Pai is an unexpected find in a remote mountain valley. Twenty years ago the town of Pai used to be a few dirt roads and shops, as tourists soon discovered the natural beauty of the Pai River and its surrounding valley, businesses and development followed not long after and it turned into the little backpacker settlement that it is today. Popular amongst hippy and artistic types both Thai and foreign alike, the feel is very much new age. This small town is filled with bohemian style cafes, restaurants, bookstores and guesthouses. During high season in the months of October until February, the nightlife comes alive and the tunes of Bob Marley can always be heard, during the day visitors take advantage of the hot spring, rafting and trekking opportunities in the beautiful surrounding countryside. The street where the minibuses arrive turns into a pedestrianised nightmarket late afternoon, mostly sort of western food and tourist stuff, a bit like Khao San in Bangkok.



Sights and Activities

  • Pai Hot Springs - Located 8 kilometres southeast of the town are Pai Hot Springs. You can enter for free, but if you want to take a dip its 50bt.

A stream flows through the park and mixes with the hot spring so the temperature of the water is comfortable. There are also small public bathing houses.

  • Wat Phra That Mae Yen - This temple sits on a hilltop offering good views of the Pai valley below. There is a 400-metre sealed road that leads to the top. You can walk to it bu heading 1 kilometre east of the main intersection in town, across a stream, village then the 353 stairs to the top.
  • Trekking and Rafting - One of the most popular activities in Pai. Established local agencies are Back Trax (053 699739) and Duang Trekking (by Duang Guesthouse)



Getting There

By Bus

From Chiang Mai, minibuses leave hourly, taking is 3-4 hours through steep windy mountainous roads, 150 Baht from the Arcade bus terminal and 200 Baht with pickup from your accommodation. There is also 1 minibus per day in the morning to Mae Hong Son, 8:30am and 150 Baht.



Getting Around

By Foot

Pai town is easily accessible on foot. To get to the surrounds bicycles or motorbikes can be hired.




Several places have now live music (Thai bands playing Reggae etc.).





  • Golden Hut - Tel: 053 699949, 50-500bt, Has thatched huts on stilts, dorm beds and double rooms
  • Shan Guesthouse - Tel: 053 699162, 100-300bt, Central location for nightlife
  • Charlies House, Tel: 053 69039, 100-600b, Very clean, cheap and in the centre of town. Rooms are simple
  • Mr Jan's Bungalows - Tel: 053 699554, 200bt+, Plain and dark rooms set in a medicinal herb garden
  • Duang Guesthouse - Tel: 053 699101, 200-500bt, Right in the centre of town in an old 2 storey building that has rooms and bungalows


  • Blue Lagoon Hotel - Tel: 053 699 998, Motel-like rooms, little character but has a decent sized pool, restaurant, bar with big screen to watch movies
  • Rim Pai Cottage - Tel: 053 699133, Has dark wood bungalows set in a lovely garden.


  • Pai River Corner - Tel: 053 699049, 3,000-6,000bt, Exquisite rooms with design you would expect at this price. All rooms have river facing balconies, some have lounges and an interior spa pool.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Keep Connected


There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet caf├ęs are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.

Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.

For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.


Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.


Accommodation in Pai

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Pai searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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This is version 19. Last edited at 14:44 on Dec 20, 18 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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