Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

Well hello to you my reader chums! Pai is Chiang Mai's northern secret, located a 3-hour drive from the city. The small town is surrounded by mountains, has a couple of prime sights to see and is home to some of the cutest eateries. I heard of Pai when researching Thailand and am glad I added it to our itinerary as both of us fell in love with the quaint town.

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

Pai, I would describe as the smaller Chiang Mai with all its good bits. It's a very quiet town and although quite heavy with tourism, is incredibly peaceful to walk around and explore. If you've never heard of Pai or are keen to add it to your agenda, here is everything you need to know.

How do you get there?

Getting to Pai is easier than you may think. You can either book a bus online or at any local tourist place, and hop on from the local bus station in Chiang Mai. Pai only has one bus station and it's located right in the centre of town, whereas Chiang Mai has three so be mindful before departure. The journey to Pai from Chiang Mai takes around three hours and it can be quite a bumpy journey, especially for those who are car sick. The bus ride has about 300 sharp turns - I'm not even joking! I would highly recommend buying car sickness pills if you suffer from motion sickness.

Where to stay

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

I was quite surprised about the amount of accommodation available in Pai, that booking a place to stay was incredibly easy. My boyfriend and I stayed at the D2 Pai Resort which was located up a hill and around a 15 minute walk out of the main town. The resort had individual thatched huts in a lovely natural setting, which was super lovely and calming.

Things to see and do

Despite the small size, Pai has a lot of things to see and do. I was there for 2-3 days and loved experiencing everything the town had in store.

Pai night market - Thailand is renowned for its food markets and Pai had one of my favourites whilst travelling. It runs along the main street in town and is packed with food variety. The market offered lots of different cuisines including the classic Thai, Mexican, burgers and yummy baked goods. It felt like I was going to a food market in the UK - just a lot hotter!

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

White Buddha - The White Buddha is one of the town's main symbols and stands high in the mountains. It's definitely a tourist attraction that you should add to the agenda - and makes the 353 odd steps to the top, worthwhile. The view up the top is beautiful and gives you a look at the mountains and essentially, all of Pai.

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand
Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

Hot Springs - The hot springs were my favourite thing in Pai and made for a relaxing afternoon. It's located quite out of town and you'll need to take a taxi or motorbike to visit, however, the journey is worth it. The hot springs are beautiful! There are several different pools of all temperatures to relax in and the scenery adds to the serenity vibe. The further left you went, the hotter the pools got.

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

Local villages - Pai is quite a rural town and there are a lot of locals who inhabit the outskirts. If you take a motorbike round or a long walk, you'll come across the local villages and meet some of the friendliest folk.

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

The river - Pai's river is located around 10 minutes from the main town's street and is a beautiful spot to hang out. You'll find a few hotels around the river and also see locals swimming and tourists floating along on rubber rings. It's lovely to sit, have a drink and take in the surroundings.

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand


The food scene - One of the things that really impressed me about Pai was its restaurant scene. If you're vegetarian or vegan, it's the place to be. There was a variety of food everywhere, and it offered some of the quaintest eateries in Thailand. I loved chilling in the cute coffee shops and trying to pick from the wild food scene. Pedlar, for example, was the sweetest brunch spot that served some of the best French toast I've ever eaten.

Everything you need to know about travelling to Pai, Thailand

Getting around 

As I mentioned, Pai is quite small so to explore the main town area you can easily get around on foot. However, to reach the Buddha and Hot Springs, they're a bit too far out to walk to, especially f you want to go from one to the next that I'd recommend hiring a motorbike. If you have more of a budget, you could hire a taxi instead. I found we were able to walk back to town from the Buddha (it took around 20-30 minutes) as it's all downhill. However, walking to it is another battlefield as it's located up a steep road plus the steps to the top. 

I hope you enjoyed this Pai guide. Are you planning to add it to your Thailand agenda?

Thank you for reading <3

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