Things to do in Pai, North Thailand

Pai is by far one of our favourite places not only in Northern Thailand but in the whole of Thailand and we can fully understand why once people arrive in Pai… they never leave!

Fortunately (or not so fortunately) we already had a car hire booked to get us from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, so after our 3 nights stay in Pai we HAD to leave, even though we really did not want to!

Pai is a small town set in the Mae Hong Soon Province in North Thailand, it is known for its laid back vibes, amazing food and incredible scenery. And for such a small town, it can really make a BIG impression.

Here’s our list of some of the BEST things to do in Pai in Northern Thailand.

TIP: You WILL need to rent a moped/scooter if you want to get around cheaply and easily! There are limited taxi and they cost a bomb… and the “tours” aren’t much cheaper either… you can pick up a scooter for as little as 120 THB a day!

And the best thing about all of the below is that they are absolutely FREE (minus a small donation to the guy who owns the land where the land split is!)

1. Pai Memorial Bridge

The original bridge was built during WWII by the locals of Pai. Not by choice, but under the demands of the Japanese army so that they could launch an attach in Burma (Myanmar). The original bridge was burned down by the Japanese once the war was over, but the locals soon rebuilt it as by this point it made life a lot easier crossing the river here!

Pai Memorial Bridge, moped and sidecar with rainbow umbrella

Where is it?

As you approach Pai from that hideous windy drive through the mountains from Chiang Mai you’ll actually pass right by it. The road into Pai is fairly straight forward. From Pai the bridge is simple 10 minute drive away!

Best time to go?

Between 11am – 3pm is the “busy” period, we visited smack bang in the middle of the busy period and there was only maybe 3 other people there. You don’t have to wait long to get the perfect picture opportunity

Pai Memorial Bridge, north Thailand

2. Pai Canyon

Well this certainly was a lot of fun! Thailands very own version of the Grand Canyon, obviously a lot smaller, but no less of an incredible view!

With narrow walk ways and 40 ft drops either side, it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted, but it really is fun and worth the sweat! The best view is is across the canyon where you first have to manoeuvre your way down part of the canyon (one person at a time) and then climb back up the other side, but trust me, its worth the climb!

TIP: Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty… as you can see below we got covered in mud and clay!

The incredible view of Pai Jungle from Pai Canyon

Where is it?

Just South of Pai, its about 8km South it’s another easy drive. And if you’ve just come from the Memorial Bridge it’s quite literally 2 minutes down the road from the bridge!

Best time to go?

Pai Canyon is meant to have the most spectacular sunsets, unfortunately for us we visited in peak rainy season, so there was no sun to be seen. If you think you’ll have a good chance of catching the sunset head there for around 6pm-6:30pm. However it tends be more quiet during the day. We got here around 4pm and although there were quite a few people here, the place is so big you can easily escape them!

Peaceful views of Pai Jungle from Pai Canyon

3. Pai Land Split

Like I mentioned earlier, we visited North Thailand smack bang during monsoon season, so the weather was pretty rainy! But that didn’t stop us! We jumped our our scooters and headed out to the Land Split.

The land split used to be farm land where the owner grew crops, but back in 2008 there was an earthquake which caused a massive crack in the land. A further two more earth quakes in the following years led to the now massive land split!

There is no cost to visit the land split, however the land owner offers a selection of snacks and juices which come from the land. You can leave a donation, we aren’t sure about others but between us we left 100 THB donation after we had some yummy snacks after our visit!

Pai Land Split sign in North Thailand

Where is it?

About a 15 minute drive South of Pai (nothing is very far from Pai!). You turn off the main highway and follow the little road for about 2km before you arrive at the land split which is on the right.

Best time to go?

Opening times are 9am-5pm, but as a general with most of Pai there are visitors at most places but it is always a steady flow. Just as we reached the Land Split another couple were leaving, making us the only people there for the duration of our visit!

Ella stood in the middle of Pai Land Split

4. The Temple on the Hill (or The White Buddha/Wat Phra That Mae Yen)

This gorgeous Temple on the hill has exactly 297 steps up (yes! We counted!)it actually isn’t;t that difficult – well it wasn’t for us since it was a lot cooler as it was absolutely bucketing it down with rain!

The views you get here at the top looking down over Pai are incredible.. even when its cloudy and raining!

The WHite Buddha at the Temple on the Hill in Pai (Wat Phra That Mae Yen)

Where is it?

I’d probably say that The Temple on the Hill is actually within walking distance of the main walking street in Pai. It would probably take you about 20-30 minutes to walk from Pai to the entrance as it only took us about 3 minutes to drive it on a scooter!

Best time to go?

As per above… Pai is one of those places you can go and avoid all of the crowds! When we were here, we were the only ones at the top. It was so peaceful!

5. Pai Walking Street

Okay so OBVIOUSLY whilst you’re in Thailand you must try the street food and if you visit Pai then you CANNOT leave with out trying all of the delicious food from the Walking Street!

Where is it?

Smack bang in the middle of the main part of Pai – if you’re in Pai you cannot miss it as they close the road off to cars (though some locals do still drive down it!).

Best time to go?

It starts around 6pm and finishes at about 10pm. The best food gets sold real quick, so your best bet is to get down there for about 6pm – oh and do not miss the gyozas… they are to die for!

6. Pai Bamboo Bridge

You definitely need a scooter to get to the Bamboo Bridge! A gorgeous 800m bridge made solely from bamboo spanning across rice paddies with an incredible mountainous back drop – what more could you want!?

Incredible views of the rice paddies and mountains in Pai from the Bamboo Bridge Pai

Where is it?

South of Pai, in the same direction of the Land Split, but you keep on going once you’ve passed the split!

You will get to a fork in the road, to the left it will take you across a bridge but this way is extremely muddy, as we unfortunately found out as we tried to drive through the mud pit, got stuck and Ells fell off the back! If you go right it does look a bit gravelly but the ground is a lot more firm – we tested it out on the way back and wished we had gone this way on the way there too!

Best time to go?

Anytime between 9am-5pm! Again there were a fe other visitors but nothing that would disturb the beauty of this place!

Incredible views of the rice paddies and mountains from thee Pai Bamboo Bridge in Pai

Pai really is one of those magical places that most, if not all who visit fall in love with!

We spent 3 nights here in Pai and could even do 10 more if we had the time!

We certainly will be back one day to visit the amazing Pai, but the question is, when will YOU be visiting!?


One thought on “Things to do in Pai, North Thailand

  1. Pingback: The Best of North Thailand and the Best Route – We Are Wandering

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