Photo: Pai valley views.

Things to see and do


The Pai river winds through some very lush, pretty scenery. One relaxing and easy way to travel through it is by inner tube. Many guesthouses and travel agents around town can organise rental of a tube -- they are large and pretty comfortable for an hour or two. Generally, a tuk tuk or pick-up will take you upriver a few kilometres (exactly how far will depend upon water levels), from where you ... Read more about Tubing .

Bamboo rafting

A relaxing way to see the Pai river and local countryside, bamboo rafting takes you at a slow pace downriver on rafts made of bamboo poles lashed together. Between two and four passengers travel with a guide who propels the raft along with a long pole. Even without splashing, it's highly likely that you will get wet up to the ankles at the very least. Luggage should be left behind, and any ... Read more about Bamboo rafting .

White-water rafting

White-water rafting on the Pai river on a scenic stretch towards Mae Hong Son has become very popular, with plentiful rafting or combined trekking-rafting programmes offered by tour agents and guesthouses. There are day programmes, two-day rafting trips going all the way to Mae Hong Son or combined two- and three-day trekking and rafting options. Tours ending near Mae Hong Son will give you the ... Read more about White-water rafting .


The surrounds of Pai offer some lovely scenic landscapes for trekking, but be warned this area has been trekked for decades now, so you won't find any rarely visited villages. Walking straight out of Pai town gives you only fairly limited options as a lot of the surrounding area is unspectacular open farmland, and you have a fair distance to cover before getting into the forests and hills. For ... Read more about Trekking .


Walking Street The town’s best known market as far as visitors go is the daily Walking Street market which sets up along Chaisongkran and the northern end of Rungsiyanon Road from late afternoon till around 23:00, depending upon weather and business. The majority of stalls offer delectable Thai market standards like noodles, snacks, pancakes, rotis and kebabs plus there’s also plenty of ... Read more about Markets .


Mae Yen waterfall is the best and most accessible waterfall to reach on foot from Pai town. Head east over the road bridge and take the second left (just after Fluid). The first couple of kilometres are along a pretty lane past resorts and paddy, with fine views back across the Pai Valley, until the sealed road runs out and a footpath continues up a scenic, narrow valley lined with wooded hills. ... Read more about Waterfalls .

Villages surrounding Pai

Most of the surrounding villages in the Pai valley are quite modern now, but some have pleasant Shan-style wats worth a peek and they can be pleasant spots for a stroll. You'll usually find a village noodle shop too if you need a change from Walking Street tourist food. Wat Nam Hoo in Nam Hoo village northwest out of town is a picturesque one with an unusual Buddha statue. Wiang Nua has ... Read more about Villages surrounding Pai .

Hot springs

Sulphurous hot springs emerge out of the ground a few kilometres southeast of Pai. They're heavily promoted -- but nothing much to write home about. A pleasant diversion especially during the cool season is to head to Pai Spa Exotic Home Resort and pay 80 baht per person to bathe in their well maintained pools. The other alternative is to see them near the entrance to Huay Nam Dung ... Read more about Hot springs .

Thai cooking lessons
Down the alley between Baan Pizza and Cafe Paille
T: (084) 558 2492

Taking a leaf out of Chiang Mai's book, several spots in Pai now offer Thai cooking classes -- one-day or two-day and more if you're keen. They all run fairly similar courses at similar prices -- what makes or breaks it is generally going to be the teacher and the set up of the school, so pop along, meet the teacher and have a peek at the place before choosing. Most of these courses are fun and ... Read more about Thai cooking lessons .

Massage and massage courses

Pai is home to a stack of massage joints -- none are particularly recommended more than others, as it can just depend which masseuses are working on the day. Most are okay and all are straight massages -- no funny business, this is Pai! Apart from the ubiquitous massage establishments around town, Mr Jan's offers herbal massage courses as well. You will also see on offer around town: ... Read more about Massage and massage courses .

Pai to Mae Hong Son by motorbike

We were going to call this “The road to Pai ” but in reality Chiang Mai to Pai is just too far to do comfortably on a small motorbike. We reckon it’s easier, more practical and above all safer to just take the bus up to the Mae Hong Son township, hire a bike there then head out on the much more do-able and picturesque Mae Hong Son to Pai ... Read more about Pai to Mae Hong Son by motorbike .

Fluid pool and gym
Mae Hee
T: (087) 186 5320

Fluid, or at least its swimming pool, has been around for a while now in Pai but seems to be improving and upgrading all the time under its enthusiastic new management. The well-maintained pool is one of the best and largest in town; plus there’s a gym, table tennis, cosy sitting area, decent bar, good music, great grub and friendly staff, making it one of our clear favourite hang-outs in ... Read more about Fluid pool and gym .

Pai Canyon

An unusual and attractive place for a stroll is Pai Canyon, an area of eroded sandstone creating deep gullies and ochre-coloured sharp ridges covered with scattered pine trees. It's very scenic, with a wooden viewing platform and plenty of trails. Be warned that they can get very slippery and some are extremely narrow and run along razor sharp ridges with sheer, unprotected, drops on either ... Read more about Pai Canyon .

Pai Stone Forest

Just a couple of kilometres north of the national park entrance lies the much publicised Pai Stone Forest. We saw signs for it from at least 25 kilometres away, yet on arrival we couldn’t help but feel it was a waste of signage -- let alone time. A rough dirt track leads a couple of clicks through some farmland to the foot of a boulder strewn hill. Having got there, you could wind your way ... Read more about Pai Stone Forest .

Memorial Bridge

The original Memorial Bridge was made of teak by local workers conscripted by the Japanese during World War II. It was built to help transport supplies and manpower across northern Siam to the Burmese front. This was burnt down by retreating Japanese forces at the end of the war, then rebuilt by locals themselves in 1946. In turn, the bridge was destroyed in 1973 by catastrophic floods. Pai asked ... Read more about Memorial Bridge .

Day tours

Many guesthouses and travel agents offer day tours around the Pai area as well as further afield to Tan Lot, Pang Mapha and Kayah (long-neck) villages (the latter we don't recommend) near Mae Hong Son. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare or don’t fancy hiring your own motorbike then these can work out well, and are generally good value. A typical tour might take in Wat Mae Yen, the ... Read more about Day tours .

Other distractions

Pai offers the opportunity to do loads of other activities, such as ATV-riding, rock-climbing, kayaking, horse-riding, mountain-biking and mini-golfing. Phu Pai to the north of town has ATV vehicles, as does Jeeper ATV to the south (near Pai Phaya Resort, just past Coffee in Love). Phu Pai also offers horse-riding, across country in the wet or up the Pai River itself during dry season. The ... Read more about Other distractions .

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.

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