied. Unless you have very deep pockets and are willing to forgo any value for money considerations, our advice would be to avoid it full stop. Spend a few extra days in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai province or check out one of the north’s numerous lesser known destinations instead, and hold your Pai visit until New Year’s is out of the way.

By


Our pick of the best places to stay in Pai

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Pai.


Search hotels in Pai

Arriving on:
Leaving on:
Guests:  

Popular attractions in Pai

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Pai.


Other places to stay

See below for more places to stay in Pai that are listed on Travelfish.org:


Top of page



Like what you see? Then you’ll love our newsletter

The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.



Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Pai? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


Top of page