Pai, Thailand

Tucked away in the mountains of Northern Thailand, Pai is a small town with chill vibes. Each year backpackers, both young and old, flock here to kick back and relax. Located 150km north-west of Chiang Mai, getting to Pai isn’t difficult; but the journey isn’t for the faint of heart. The 3-hour mini bus ride between the two cities features 762 curves, many of which run along the mountainside.

We arrived in Pai on February 2nd, 2016. While we stayed in town four nights, two full days were spent in our hostel with a bad case of thai tummy.

A scenic view of the mountains surrounding Pai Thailand

Bungalows and Hostels

There are plenty of places to stay in Pai, but don’t wait too long to book a place as they tend to fill up quickly in the high season (November – January). We spent a majority of our time at Happy House Pai, a hostel on the edge of town, but unfortunately we were unable to meet too many people due to sickness. However, we loved spending a night in a bungalow (Pai Country Hut) and highly recommend staying across the river where it’s a little quieter and even close to all the action.

The bungalow we stayed in for a night at Pai Country Hut
A swing in the middle of bungalows at Pai Country Hut
Two bungalows at Pai Country Hut in Pai, Thailand
A cat sleeping in the common area at Happy House Pai hostel
The ping pong table at Happy House Pai hostel
A common area at Happy House Pai hostel

Exploring the Pai Countryside

We had planned on renting a motorbike during our time in Pai so we could visit some of the attractions outside of the city (such as Pai Canyon and the Temple on the Hill). But that didn’t end up happening thanks to our encounter with thai tummy. Even though we didn’t get to experience as much of Pai as we had hoped, we enjoyed the moments we were able to spend outdoors exploring on foot.

A stray dog wandering the countryside of Pai
A sign with bullet holes in the countryside of Pai
A young boy walking a cow through a field in Pai
A field of crops in Pai Thailand
Walking along a street in the hills of Pai Thailand
Huts along the Pai countryside
A cow laying down in the countryside of Pai Thailand
A tree with mountains in the background in Pai
The famous bamboo bridge across the Pai river
View of the Pai river

The Pai Walking Street

During our final night in Pai we spent the evening at the Walking Street. This is where you will find souvenirs, handmade artwork, and some tasty street food. You will also find several bars nearby to grab a drink and meet other travelers.

The street market at night in Pai, Thailand
A shrine in downtown Pai
A street food vendor in Pai selling noodles

Last Stop Chiang Mai

Next Stop Hanoi