Wherever we go, we always stop at the mountains. We can’t seem to have a long distance relationship with them ! Starting from Chiang Mai and braving 762 mountainous curves we reached this hidden beauty nestled in the mountains which was almost like a tropical beach island with a river instead of an ocean :-p
Getting off the beaten path is always rewarding and so was Pai. To know the town of Pai more and how to reach there read my other post on it.
Once you are there you can roll up your sleeves and do the coolest of the things ranging from white water rafting, bamboo rafting, elephant trekking, mountain biking to hiking with the locals. Since I am just ten right now, I settled for less adventurous attractions.
Rent a sidecar from Candy Road Motorcycles – In exchange of your passport and 400 baht you are free to take this beauty wherever you want for 24 hours. We had an immensely memorable time taking it to places where we couldn’t have possibly gone by foot. In Pai, you can rent bikes at cheap rentals but don’t go for them unless you have tried and tested it. Some of them have loose breaks which might cost you heavily on mountainous roads. Also expect insane amount of scooter accidents because most of the tourists are new riders. Even if you are skilled, it takes time to adjust to mountainous roads and narrow paths. Always remember, slow and steady wins the race here !
Call 191 for help or these emergency numbers incase of a breakdown or accident.
Pai Police Station – 053 699 217, 053 699 211 / Pai Hospital – 053 699 031, 053 699 211 / Tourist Police – 1155 OR 053 611 812
Go checkout the scenic Mari Pai Resort – Set at around two and a half kilometre from Pai Walking Street, Mari Pai Resort is set in a large space and has many photo worthy spots. They provide accommodations in bungalows, cottages and mini vans called mobile homes. There is also an onsite restaurant where you can have meals and enjoy the scenic view.
Pai Canyon – It is located seven kilometres away from Pai towards the road to Chiang Mai. Amidst the deciduous and pine forest there is a long stairway to reach the steep rock cliff and valley. I lost my breath while walking up the stairs but when I was finally there I realised how impressive and scenic it was. This is the place to be when sun sets on Pai. Eroded red sandstone, deep gullies and sharp ridges make the Pai Canyon the Grand Canyon of Thailand but we strongly advise not to trek the dangerous ridges of this Canyon which has caused a number of deaths in the past. Having said that, it’s undoubtedly a beautiful place to relax and soak in the panoramic view.
Memorial Bridge – This heritage site is 9.4 kilometres away from the town of Pai. It was built over the Pai river during the World War 2 by Japanese army. Since Pai lies close to the Myanmar border, this bridge was constructed for sending transport and weapons into Myanmar. Now, it’s a popular attraction for tourists who flock there to take pictures.
Merit Bridge – If you want to enjoy a relaxing walk along a bamboo bridge surrounded by rice fields and green scenery then head to Merit bridge. It connects Pambok village and Wat Huay Kai Kiri. To reach there go 4.5 kilometre south of Pai on 1095 highway, then turn right at the sign for Pambok Waterfall and go 5.5 kilometre to the merit bridge.
Tham Lod Cave – Tham Lod cave is situated in the Pang Mapha district of the Mae Hong Son province. Set at a distance of 53 kilometres away from Pai, this cave is one of the most recommended thing to do when in northern Thailand. It’s a 2000 years old ancient cave with the outstanding point, a stream called Nam Langlai which flows through one side to the other side of the mountain, creating impressive stalagmite and stalactite. This cave is 1666 m long and divided into three parts. During this entire thrilling experience we were escorted by a guide who held a lantern (gas lamp) as the only light source inside the cave. With almost no light and sounds of bats and swifts in the background we made sure we didn’t lose sight of the guide who seem to have known the cave like the back of her palm. After exploring most of it by foot we were taken out of the cave on a bamboo raft and brought in back again. Following which we took a shortcut to the entrance of the cave.
Sai Ngam hot spring – There are a couple of hot springs options in Pai. The reason we chose this was also because it fell on the way to Tham Lod Cave. It’s a peaceful place, nothing out of the world but will leave you relaxed. The water is crystal clear with a bearable temperature ranging between 35 to 40 degree centigrade. You can easily spend an hour or two here before going heading forward to far away attractions. I am not sure about the entry fees as in our case it was paid by the Aya service from where we booked our transport for Tham Lod Cave. There is some kind of setting between the two managements to rope in more tourists.
Wat Pra Tal Mae Yen – Located at only a distance of 2 kilometres from Pai, this popular Buddha temple should not be missed. There is a steep stairway of approximately 300 stairs to reach there but its well worth it. There is no apparent evidence as to when this relic was built. The Pagoda is white, bell shaped and adorned with Burmese like tiered umbrella. It is a peaceful spot for sunset watching with Jing Jong hill behind the view.
Check out the Walking street during the weekends – Starts at 6 in the evening, this place is the highlight of Pai. It is located on Rungisyonan road and offers a wide range of souvenirs, handicrafts and clothes to select from. Expect to taste the best Thai delicacies here, every single element is delicious. No matter where you go, come to Pai just for it’s street food and hippy-vibes.
Visit the Blue Ox restaurant & bar in Pai Village & Boutique resort – Apart from the above mentioned attractions, there are a number of photo worthy cafes where you can hop in and out all throughout the day. But Blue Ox was a clear winner for us also because we were using their accommodation amneties and were thoroughly impressed with all they offered. If you ever happen to be here do check this place out, you will be blown away by their hospitality.
Have you been to Pai ? Given a choice would you take this road less travelled ?