Situated in the Mae Hong son province of Northern Thailand, this riverside town has grown into a major backpackers paradise. For many backpackers, Pai is one of the must visit places in Northern Thailand. Most of backpackers who initially plan to visit for 2 to 3 days will end up spending a week or two in this lovely hippie town. It is no surprise that foreigners may outnumber the locals in matter of years time.
Getting to Pai, Thailand, has never been easier. Despite the new crowds, Pai is still a great place to catch your breath for a few days and relax in some of the pleasant cafes. I can simply said that Pai was one of the best places that I’d ever visited in Southeast Asia. Refreshing air and friendly locals are one of the thousand reasons I would stay in Pai.
Journey to pai
For the past five years, the road has been paved and greatly improved. Surprisingly, the road condition is way better than the Pan-Borneo road. However, this journey is famous for its guaranteed to make at least some passengers to suffer from motion sickness. This is because the 90 km road has 762 curves. 762 curves for that short road? No choice – it is the most affordable way to get to Pai.
Would recommend you to be prepared before you board the bus – at least bring along your plastic bag or motion sickness pills! No joking!
BEST WAY to get to pai?
The best way to get to Pai is minibuses – which is affordable and convenient. You can get any buses to Pai easily. It usually departs every hour and it takes three hours to reach Pai. Minibuses to Pai usually cost around 150 baht to 180 baht for a single trip. That’s 30 baht difference only. So no big deal!
One of the famous transportation company for getting tourist to Pai is Aya Service. Although most guesthouses and hotels has their own contacts and reservation can be made through them. Almost 90% of the bus company include pick up from your guesthouses and hotels.
Yes, there are plenty of options you can choose from while traveling to Pai. There are public buses to Pai, airplane and even taxi. However, travel by air and taxi would cost 10 times more expensive than the tourist minibus. There are also public buses to Pai, however, it might take longer as bigger bus would take longer time to arrive than minibus / vans.
You can even rent / buy a motorbike in Chiang Mai and ride it to Pai. However, bear in mind that 762 curves is not a small amount of curves.
what will i expect to see in pai?
Friendly speaking, Pai is not a place for travelers who aims to do lots of attractions or have a plan in mind. If you are this type of travelers, forget about Pai. You will find it boring. It is best suitable for travelers who just want to relax, do nothing and chill around with strangers. That is why the best thing to do in Pai is being lazy!
Of course, if you’re an adventurous type of person, you may find Pai is as interesting as Vang Vieng, Laos. You can do kayaking and hiking around Pai area.