If Pai isn’t at the top of your list of places to explore in the world — let alone, Thailand — you’re doing it wrong. There are two ways to get to Pai once you are in Chiang Mai. The first option, rent a moped and ride up the mountain — super dangerous if you aren’t experienced. The second option, take a taxi (expensive) or a bus (cheap) up the mountain, notorious for its 762 twists and turns. I suffer from motion sickness, hated the four-hour bus ride, but I still plan on going back to Pai — that’s how much I love Pai.
What’s so great about Pai? Let me tell you.
1. THE NIGHT MARKET
Don’t bother finding a place for dinner, instead, take a stroll down Walking Street. At night, the street floods with food and clothing stalls. After being in California all summer, I became addicted to avocados. Luckily, I came in September when they were in abundance. I can’t seem to find a definite answer to when Avocado season is, but strawberry season is November-January — maybe you could get lucky.
2. RENT A MOPED
I know I said don’t ride up the mountain, but that is because it’s a 4-hour ride with 762 curves. When you are in Pai, definitely get a moped. While the town is walkable, the area around it is not. You will save a lot of money on taxis, and the countryside is absolutely stunning. The locals are aware that most tourists rent mopeds so it’s relatively safe as long as you are cautious. Many of the hostels offer moped rentals which are usually the simplest and safest way to rent.
3. GO TO A WATERFALL
There are many waterfalls around Pai, I like Mo Paeng the best. The view on the way to the waterfall is breathtaking — because of the farms and rice paddy fields. The waterfall was very cold but felt refreshing.
4. TAKE A DIP IN A HOT SPRINGS
The Tha Pai Hot Springs has several pools of varying temperatures for visitors to try. It was particularly nice after our cold waterfall trip. The hot springs are in woods. There is a designated area to bath and paths for visitors to explore other areas of the hot springs. Some of the hot springs are restricted to boiling eggs. If you’re lucky, you may see locals boiling eggs or, you can buy eggs to boil for yourself.
5. GET A MASSAGE
Massages in Thailand can be super cheap, like fully body $6 massages. You can get massages almost anywhere, but why not do it while you’re relaxing in Pai?
6. GO TO THE CANYON
Take the moped down the road to Pai Canyon. The views speak for itself.