When imagining Thailand – blissful beaches, raving full-moon parties and crazy cities would be at the forefront of my mind, however that was before I’d visited Pai. Yes, you can guarantee that Thailand offers the aforementioned, but Pai and it’s surrounding area yields a completely different atmosphere altogether; as a town up in the mountains of Northern Thailand, it’s peaceful, luscious and bursting with unspoiled, idyllic, natural scenery. Originally, whilst planning the Northern Thailand leg of our trip, we were in two minds as to whether we’d bother with Pai and just stay in Chiang Mai for longer (this was due to some reviews I’d read online about the road from CM to Pai). I cannot tell you how glad I was that we didn’t listen and instead, went with friends recommendations to just do it.
If you’ve been skiing in the Alps – the road is no worse than when weaving your way up to the slopes… although I am glad that we opted for a taxi rather than a crowded hot bus to venture up to Pai, so if you are a little worried about feeling nautious and there’s a group of you, definitely arrange a taxi for your journey.
It is my favourite place that I have been to so far in Thailand; please keep reading to see why I fell in love with Pai.
Let me tell you about our hotel; Kuad Khon Thoe Pai Cottage which is situated in a perfect position, offering panoramic views over the countryside and just a short drive into town (the hotel provides a free shuttle service into Pai). Lounging on the sun bed and peacefully soaking up the tranquility enveloping us, with just the distant noise of crickets and a farmer ploughing his field – at only £16 a night for a double room, this hotel couldn’t have been more perfect. The owners were so friendly and the food was delicious – so I highly recommend it; click here to check it out.
Without further ado – here’s my top 5 favourite things to do in Pai…
1. Bathe in Sai Ngam Hot springs
There was something quite special about sitting in a hot river in South East Asia with some of my favourite people, being surrounded by mountains and nature. There are lots of different hot springs in the national park in Pai to choose from, but here we really revelled in just how ‘into the wild’ we felt, having just pulled up to what felt like a random river in the middle of the jungle – so it really was nature at it’s best. The water was a very pleasant temperature and wasn’t too uncomfortably hot, there’s also a small eatery over the road where we enjoyed a spot of lunch.
2. Walk the Bamboo Bridge
As I mentioned recently on Instagram, I was a little underwhelmed at the thought of spending a whole hour looking at a bridge, but as we were on a tour – I had no say in the matter. Thank goodness I didn’t because this stop hugely took me by surprise at just how enchanting it was. The bridge is made from Bamboo (of course) and it winds through captivating rice fields for about 1km, leading to a temple at the end. The walk was so magical and at every step I wanted to soak up every corner of surrounding landscape.
3. Explore Pai Land Split
After an earthquake in 2008, a farmer woke up to find his land had completely split open and consequently after a further two earthquakes which opened it up even further, he decided to expose his farm to tourists to show off the land split… Although it didn’t blind us with it’s beauty, it was super interesting to visit and walk down a crack in the earth! We had some fun climbing in and out of the split, my boyfriend got a little too brave and jumped the gap of which he didn’t make it and came out with ripped clothes and a fair few cuts (NOT recommended!). The farmer offers fruit among other products that he’s grown on his farm and just asks for a donation of your choice which is really lovely, so this is a really interesting stop!
4. Eat at Witching Well, Pai
As we had no idea where to go for dinner in Pai, we asked some people on our tour whether they recommended anywhere and they advised – The Witching Well. The food was delicious with lots of options and the cocktails were so delightful! We sat outside and the place oozed a relaxing ambiance with fairy lights and great music. For a great dinner – head to the Witching Well.
5. Watch the sunset at Pai Canyon
Not only was this a top moment in Pai, it was a top moment for me throughout our Asian adventure! I cannot explain how breathtaking the views were over Pai Canyon at sunset. Although very popular with tourists, you can easily find a spot to yourself as it’s so big. Unlike my friends, as I’m not the bravest of people, I tried to walk across the thin part of the canyon (with drops either side, may I add!) but had to turn back as it made me feel woozy. But not to fret, the view is just as good for those not wanting to risk their life (thank goodness) so grab your friend, a drink or even a picnic and brace yourselves for one of the most magical moments!
If you head into Pai town, you will easily find tours that take you to lots of different fabulous places (which is how we managed to cover so much of Pai), but likewise you could also rent a motorbike and ride to these spots yourself.
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