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You haven’t truly experienced Pai if you haven’t done these 20 things

You haven’t truly experienced Pai if you haven’t done these 20 things!

“Laid back” is what comes to mind whenever I’m asked to describe Pai. This mountain town northwest of Chiang Mai may be small but, boy, our team never runs out of things to do here!

The best part? Well, there are a couple, actually. The first is that most activities in Pai are unique—but we’ll get to that later. Second, it’s incredibly affordable to spend a day or two in this town (your wallet will definitely thank you)! 

If you aren’t excited yet, brace yourself! We’re thrilled to share our list of the most unforgettable things we’ve done in Pai!

Pay your respects to the Big Buddha at Chedi Phra That Mae Yen

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Address: Mae Hi

Operating Hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: Free

A trip to Pai won’t be complete without dropping by Chedi Phra That Mae Yen to see its Big Buddha statue. This ivory-white statue is on top of a 353-step Naga staircase, so be sure you’re ready for this challenging climb.

After all, we think the stunning panoramic view at the temple’s summit is definitely worth checking out. It overlooks the entire Pai Town and its surrounding forests and cloudy hilltops, so it’s perfect if you enjoy snapping landscape photos.

Aside from that, Chedi Phra That Mae Yen has a phra ubosot or assembly hall, a golden chedi stupa, and a reclining Buddha image. If you like Buddhist temples, go here to scratch one off your list of essential things to do in Pai.

Pro Tip: 

Don’t climb the temple from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to avoid the hot temperature. During this time, the concrete staircase also becomes hot which can be a drag to say the least. 

Dip your toes in the warm pools of Tha Pai Hot Spring

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Address: Tha Pai Hot Spring Road, Mae Hi

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: 300 baht

Taking a dip in the warm pools of Tha Pai Hot Spring is one of the more relaxing things you can do in Pai. This hot spring is popular because it has several pools with varying heat levels.

If your goal is to submerge your body, you’ll most likely find one that offers your ideal temperature. This place is also massive, so you can stroll around to see all the available pools, including the source of the warm water.

This place also makes boiled eggs near the hot spring’s source. Go here if you want something to snack on during your visit.

Pro Tip: 

For best results, be sure to take breaks every 10 or 15 minutes of soaking to let your body maintain its optimal temperature. Soaking for extended periods will have adverse effects instead.

Admire Pai Canyon’s awe-inspiring sunset view

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Address: Mae Hi

Operating Hours: 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 86 113 7373

Admission Costs: Free

If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you’ll definitely enjoy traversing Pai Canyon’s steep and narrow gravel trails. The path can sometimes be slippery, so this tricky hike is great for adventurous travelers who are always up for any challenge. 

That’s why hiking to this canyon is one of the must-do things in Pai that attracts crowds of tourists. Plus, people also come here to admire the breathtaking view from its summit, especially at sunset.

During this time, the canyon takes a deep orange hue which is perfect if you like taking stunning nature photos. The uphill hike to the summit only takes 3 minutes from the parking lot at the canyon’s base.

Pro Tip: 

We suggest going here to watch the sunrise if you prefer to avoid huge crowds. That way you not only enjoy the view but also evade the crowd as the place usually gets packed during the afternoons.

Witness the stunning scenery at Yun Lai Viewpoint

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Address: Wiang Tai

Operating Hours: 5 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 81 024 3982

Admission Costs: 20 baht

Yun Lai Viewpoint is also a must-visit scenic spot in Pai. This viewpoint’s observation deck overlooks the nearby Santichon Village and its surrounding lush greeneries and hills which is great if you enjoy looking at natural landscapes.

There’s also a reasonably priced coffee shop at the summit, so you can get your caffeine fix while admiring the panoramic view. You can even set up a tent here to stay and watch the sunset and sunrise.

Rental tents with blankets and pillows will set you back 500 baht but it can accommodate two people. Yun Lai Viewpoint also has an on-site restaurant, so you’re covered for food during your stay.

Swim at Mo Pang Waterfall’s refreshing pool

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Address: Mae Na Toeng

Operating Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: 100 baht

If you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Pai, we suggest going on a trip to Mo Pang Waterfall. This cascade offers a gentle and consistent stream which is great for tourists who find the sound of flowing water calming.

Moreover, this waterfall has a sizable pool, so you can enjoy jumping in and out of the water. That’s why Mo Pang Waterfall is a popular picnic spot among the local families and tourists in Pai.

Speaking of which, this waterfall also attracts a lot of butterflies. That makes this place worth visiting if you enjoy watching these colorful winged critters fluttering about.

Pro Tip: 

Only visit this waterfall during the rainy season (July to October)  if you plan to swim in its pool. It doesn’t get enough water during the dry season.

Hit the stalls in Pai Night Market

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Address: Rural Road Mae Hong Son 4024, Wiang Tai

Operating Hours: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: Free

This lively night market is a hit among locals and tourists. It’s dotted with stalls selling all kinds of local delicacies, so there are plenty of food options for everyone.

That’s not what Pai Night Market is all about. While you can certainly shop for clothes and souvenirs, the place is bursting at the seams with fun nightly activities such as live street performances and interesting bar shows. 

Pro Tip: 

Don’t be afraid to haggle for a good deal when shopping for clothes and souvenirs.

Stroll along the Kho Ku So Bamboo Bridge

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Address: Thung Yao

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

Admission Costs: 30 baht

Kho Ku So Bamboo Bridge is one of the most beautiful spots in Pai that you should visit at least once. It’s a vast rice field, so expect a lush green scenery while strolling along its winding bamboo walkways.

Rice is harvested during the dry season, so this place is definitely best to visit during the rainy season so you can enjoy the greenery. After all, the beautiful contrast between the gray bamboo bridge and the green rice field is why this place is worth seeing.

Pro Tip: 

Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothes if you want to drop by the Buddhist temple at the end of the bridge.

Walk around Wat Si Don Chai’s beautiful monastery

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Address: 230 หมู่1 1095 Pai

Operating Hours: 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Daily)


Admission Costs: Free

For fans of temple architecture, Wat Si Don Chai is definitely worth visiting while you’re in Pai. In fact, it’s also Pai’s oldest Buddhist temple, so it holds great historical significance.

The highlight of Wat Si Don Chai is its gilded crimson structure which is full of intricate patterns and carvings. It’s also packed with wall paintings and murals depicting historical and religious stories. 

Pro Tip: 

For authentic fish lovers, don’t forget to check out the temple’s carp pond. You can opt to buy fish food to feed them and leave a lot calmer than when you arrived. 

Visit the Tha Pai Memorial Bridge

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Address: Mae Hi

Operating Hours: 24/7

Admission Costs: Free

Though this memorial bridge isn’t the actual bridge from WWII after its collapse during a 1973 flood, it’s still one of Pai’s most notable historical sites. Instead, the bridge now has solid steel foundations which we think is an excellent visual upgrade.

It also offers a nice view of the Pai River, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot local farmers herding their water buffalos. There are also scores of shops near the bridge, so you can do some souvenir shopping while you’re here.

Pro Tip: 

Be sure to look for the guy stationed at the bridge wearing a WWII Imperial Japanese Army uniform and ask for a photo.

Book a river rafting session with Pai Adventures

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Address: 20, Wiang Tai

Operating Hours: 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 62 293 5978


Costs: 2,300 baht

River rafting is one of the more exciting things you can do in Pai, and it’s definitely worth it if you’re up for an adventure. Our best rafting experience was with Pai Adventures which took us to an intense 45-kilometer downstream ride.

The peak season for white water rafting in Pai is between July and September, so be sure to book ahead of time during these months. Or if you want a scenic rafting trip, you can visit from October to January when the Pai River is calmer.

Pro Tip: 

To get the most out of your experience, we recommend booking a rafting and trekking bundle with Pai Adventures.

Go picnicking at Northern Soul Riverside BBQ

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Address: 173, Mae Hi

Operating Hours: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 92 280 0518


Costs: 250 to 950 baht

This alfresco riverside cafe and restaurant is perfect for tourists who want to go on a relaxing picnic along the gentle Mae Yen Luang River. They offer numerous BBQ set meals which is ideal if you’re here with your friends or family.

Northern Soul Riverside BBQ’s outdoor area is also dotted with LED light-filled trees, so it’s the perfect spot for a romantic river date with your boo.

Pro Tip: 

The restaurant allows yoga instructors with clients to use its riverside space freely from 7:30 to 10 a.m. daily. This allows the restaurant’s guests to join the yoga session for free, so come by during this time if you’re interested.

Get a taste of Love Strawberry Pai’s strawberry wine

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Address: Thung Yao

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 81 765 3629


Admission Costs: Free

This is the place to go for anything strawberry-related! Love Strawberry Pai has everything, from strawberry fruits, smoothies, wines, coffees, cakes, brownies, jams, and juice.

Just know that fresh strawberries are only available from November to January during the annual harvest season. Also, this place has a park-esque setting so you’ll get plenty of photo opportunities.

Pro Tip: 

Their smoothie is too sweet, so ask for less sugar since the strawberry already has enough sweetness. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a sweet tooth.

Take a plunge in the Fluid Swimming Pool

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Address: 6, Mae Hee

Operating Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 84 259 9365


Admission Costs: 100 baht

The Fluid Swimming Pool is a solid option if you want to cool down in Pai. It’s particularly popular during the summer, so expect to see plenty of tourists going here for a refreshing swim.

This place’s on-site restaurant mostly serves Western staples, which is why it attracts more foreign visitors—an ideal place for meeting new people!

Pro Tip: 

Be sure to ask for a mat or beanbag so you have a spot to relax near the pool. They’re free.

Enjoy numerous activities at Santichon Village

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Address: บ้านสันติชลหมู่๕ต.เวียงใต้ Wiang Tai

Operating Hours: 5 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 92 530 2512

Costs: Free admission

This Chinese-themed village is a favorite among locals and tourists. Santichon Village is like a theme park, so expect to pay for most of the facilities, including the photo spots.

That’s why it can be a hit or miss with some visitors, but we think it’s definitely worth visiting given the number of things to do here. Think horse riding, archery, target practice, and traditional Chinese clothes rental.

Pro Tip: 

Since they charge for most of the attractions here, don’t forget to carry enough cash because card payments are not accepted.

Get a traditional tattoo at Korn’s Bamboo Tattoo

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Address: 236 Rural Road Mae Hong Son 4024, Wiang Tai

Operating Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 93 358 6415


Costs: starting at 1,000 baht

If a traditional Thai tattoo is one of the things you want to do in Pai, here’s Korn’s Bamboo Tattoo. This top-rated tattoo studio is famous for its skilled bamboo tattoo artists which makes it a solid pick if you want an intricate design or pattern.

But that’s not all—you’ll be pleased to know that bamboo tattoos are less painful than machine tattoos. And they heal faster too.

Pro Tip: 

Bear in mind that every client is required to book an appointment and pay the 1,000 baht deposit beforehand.

Find inner peace at Pai Yoga Shala

Address: 153, Wiang Tai

Operating Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 85 546 3665


Costs: Free for hotel guests (Yoga Hotel)

If you’re scrambling for more things to do in Pai, why not consider booking a yoga class at Pai Yoga Shala? This studio, in particular, is famous for its 3-day yoga retreats, which is great if you want the ultimate peaceful and rejuvenating experience.

Just know that the activities on the retreats aren’t consistent because they’re based on the predetermined classes and workshops on the week of your visit. That means you’ll have a different experience each time you book with them which is nice.

Pro Tip: 

Since their weekly schedule is predetermined, be sure to check the calendar on their Instagram page so you can book the date with your desired classes and activities.

Drop by Wat Sai Khao

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Address: 113 หมู่ 2 Tambon Mae Hi

Operating Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 85 715 0455

Admission Costs: Free

Wat Sai Khao is a quintessential Buddhist temple. It has numerous Buddha images, Naga statues, and temple structures, so it’s a great place to visit if you enjoy temple-hopping.

It’s also an active temple, so expect to see monks performing rituals and ceremonies on your visit. Wat Sai Khao is a peaceful temple, so you’ll love walking and sightseeing within its sacred ground.

Pro Tip: 

Wat Sai Khao is an active monk temple so avoid wearing clothes that show your knees and shoulders.

Explore Wat Thung Pong’s temple complex

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Address: Thung Yao

Operating Hours: 24/7


Admission Costs: Free

This Buddhist temple is on the unique side. It has a traditional Shan-style architecture which isn’t the most common style for temples around Thailand.

The temple has a teakwood exterior with silver-gilt roofs instead of the typical golden accents. If you enjoy taking photos of temple structures, Wat Thung Pong is definitely worth adding to your photo album.

Pro Tip: 

This is one of the more peaceful temples in Pai, so avoid making noise during your visit. You don’t want to disturb the visitors and monks meditating or praying inside.

Spend your day at Pai Bamboo Mini Golf

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Address: Mae Na Toeng

Operating Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 86 204 1953


Costs: 180 baht

If you want to spend your day having fun, one thing you can do in Pai is play bamboo mini golf. It’s a fun twist on the classic minigolf where you use a bamboo mallet and tennis ball instead.

Our favorite part about this game is winning a cool prize after getting a hole-in-one. Moreover, you get to enjoy a refreshing homemade lemonade that hits the spot when you’re playing under the sun.

Pro Tip: 

Usually, there are mosquitoes later in the day, so we suggest carrying an insect repellent if you’re booked for the afternoon.

Explore Pai on a scooter or motorbike

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Address: Pai

Operating Hours: 24/7

Costs: 170 to 200 baht

Though Pai has plenty of noteworthy attractions, nothing beats exploring its town and rural roads on a scooter or motorbike. This gives you the best chance to learn about the local lifestyle and enjoy its exotic atmosphere.

Our team’s diehard bikers say it’s one of the most fun things to do in Pai which every tourist should try at least once. Plus, bike and scooter rental shops are cheap and readily available in Pai, so it’s a great way to experience the region even on a budget.

Pro Tip: 

Keep your speed below 40 kph and slow down near residential areas since dogs tend to run across the roads. Not only do you keep road police away but you can avoid accidents better this way.

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