Photo: Santichong vista.

Nam Hoo and Santichong villages

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While most of the villages in the Pai Valley are quite modern, a clutch of three adjacent villages to the northwest make for an interesting trip. While they are a key feature of any of Pai’s touted day trips, this makes a good side-trip to do yourself if you have your own scooter.

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Once on your chariot, follow the continuation of Chaisongkran Road past the hospital until it reaches the broad Pai bypass. Here you’ll need to cross over and take the first lane on the right signposted Nam Hoo. Nam Hoo village is an old Shan settlement with an attractive wat that's home to an interesting Buddha image. You’ll see the temple on the left as you enter the village, with a pool and fountain sited in front of the main hall.

Wat Nam Hoo. Photo taken in or around Nam Hoo and Santichong villages, Pai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Wat Nam Hoo. Photo: Mark Ord

Inside, you’ll find the one metre or so tall bronze image, known as Phra Un-Meuang, said to have been cast by legendary King Naresuan himself around the turn of the 17th century in honour of his sister, who’d been kidnapped by the Burmese. Holy water is rumoured to emerge from the statue’s head and any efforts to move it elsewhere have been met with conspicuous failure.

Continuing up the hill, the next village you’ll reach is an old Kuomintang settlement named Santichong. As with a string of such spots across northern Thailand, such as Mae Salong, Ban Khum (Doi Ang Khan) and Pathang (Phu Chee Fah), fleeing Chinese Republican army units known as KMT were allowed to settle in Thailand after defeat by Chairman Mao’s forces in return for assisting Thai forces to combat their own communist insurgents. There’s a wide Chinese-style gate as you enter the village, followed by an array of seriously kitsch roadside attractions. These include cafes, souvenir shops and tea-tasting salons housed in "traditional" ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
This is too far to do on foot (Mor Paeng Waterfall is around nine kilometres from Pai) and too steep for most bicycles so if you haven’t got your own means of motorised transport you’ll have to sign up for a day trip. Otherwise allow a good hour’s riding time on a bike or scooter including stops. Take Chaisongkran past the hospital to the ring-road, take a left then first right and continue straight on.

Location map for Nam Hoo and Santichong villages

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Popular attractions in Pai

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

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

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Pai.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Pai.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Pai.
 Read up on how to get to Pai, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Pai? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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