This small mountain town is located in northern Thailand, on the border with Myanmar. It has a population of approximately 3,000 and is a top destination for international tourism.
The town boasts an extensive hotel infrastructure, numerous nature-related activities and features initiatives such as the International Reggae Festival that has helped to forge its fame as a fashionable holiday venue.
Pai nestles in a broad, sun-soaked valley in the northern province of Mae Hong Son. This whole region revolves around activities related to its landscape and mountains, with extraordinary natural settings, watercourses, the hill tribes and the serene presence of Buddhism.
To move around Pai and its surroundings you can hire a car, but the short distances make it ideal to do it by motorbike.
For many centuries the traditional lifestyle of this area was focused on agriculture, until it was discovered first by Thai tourists and later by tourists from the rest of the world. Over the years it has become a popular holiday destination.
If you decide to travel by road instead of flying, you will depart from Chiang Mai or Mae Hong Son and, in both cases, the route will be along mountain roads with their inevitable and constant bends.
From Chiang Mai, public transport is by minivan and the journey takes roughly 3 hours. There are frequent departures from morning to early afternoon, avoiding driving after dusk.
Sites of interest
» Memorial Bridge. This bridge over Pai river was built in 1942 by the Japanese during World War II. A picturesque place.
» Wat Nam Hoo. This temple is three kilometres from the centre of Pai. It contains a legendary image of Buddha very popular among the locals, with special powers to get rid of illness and misfortune.
» Pai Canyon. The Pai Canyon is eight kilometres from Pai. A beautiful natural place to walk.
» Pam Bok Waterfall. A relaxing walk in the forest, suitable for a brisk bath.
» Tha Pai Hot Springs. An opportunity to share with the locals a warm and healthy bath.
» Mo Paeng Waterfall. With easy access is the best place to enjoy the bath. If you climb the rocks, keep in mind that they are very slippery when wet.
» Ban Santichon Village. This Chinese Yunnan Cultural Village is perhaps too much touristy but the visit can fill the remaining free time.
» Wat Phra That Mae Yen. This temple is located two kilometres away on a hill and houses a big Buddha statue. The place is interesting for its panoramic views.
» Hill Tribes. These communities are scattered throughout the province. You can travel by yourself in order to meet them, but it is advisable to plan it with a local company.
» Walking street market. This is a typical night street market focused on Thai and international visitors.