Top 15 BEST Things to do in Pai

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Looking for the best things to do in Pai? We have listed the top 15 must not miss activities and attractions you must enjoy while you're in this amazing town in Thailand!

Thailand, in itself, is a great tourist place that has been attracting a slew of people from everywhere. Home to vibrant beaches, opalescent temples, great remnants of age-old ruins Thailand is indeed the most sought after tourist place for a reason. Pai is a small and quaint village that is nestled in the lush mountains of the northern part of Thailand. It is less than 3 hours away from Chang Mai.

The laid back atmosphere of Pai gets people to flock here all year round. This fantastic place attracts everybody from musicians, backpackers, nature enthusiasts, and artists alike.

This is the kind of place that might be marked as part of a day Pai trip on your travel itinerary. Still, it is a given that its enthralling natural beauty will have you end up extending your stay.

Pai is not the usual cookie-cutter of a tourist destination in Thailand. There are a lot of things to do in Pai from exploring ancient caves to letting your hair down and soaking in the hot springs to savoring delectable exotic foods.

Your days will be packed with simple yet exciting activities to do. With numerous places of interest in the Pai region, you can create a to-do or to explore the list and plan them day wise.

Pai is like a paradise located on a beaten off the path and is famously also referred to as the ”Thai island nestled in the mountains.” Let’s look at what are the things to do in Pai and places to visit in Pai.

Top 15 BEST Things to do in Pai

Pai Canyon
via Flickr| James Antrobus

Explore the Pai Canyon

If America has the Grand Canyon, Thailand has an equally amazing offering, the Pai Canyon or Kong Lan, in the local language. Kong Lan is one of the most amazing Pai attractions that it has to offer.

Kong Lan translates to geological grandeur, and sure indeed it provides some breathtaking views of the bright green foliage along with the grand mountains that stand beyond that, all these contrasts sharply with the dun color of the canyon.

Pai canyon is the perfect place for hikers. However, there is no risk of getting lost. The trails are devoid of any sort of railings, which can be a bit of a concern for some travelers. All you need is a water bottle and a well-cushioned pair of sneakers, and you are good to go.

The Pai Canyon is famous as a spot from where you can enjoy great sunsets and sunrises, and not to mention you can take some stunning pictures of the entire vista from here.

So whenever you visit Pai, before you ask anyone what to do in Pai, you sure should be known to Pai Canyon.

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Tham Lod cave
via Pxhere

Explore the ancient Tham Lod Cave

The Tham Lod Cave is just 45 minutes away from Pai and is around 1666 meters long. What makes this cave so famous is because of its historical significance. It consists of teakwood coffins supposedly made by the Lawa tribesmen around 1,400 years back.

The entrance of the cave has a kiosk from where you can buy the entrance ticket, which will cost you roughly 15 dollars, including transportation. You will be a part of a small group led by a lantern held tour guide. The cave is huge, and so it is not something that should be explored alone.

The tour starts with the tourists hopping on a not so fancy bamboo raft. The river Nam Lang flows through the cave. So you go sailing on it while enjoying the ancient stalagmites and the stalactites that sometimes look like certain animals. You get off the raft a few times to climb up some steep stairs to see the caverns and its unique formations.

The cave is home to thousands of bats and swifts that around the time of twilight flock, the cave for a night rests in huge numbers. The entire sightseeing lasts for over an hour. Once the tour ends, you exit from the other end of the cave and will be dropped back to where you started from.

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Shop in the night markets

We have all been shopping from malls all our life but in order to get a new shopping experience the night markets in Pai a perfect place to start with. While all of Thailand is dotted with night markets, The night market has a whole lot of different things to do in Pai.

Back in the days, there were only small stalls seen here, but today you can shop from bigger and better-stocked stalls as well. If you are feeling lonely and want to distract yourself for some time or are just itching to buy something as a gift or a souvenir back home, Pai’s night market has got it all covered.

From woven bags to trinkets to T-shirts and mouth-watering local delicacies, a night market is indeed a must-visit place that should feature on your itinerary.

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Pai hot springs
Photo by icon0com from PxHere

Soak in the Tha Pai Hot Springs

Pai is home to various thermal springs or hot springs. You can visit any one of these and get an amazing experience soaking up in the crystal clear waters of these springs.

These springs are surrounded by thick foliage, and you can think of it as your jungle-themed jacuzzi. Located on the side of a quaint road is the Sai Ngam Hot Spring.

An absolute favorite among the locals as well as a treat to the eyes indeed. It has super clear water and equally beautiful surroundings. Entry fee to visit it costs 200 bahts or 6 dollars.

The Pai Hotsprings Spa Resort has another Pai’s amazing hot springs where you can enjoy both hot spring and a mineral bath experience. The hot spring is part of a resort, and so it costs 100 bahts or 3 dollars for outsiders while its guests get free entry.

Ta Pai Hot Springs is one of the most famous hot springs in Pai. It has a very ethereal setting with clear water and hanging vines and roots of trees surrounding the whole spring. The spring water here can even boil an egg, but you can also follow the small trail and find other baths that are of 34 to 38 degrees.

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 WWII (Memorial) Bridge

Walk the WWII (Memorial) Bridge

The Tha Pai World War II Memorial Bridge is a steel structure that is a must-stop for all tourists as it holds a lot of historical significance. The bridge was built by the Japanese during World War II in the year 1941. It was constructed to connect Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son so that they can attack the British colony of that time, Burma.

The bridge was made using wood that was brought to the site by the villagers. They were made to work very hard to complete it.

When the Japanese left after the end of the war, they burnt it down, but since the bridge had become an integral part of the villagers’ lives, they rebuilt it using steel.

The bridge is located over the Pai river. So while you are in Pai, visiting this World War II Bridge would be among interesting things to do in Pai.

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 Mo Paeng waterfall Pai Thailand

Chase Waterfalls

Pai is famous for its waterfalls, among other things. Its two famous waterfalls are Mor Paeng that consists of some shallow pools and Pam Bok, which is more secluded and lies underneath some steep cliffs.

Since Pai and Thailand, in general, get very hot during the day, it is a great idea to go for a nice soak in the refreshing water of these waterfalls.

Pam Bok, especially, is located in a secluded place. So the water is even more cool and refreshing, and if you get lucky, you can even have the whole pool to yourself. Chase Waterfalls are among the famous Pai point of interest for all the tourists visiting this place.

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White Buddha Pai Thailand

Climb to The Big White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen)

The big white Buddha or Wat Phra That Mae Yen sits atop a hill and is famous not only because of its religious significance but it is also a great spot to get a clear and breathtaking view of the entire valley. Around 350 steps are leading up to the top, and so it is advisable to stay hydrated on your way.

The best time to visit is when it is the sunset as it when the entire landscape changes color, a truly magical experience. Because it is a religious place, you are expected to cover up when you are there.

If you are looking for someplace for utmost peace and ask around for what to see in Pai, locals are surely going to recommend Big White Buddha

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driving scooter in thailand
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Learn to Ride Scooter

In the absence of proper public transport and zero traffic, it is indeed a great idea to go exploring Pai on a scooter.

There are so many beautiful places to see in Pai and, of course, jaw-dropping surroundings and what better way to do that than by riding a bike. To catch some of these Pai sightseeing places, you can rent bikes for as cheap as 5 dollars for the entire day.

Fill the tank up at the nearest gas station, and you are all set. Since there are no traffic, you can even learn how to ride a bike if you do not know how to. Learning to ride a scooter while you are in Thailand is one of the fun things to do in Pai.

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Thai Cooking classes
via Flickr|Joy

Take Thai Cooking Classes

If you are a foodie or a cooking enthusiast and would want to learn how to make mouth-watering Thai red curry and other Thai dishes, then you can get yourself signed up for a cooking class.

Pai has a lot of places that offer cooking classes to tourists. The cooking classes get you familiarized with the ingredients and the apt ways in which the vegetables need to be cut and cooked. You will also get a full introduction to Thai cooking and will also be taken on a tour of the market to select the appropriate ingredients.

Apart from that, you also get your work station where you will be cooking along with other fellow learners. So the question arises, where to go in Pai for Thai cooking lessons? There are a couple of popular Pai cooking schools where you can get short term as well as long term cooking classes depending on the availability and the season.

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Party at the sunset bar

Famous for its mushroom and happy shakes, the Sunset bar is an ideal place for you to let your hair down. The bar serves some amazing cocktails paired with delicious food and ambient music.

You can enjoy all that while feasting your eyes on the lovely sunset, all that, while chilling on a couch. Sunset bar is a very innovative concept and is a great option for those who love to appreciate small moments of their lives in the natural surroundings with a great sunset. The sunset here is one of the best things to see in Pai for its heartwarming hues and glowing vibes all around.

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Go tubing down the Pai River

If you have never heard of tubing before, you will get to know all about it below. It is an inflated tube much like the inside of a tire, and you take it upstream, sit on it and let yourself get carried away by the currents down the stream.

It is an adventure-packed activity that is sort of like a must-do while you are in Pai. All you need is an inflated tube, your bathing suit, and you are good to go. Picnic around famous Pai tourist spots around the riverside can be a simple yet fun outing day for all the outdoor lovers.

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Chill out in a hammock

When you are done exploring this incredible town of Pai and are in dire need of some me-time, you can simply sit back and relax in a hammock. Since almost all the hotels offer great views, they also provide hammocks for their guests.

Get yourself a glass of a chilled drink or a good read and just spend the day lazing around in a hammock. You would be surprised as to how fast the time flies.

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Eat street foods

If you want the true experience of Thai culture hit its street food stalls. The walking street has a lot of stalls, and each stall is completely different from one another.

There are hundreds of different dishes here, and they are also very cheap. You can expect to spend a dollar at each of these stalls. In terms of street food varieties, you can get everything from flavored coconut balls, black sticky rice with sesame seeds, traditional drinks served in bamboo tumblers, grilled octopus, squids, and much more.

It is a food paradise. Exploring some mouth-watering seafood is definitely among the interesting Pai activities that one should not miss.

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Santichon Chinese Village
via Flickr|shankar s.

Visit the Santichon Chinese Village

Touted as one of Pai’s must-see spots, the Santichon Village lies outside of Pai. It was founded by a small minority of Chinese- Yunnan people who fled China during the Mao Tae Tung revolution.

The village is home to traditional Yunnan people and Thai hill tribes. Unlike the flashy Chinatowns in the west, this is as traditional as it gets. These people still adhere to their age-old culture and traditions.

Presently it is turned into a cultural center and provides a glimpse into the incredible Yunnan culture and their unique cuisine. So if you are thinking about what to do in Pai, visit this Chinese village and go to Santichon village by bike, and it is just 5 kilometers away from Pai.

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Things to do in Pai: Enjoy Yoga

Practice Yoga

Pai is undoubtedly a true paradise. It thrills everyone with its unique things to do in Pai. When you get worn out due to all that exploring, you can trace your steps towards a yoga class.

There are a lot of yoga classes in Pai not just for spiritual tourists but also perfect for those that want peace of mind while stretching their bodies.

The breathtaking scenery and the whole vista of Pai complement yoga sessions so perfectly. It is not always necessary for a traveler to think about places to go in Pai when you can find your base and practice yoga during beautiful sunset and sunrise, watching nature unfold its glory.

Visit Pai as an explorer of culture, tradition, and natural surroundings, because that’s what this tiny yet beautiful region offers you the best.

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