Fresh air, green mountains and friendly locals, there is no doubt that so many hippies and backpackers decided to settle / stay in Pai for weeks in this quiet, riverside town of Pai in Northern Thailand. Situated in the mountains just three hours drive with 762 curves from Chiang Mai, Pai is a pleasant and hipsters’ town which the number of tourists easily outnumbered the locals in years to come.
In the past, Pai remained one of Thailand’s best-kept backpacker secrets until relatively recently when a popular Thai romantic movie put it on the map. Today, Pai is busier than ever – drawing hundreds of backpackers everyday and one of them is me! Sadly, not many Malaysians had visited Pai before – overlooked in favour of Bangkok!
Most of the travelers are unaware of this hippie town and few are curious about it. Therefore, this post serves as a guide for all travelers who are keen to explore Pai in near future.
places to visit in pai
One can easily rent a motorbike for less than 5 dollars a day in Pai and get to travel around the outskirt and town of Pai. If renting a bike is not an option for you, you can simply join in a group tour for less than 600 baht (full day guided tour) which covers lots of attractions.
I’ve been to Grand Canyon in the states and Pai is a somewhat a mini version of it. It could more accurately be described as narrow red ridges with steep-sided valleys, both sides filled with pine forest. This is the best attractions that Pai has to offer and be careful when you pay your visit in this canyon. Safety is a big issue in this Canyon!
The sprawling, open-air market located just to the west of town at the end of Raddamrong Road has all the fruit and veggies you could ever eat. The seasonal fruits are way cheaper than you’ll find for sale from shops and restaurants. If you’re planning to cook, this is the place you would like to be. No worries, all are cheap!
WWii memorial bridge
Not to mix up with the Memorial Bridge over the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi. This WWII Memorial Bridge is located in Pai and was built by the occupying Japanese. This bridge has nothing much to offer except for few historical articles and some nice photo shoot for memories.
Wat phra that mae yan
This small temple is especially interesting for its setting and the view overlooking the city you have from it. The 353 steps long staircase to reach the temple is charming even if you can skip it and take the road to access to Wat Phra That Mae Yen.
chinese village @ santichon pai
A chinese village settled by Yunnanese hill tribes who crossed the border in the mid 20th century to escape communist rule. There are lots of shops selling different chinese teas. Not into shopping, they have lots of interesting activities such as horse riding, ferris wheel and etc. It seems like a tourist trap as well but for me, I have fun talking chinese with the locals there. (It’s been a week since I spoke Chinese)
night market in pai
With number of tourists increases annually, Pai has a night market (which opens every night) for tourist to shop and explore around. It is like a smaller version of the markets in Chiang Mai. Food, handmade goods and souvenirs are available. Not much to bargain as most of the products selling in night market are relatively the same price.
For food lover, this is the place you would like to be. Great food with affordable price. Sushi for 5 baht each, chicken chop for 20 baht and Khao Soy for only 30 baht.
should you travel to Pai?
Highly recommended – 101% over 100% full score. If you’re a traveler who loves adventure, nature and even doing nothing, Pai is definitely in your list. Pai is an awesome place to hang around for weeks even thought you have nothing to do. If you’re a kind of person who has plans and can’t stay here and do nothing, Pai is not the place for you. In Pai – the only activity is ‘Being Lazy’. *Will be going back to Pai someday*
Visit November Raspberries now!