Located in a gorgeous, picturesque setting in a mountain valley, this one-time sleepy village, has become a favourite for many a backpacker looking for a getaway without the beach. Apart from taking in the spectacular views, which somehow haven't been spoiled by the explosion of tourism, there is also plenty to see and do in this unique little town. Take in the spectacular views, hike to beautiful waterfalls and explore nearby caves, which somehow haven't been spoiled by the explosion of tourism. Then enjoy a wide selection of Western food and a vibrant backpacker nightlife. If you just want to enjoy the countryside in peace, you can stay on the outskirts in your own relaxing bubble.
Pai is a touristic town filled with Western restaurants and bars, with a bit of a backpacker party vibe which will not appeal to some. Also, probably because of the popularity of a Chinese film set in Pai, the town gets invaded by coach loads of Chinese on package tours, clicking away on their smartphone cameras on selfie sticks. See the When To Go section in the app for further info if you want to avoid the crowds.
During the day you can wander (or cycle) around this fascinating town, visit the day markets, browse in the downtown shops and stop by one of the countless great restaurants for a meal. Take a walk or ride to nearby attractions, such as Pai Village Farm, (less than 5 minutes' walk from the town centre), the Santichon Chinese Village and other villages near the outskirts of town. After dark, you can take a wander down the famous Pai Walking Street market to browse the innumerable goods for sale. Then later, party with some cheap drinks at one of the many bars, with anything from live reggae to jazz music, or track down a peaceful hideaway for a quiet drink. Out of town, there are so many places to see in nature and Hill Tribes to visit, you’ll have trouble fitting them all in. There’s also a load of adventure sports on offer, from tubing to white-water rafting.
When To Go
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and tourist crowds, you can always visit Pai during the low season, when a lot of the accommodation is empty, and you will have the idyllic town to yourself. But if you want to experience the unique buzz that is Pai in the cooler and busiest time of year, come in December or January. You may have to pay a premium for your room in this period, so try to book up well ahead of time.
If you like the sound of Pai, you will love it and want to say at least a few days, or as long as your time allows!
During the past ten years, Pai has not only become a magnet for foreigners who flock to enjoy its unique ambience, it has also become equally popular amongst Thai tourists. These days, it's no exaggeration to say that there are more guesthouses, restaurants, tour agencies and night spots here than private dwellings. Some have even compared Pai to the Khao San Road in Bangkok, although that's a considerable stretch of the imagination. Nearly every farmhouse in the valley has rooms for rent, but so far, most of the recent tourist developments have been in keeping with the local setting. In the low season you can hardly imagine how busy this lovely peaceful town it can get, especially between the months of October and February.