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Pai

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Pai (pronounced bpaai) (ปาย) is a small town (pop. 3,000) in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand. It is part of the Mae Hong Son Loop, which is Rte 1095 from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son. The city is named after the Pai River.

Understand[edit]

Pai

Set in a particularly picturesque valley north of Chiang Mai, Pai is a predominantly tourism-oriented town, offering a relaxed atmosphere with a broad tourist and backpacker scene. The town's permanent residents are a seemingly harmonious mix of Western hippies, Thai rastas, and muslims (there is a big mosque in the center of town) which gives the place a unique vibe which may be appealing to some, even if it isn't traditional.

A sudden boom in guest house and bar construction from 2006 onwards has resulted in a great deal of spare capacity in the off-season.— There has been a large increase in Thai people visiting after Pai was featured in a romantic Thai film, Pai in Love [[1]] It can be hard to find a room during the busy season (Oct-Feb). There are now around 350 guest houses and hotels in Pai, and the city centre has transformed into a tourist centre containing Western-style restaurants, souvenir shops, live music venues, tattoo parlours, and bars that cater largely to the now significant influx of tourists and package tours.

Perhaps due to the popularity of the Chinese movie "Lost in Thailand", which was shot in northern Thailand, Pai has seen a significant increase in the number of mainland Chinese tourists and group tours during 2014. Much of the signage in tourist areas of Pai now features Chinese characters.

While the growth of Pai has been rapid and more or less every farm in the valley seems to rent bungalows, development so far has been largely tasteful and the town remains relatively serene during low-season.

Get in[edit]

By road[edit]

Rte 1095 which connects Pai with Mae Hong Son (50 km as the crow flies, but approximately 110 km by road) and Chiang Mai (135 km) is a very scenic route through the mountains which takes several hours (but is worth it). It's a steep and winding drive, with 762 curves between Chiang Mai and Pai, so take a plastic bag and some motion-sickness pills if you need them.

By motorcycle[edit]

Rte 1095 isn't as bad as people make it out to be. There isn't much traffic and you can hear the cars and trucks coming. If you're a little adventurous, rent a motorcycle in Chiang Mai and make the ride up to Pai. You can stop at the waterfalls and small towns along the way, and you'll really enjoy the trip, as opposed to being motion sick in a bus for hours, and being forced to stop at the driver's friend's restaurant. Make sure to take some warmer clothing on your bike, as it tends to get a bit chilly in the higher portions of the ride. As a novice rider, expect the trip to take around 5 or 6 hours, including stops at sites and restaurants along the way.

aYa Service [2] offers one-way rentals from Chiang Mai to Pai (or vice versa) with luggage delivery for "free," though they charge extra for returning a bike in a new city after a 1-way trip. They will keep your passport and send it along with any baggage to aYa in Pai.

By bus[edit]

Buses and mini-buses go to Chiang Mai (Arcade station - tel:053304748) and Mae Hong Son. Regular public buses take around 4 hours and charge 78 baht. The privately-operated mini-buses take around 3 hours. There is a 15 minute rest stop at the small half-way village of Mae Sae, which has very good Northern sausages, seasonal fruits, and traditional curries and soups available as well as snacks, drinks (excellent coffee!) and importantly, well-serviced toilets {3 baht}. Tickets sold by guest houses and travel agencies cost about 150-180 baht, however the best option is to head straight for the ticket office adjacent to the orange/white mini-vans and buses at the far side of the old Arcade Bus Station (across the road from the new bus station). Tickets are consistently 150 baht here, the buses are well-serviced and fitted with better quality brakes appropriate for the 762 unforgettable curves that carve their way across the mountain range, and even better, you can avoid complications from booking via guest houses (extra cost due to booking commissions; and poorer quality mini-vans that often have non-functioning air conditioning).

If your budget is extremely tight, take the public bus (one daily at 7am, 80 bath, 4 hours). It's not highly recommended as the buses are older and less up to the task of the demanding mountain carriageway, however some travellers prefer the slower pace in order to ease the gravitational pressures of cornering on one's stomach and to take in the scenery. But after traversing this road perhaps a hundred times or more, the orange buses are by far the best option and give you a better chance of getting to Pai in a timely way and unwinding at your guest house.

The buses described above generally operate hourly from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son via Pai and services commence from around 06:30 with last service around 17:30. In high-season season those services often increase to half-hourly.

It may also be possible to privately hire a small red pickup truck (known as a songthaew) that can carry up to a dozen people, from the Arcade station, but you would be looking at a minimum cost of around 1,200 baht which doesn't compare with the much safer and economical private mini-bus service. If you choose this option, the view and wind in your face may be pleasant, but not the exhaust fumes, road grime, and seasonal humidity.

TOP TIP: From your guest house in the Old City precinct of Chiang Mai, walk to prominent Thae Pae Gate and flag down a red songthaew and ask "bai arcade satanee rot bat, mai?" ("Do you go to Arcade intercity bus station?). Most but not all, do or will go there and the fee is just 20 baht per person. Tuk-tuks will usually want 150 baht for the same journey. On your return from Pai you will be inundated by pushy tuk-tuk and private hire songthaew operators, but a simple "mai ow krap" ("No thanks", said politely) followed by "tong khan songthaew bai Thae Pae gate" should see you directed to the small flotilla of waiting red songthaews, which involves a wait usually of no more than 10 to 15 minutes to get a shared 20 baht ride and avoid sole chartering at significant extra expense. It it takes too long, watch which direction the songthaew goes (towards the west and the distant Doi (mount) Suthep, and flag one down on the side of the road for 20 baht!

By plane[edit]

Kan Airlines operates flights between Chiang Mai and Pai in a twelve seater Cessna Caravan. The frequency varies with demand according to the season. Flying time is 25 minutes. Passengers can make reservations and purchase tickets through the airline website, their call centres, or with a travel agent.

Get around[edit]

The town itself is compact and best explored on foot. Suggestions in guidebooks that Ban Santhichorn and Lisu Village might be reached on foot are optimistic.

For exploring further afield, bicycles (40-100 baht/day) and motorbikes (from as little as 80 baht/day) can be rented from many agents along the main street. The roads around Pai are steep and obtaining a decent mountain bike with fully functioning gears is surprisingly difficult. A motorbike is definitely the better option if you can drive one. aYa Service in the town centre rents motorbikes for 100 baht (and a 100 baht helmet deposit), plus 40 baht for damage insurance, 40 baht for theft insurance (passport taken as deposit). You also have the option to return the bike in Chiang Mai.

You'll also want a motorbike if you're planning on staying in some of the outlying bungalows in the valley around the town.

Motorbike and 4WD taxis are also readily available.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Chinese village (Santichon). Village settled by Yunnanese hill tribes who crossed the border in the middle of the 20th century to escape Communist rule. Shops selling different Chinese teas with varying health properties, and other interesting oddities include a human-powered Ferris wheel. Well-worth a look, even as a brief stop on the way to Mo Paeng Waterfall  edit
  • Pai Canyon (Kong Lan), (signposted from the Chiang Mai Rd, approximately 8 km from Pai). Somewhat optimistically described as Pai's answer to the Grand Canyon, it could more accurately be described as narrow red ridges with steep-sided valleys, both sides filled with pine and dipterocarp forests. The steep 50 m drop either side and stunning views over the surrounding countryside are impressive, but you'll need to be careful here. The path is extremely narrow in some places and requires a scramble in others. A set of steps up to a viewing platform provides the safest way to admire the scenery and the canyon makes the perfect spot for a sunset.  edit
  • WWII Memorial Bridge, (on the road to Chiang Mai, approximately 8 km from Pai). The original bridge here was built by the occupying Japanese. The current steel truss bridge which sits alongside the present main road was assembled in its current position rather more recently, but as with Pai's canyon, the bridge invites very loose comparisons with the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai.  edit


  • Village Farm (Pai Village Farm), 205 Moo 1, Mae Hee, Pai, Mae Hong Son, Thailand, 58130 (From Pai town, cross Pai River by the South East bridge. Then travel a few hundred meters down the road you will find a junction with a small drive way up the hill in between the 2 main roads. Head up that hill for a few hundred meters you will find the farm to the left.), 66 53 698 152, [3]. 10:00 - 16:00. Less than 5-minutes from the center of Pai, You will experience a unique world of fruits, flowers, animals, including the star attraction, a lovely pair of Alpaca known as Rosemary & Aron. You will also enjoy local coffee and snacks as well as a souvenir shop. And a perfect opportunity for the most memorable photos of Pai. 40-80 THB. (19.3577,98.4493) edit

Events[edit]

  • Poi Sang Long. A famous Buddhist child ordination festival, especially in Mae Hong Son. Thai Yai cultural dance show can be seen at the temple fair, in the evening.  edit

Waterfalls[edit]

  • Mae Yen, (7 km out of town with no bikes allowed for the last 6 km of that. Head east over the bridge heading out of Pai and follow the signs. It takes about 2-2.5 hours each way, crossing the river every few hundred metres.).  edit
  • Mo Paeng, (12 km west of Pai past Santichon). A little more accessible than most of Pai's waterfalls, this multi-tiered waterfall flows through a verdant green valley and is popular for its pools to swim in. The upper section of this waterfall is a natural water slide during the dry season. The rocks are smooth, just find a small section and slide on down like the locals do! Exercise caution, as people have died on the slides (as recently as May 2013, a tourist died hitting his head and drowning in the bottom pool. The ambulance took 30 mins to arrive.)  edit
  • Pam Bok, (on the road to Chiang Mai before Pai Canyon.). Nice secluded waterfall with high cliffs surrounding it, making this a very cool place to escape the heat. Go for a relaxing bathe in the shade during the dry season.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Renting a bicycle or motorbike to ride around the countryside seems to be the most popular activity. You can easily create an itinerary to include visits to the nearby waterfalls and hill tribe villages. Potential day trips include the Tham Lod cave 55 km away in Pangmapha, best visited when the bats emerge just before sunset.

Go off-road through the mountains of Pai on a off-road motorbike tour. Better off-road possibilities and better prices than in Chiang Mai. Ask your guest house where to book.

  • Elephant Trek. For several years now, travellers have enjoyed riding an elephant and concluding the trip with a romp in the Pai River. For this adventure, take as little as possible. You'll be enjoyably wet as the elephant is encouraged to shower you. Some operators, and there are several, are willing to take photos of you while you enjoy the elephant's antics in the river.  edit
  • Isara Gardens Cookery School and Restaurant, 94 Moo 1 Viengnor (10 minutes by motorbike from the centre of Pai. For directions just call Muk. She organises free pick-ups), +66 85 6230091. Unique Asian fusion organic cookery class, run by Muk, a former restaurant manager and bar manager at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. The school is located in an eco-friendly, atmospheric open-air studio, designed by the owner herself, in the middle of Isara Garden's organic vegetable patch with a good view over Pai Valley. 1,000 baht.  edit
  • Pai Zip Line Adventure, Tessaban 1, +66 89 5596267 (, fax: +66 89 5596267), [4]. A glamorous adventure in an extensive forest and fog tri-season. The exiting flight with the 14 station canopy, 2.5-3.5 hours, ends at the beautiful Pam Bok waterfall 8 km out of Pai where you can take a bath to cool down. There is no longer any ziplining in Pai. 1,200 baht.  edit
  • Sitjemam Muay Farang Northern Thailand, 2 Moo 6 Na Jalong, Pai, +66 86 1826483, [5]. Managed by a friendly Thai/Italian couple, this camp offers professional training. Not far from the centre, the camp is surrounded by mountains that make for a breathtaking view. Two sessions a day (morning, evening) with reasonable prices and accepting trainees at all levels.  edit
  • Sunday Farmers Market at Ing Doi Guesthouse, 155 หมู่1 ต.แม่ฮี้ อ.ปาย จ.แม่ฮ่องสอน, 081 0262735, [6]. 10am until around 3pm. More like a festival than a normal market, market goers enjoy mountain views while treating themselves to organic produce, handmade crafts, body products, a wide variety of baked goods, music, and more. Free. (19.3569,98.4486) edit
  • Tha Pai Hot Springs, (signposted from the Chiang Mai Rd). Bathing here is supposed to have therapeutic properties, but you'll want to save it for a cool day. Sulphuric water bubbles out of these hot springs at temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius and simple baths have been created where the springs meet a stream which cools temperatures to bearable levels. A short, marked forest trail takes you through the compact national park more noticeable for its smells than its sights. Last entry to the springs is at 18:00, but you can stay longer as long as you get in before 18:00. If you'd like to enjoy the hot water after sunset as it gets cool, you can bathe in a mineral pool in the nearby Thapai Spa for 80 baht. 200 baht.  edit
  • Trek. Pai is a major starting point for organised trekking tours which are offered by every guest house and travel agent. Pai is undoubtedly one of the best trekking destinations not only in Thailand, but in all of SE Asia. It benefits from proximity to vast jungle-clad mountainous terrain, some of the world's most extensive cave systems, and diverse and intriguing fauna and flora. Plus hill tribe communities that trace their origins to the Shan ethnicities of Burma (Myanmar) and southwestern China.  edit
  • Tubing. Floating down river on an inflated rubber tube has long been a favourite pasttime of SE Asian backpackers, and the gentle current of the Pai River and its attractive scenery make this fun. Unlike the more famous Vang Vieng in Laos, the Pai River isn't lined with raucous bars playing loud music, which some may consider more a blessing than a curse.  edit
  • Whitewater Rafting. Some of Thailand's most spectacular rapids are found between Pai and Mae Hong Song, and a few operators offer both one- and two-day rafting trips.  edit
  • Fluid Pool Club, 6, Moo 1, Mae Hee, Pai Mae Hong Son 58130 (Fluid is located 500 metres past the Bamboo Bar, Don't Cry Bar and Rasta Art Bar, on the road to the elephant camps / hot springs.), [7]. Pool club just outside the town center of Pai. Admission is 60 baht per day and includes use of the pool, gym and sunbathing areas and can come and go all day. 25 meter pool, cafe, Wi-Fi, small gym and frequent parties. 60 BHT.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Pai's burgeoning tourist industry has resulted in a range of cutesy, hippie-influenced souvenirs sold in shops throughout the village

Some of the hill tribe members sell handicrafts in the local market, although what's on offer here pales in comparison to the range available in Chiang Mai

Pai only has an a few bookstores , some of which carry hard-to-find titles. The main store is along the bus stop road, past aYa Services.The other a new store/cafe is just across from Aya to the right.

Eat[edit][add listing]

For such a small town, there's an astonishing number of restaurants, most of them catering to the needs and tastes of foreign travellers, but also including a wide range of Thai regional cuisines.

In the evenings, various stalls open on the main street, with different offers on different days.

  • Art in Chai. Beautiful place built by an artist named Otto. Warm cosy atmosphere with great chai tea and cakes and cookies. Nice atmosphere to play instruments. Free Wi-Fi.  edit
  • Burger House, (100 m east of the traffic light on the main road). Owner Nat and husband, Matt, offer 12 different real beef burgers, chilli, sandwiches, specials, dinners, pork chops the size of a Clive Cussler novel, beer, wine, etc.  edit
  • Charlie & Lek's, (on the road to Chiang Mai, just before the police station. Look for a sign with the restaurant logo, We Love Lettuce!). The vegetables used in the cooking are grown fresh on their own farm and the bar has a wonderful relaxed and romantic atmosphere. They also offer cooking classes for 750 baht a day. Thai food is 30-70 baht a plate.  edit
  • Chew Xin Jai, +66 857173628 or +66 832069457. 8:00-20:00. This Thai/Chinese buddhist restaurant is a great option for budget travelers as well as vegans/vegetarians. The Taiwan owner cooks all dishes without MSG and uses high quality vegetable oil resulting in clean and delicious tasting dishes. From 8-5 you can get a plate of rice with a big spoon of 1 dish for 25B, 2 dishes for 30B, 3 for 35B or 4 for 40B. They also offer a la carte from 8am-8pm. The dishes are from 39B and include some non-Asian options as well. 25baht+.  edit
  • Good Life. Serves organic and vegetarian foods at decent prices. Rice (including brown) dishes with vegetables starting at 40 baht. Breakfasts from 100 baht. Has a great selection of tea from the tea master TK. But they have 130 baht wifi price.  edit
  • Kin J, (between the main traffic light and the afternoon market). This little vegetarian restaurant serves a selection of purely vegetarian food daily. Get there early, as it's mostly sold out by mid-afternoon. It's only 25 baht for brown rice and two dishes.  edit
  • Lan Nong Nueng Thai Food, (On the same road as Charlie and Lek's, about 50 meters South on the opposite side of the road, across from the police station. The sign is in Thai but look for a white banner over the outdoor kitchen). Great option for budget travelers. The friendly owner doesn't speak much English but there is a menu in English full of cheap options. Feel free to substitute meat for tofu in any of the dishes or chose the veggies you like. Most Thai dishes 30baht. Smoothies 20baht.  edit
  • Na's Kitchen. Na still works in the kitchen everyday, serving northern food to tourists and Thais. She speaks great English, and will even teach you a bit of Thai if you ask nicely. Na's is always a favourite of the long-stay travellers and the ones returning for a second, or third go in Pai.  edit
  • Name Unknown, (directly opposite the Pai District Office). The Thai local restaurant of choice. Very few Westerners to be found, but the menu is in English. Excellent Thai salads and sticky rice.  edit
  • Nong Beer Restaurant, (on the corner of first traffic light on Walking St). Family-owned restaurant that serves "fast Thai food" (food is already cooking and comes straight from the pot). Very good food and very cheap. Kao soi with beef for 40 baht.  edit
  • Peace of Pai, (on the edge of town on the road to Mae Hong Son), +66 89 9554548 or +66 82 1822383. Home-grown organic food is served here but the main attraction is the postcard-perfect view from the upper floor terrace. Hemp clothing is sold downstairs, which may or may not fully explain the prominent "THC" signs  edit
  • Witching Well, [8]. Wide selection of all types of food, including some great Western dishes and amazing shakes. Try the apple pancake, it's to die for. One of the co-owners is Italian, so the pasta dishes are amazing and authentic. Coffee is great as well as the tomato salad and avocado salad when in season. Can confirm as at Nov 2013 food still excellent... Cakes Delicious!!  edit
  • Mamas, (Located directly next to the day market, there is a little street on the left side of the market at the beginning of the street you will see the sign for Mamas, follow this to the end and you will find Mamas.). The curries are the best we have eaten in Thailand. All the food is well made and the portions are very good!! This place is far from touristic as it lies just outside the tourist area October 2013 soups 20-30 All meat and vegetable dishes with rice 35 baht All curries with rice 35 baht.  edit
  • BeBe Spice. Newly opened in April 2014, BeBe Spice is a great place for very tasty regional Indian specialities with a hint of Thai flavors. The menu is set perfectly with a varied selectionof both popular Indian dishes and some that are lesser known. Very well priced for the amount of food you get. A starter, main and large beer is only 160 baht. Amazing and friendly owner who isn't shy to sit down at the table with you and enjoy a glass of wine. BeBe is located on the main street, just opposite Pai High School. If you've reached the bridge leading out of town, you've gone too far. It's just next to Buffalo Bar.  edit
  • Good Life. Serves organic and vegetarian foods. Has a great selection of tea's (black,herbal,oolong, see the back pages of the menu) also sells smoothies and health supplements which can be shipped worldwide. Breakfast starts at 120 baht, wifi is free, though it does cost to charge your mobile or laptop there.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are many bars selling beer and cocktails, especially along the main street that leads to the Chiang Mai bus stop. There's a wide choice of live music, typically involving Thai bands playing their way through reggae classics. There are also many tea and coffee shops, including herbal brews.

Late night venues are found clustered on the fringes of town: across the bridge on the eastern fringe and on the road to Chiang Mai on the west

  • Bamboo Bar, Raddamrong Rd (across the bridge on the eastern edge of town). Bamboo-floored venue perched on the riverside next to the other late night venues. Open until late, cozy atmosphere and good food  edit
  • Bebop Bar, (on the edge of town on the main road to Chiang Mai). Offers a range of live music. There is a really hot performer early on Saturday nights, and all the locals and travelers in-the-know show up there at that time, no cover.  edit
  • Don't Cry Bar, Raddamrong Rd (across the bridge, next to Bamboo bar). Mostly open-air bar with fire shows, reggae music, and pool table. Fills up later in the evening.  edit
  • Edible Jazz, (about 50 m from the junction next to Wat Pa Kam). Varied live music in the evenings in a relaxed atmosphere  edit
  • Park@Pai. Live music every night from 21:00. Music lounge with artistic interior design.  edit
  • Reggae Bar, (on the road to Chiang Mai). This hard-to-find bar is the place for hippie hang-outs. Look for the people sitting around a camp fire with acoustic guitars and djembe drums. Live music every night sometimes provided by the customers. Feel free to bring along your own instrument!  edit
  • Yellow Sun Bar. Great hangout with good selection of reggae music, a pool table and friendly owner. Popular hangout with most of the travelling crowd.  edit
  • Chillax, (Further up from Darling Viewpoint Resort, junction leading to Circus School). This chill out joint is for you if noise isn't your thing. The only place to enjoy a single malt whisky or any other good liquor  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There's an abundance of guest houses in Pai, most of them in the budget range (a bungalow goes for around 100-500 baht depending on amenities included). Mid-range options are available and there are now even luxury hotels, such as The Quarter.

At the bus station there is a map of Pai. Get this as it will show you the location of most of the guest houses (>100 places). There is also a discount for motorbike rental.

If your accommodation is far away from the two main streets of bars, be careful of the packs of dogs that roam the empty streets at night. They do get territorial and intimidating, so if you come across them then remember to keep a safe distance away and make noise to scare them away.

For accommodation with lots of character try out a bamboo hut on the river. Head east from the bus station and either take the first left or continue straight. Either way you'll reach a bamboo bridge. Across the bridge you'll find plenty of cheap accommodation (about 100-400 baht per night).

Despite the general hippy vibes, camping seems to be a far memory close to the center. So far (December 2014), many places with huge garden invented excuse or double prices for tent (100 or 150 bath EACH person).

So far just the following still do camping:

  • Pai River Lodge. 150 bath per tent: nice bungalows garden with river view  edit
  • River Bridge Restaurant. 100 per tent but really basic campground  edit
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget less than 500 baht
Mid-range 500-1,500 baht
Splurge over 1,500 baht

Budget[edit]

  • Abodaya Guest House, (turn left out of the bus station & head into the small Wanchalerm Rd. Abodaya Guest House is just a short walk from the junction.). Cosy, clean wooden rooms with attached bathrooms, fan, & more power sockets than you'd need. Nice hot shower. & front porches attached to most rooms with couches & cushions provided. Very rustic environment amid the convenience of location. Both 7-11s are just less than 5 minutes walk away. Just walk a minute to the main road to where all the activities are. Friendly & helpful staff. 400 baht..  edit
  • Baan Pai Riverside, (at the end of the bus station road just across the bamboo bridge). A very friendly Thai family offers simple bamboo bungalows with hot water private bathrooms, mosquito nets, and small terrace to sit and read. Just on the river, nice view and relaxing. Raised bamboo mat next to water great for morning yoga stretches or just chilling out. Restaurant too. 200, 300 baht.  edit
  • Darling View Point Resort, (across the river at the hillside, 400 m to town.), +66 89 5596267, [9]. Gorgeous views overlooking Pai, river, and mountains with restaurant, swimming pool, pool table, campfire, sunset in the hammocks. Hot showers, free Wi-Fi/computer, linens. Dorm, 150 baht; room, 400 baht; bungalow, 500 baht.  edit
  • Eden Guest House. Rooms are bungalow-style with private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and hot showers. Beds can be a little hard but just ask for another mattress or comforter. The owner is very friendly, offering discounts for people staying a long time and rides into town on the back of her motor bike if you're staying there alone. The garden in well-maintained and beautiful with a relaxing common area, but you are not likely to run into many other guests if you are not staying here in peak season. This place is great for people who want some privacy and solitude. 200 baht in the off-season.  edit
  • Ever Green Guest House, 220 Moo 4, Wanchalerm Rd (5 minute walk from bus station), +66 82 619 1390. Wooden, Thai-style housing in central Pai. Reasonably priced rooms with hot shower and fan. Free Wi-Fi (even works in rooms). 150 baht single, 200 baht couple.  edit
  • Farmer Home Bungalow, (15 minute walk out of town, across the concrete bridge turn right and follow the signs). Quiet and peaceful place outside of town, good views and rice field environment. The big plus here besides the very reasonably priced huts is the swimming pool! Free Wi-Fi in the restaurant. Bungalows 100-500 baht. Simple Single Bamboo Hut Bathroom outside 100 baht.  edit
  • Golden Hut, 107 Moo 3 (5 min walk from the Pai bus station), +66 53 699949, [10]. Basic and clean bungalows with a nice view of the Pai River and surrounding mountains. There is a beautiful, peaceful and spacious garden with hammocks and fruit trees, and there is also a comfortable common area where one can hang out, have a drink and watch the river flow by. 100-800 baht.  edit
  • Happy House Guest House, (on the small soi opposite the gas station and 7-11.), [11]. Free pool table. Free Wi-Fi. Stove and dishes for cooking your own food. There is a bar downstairs with a sociable atmosphere. 150-500 baht.  edit
  • Ing Doi Guesthouse, 155 หมู่1 ต.แม่ฮี้ อ.ปาย จ.แม่ฮ่องสอน, 081 0262735, [12]. One of the longest-running accommodations in Pai. Amazing views and private bamboo bungalows, extensive lounging space and restaurant, which has received rave reviews. Free wifi reaches to bungalows. 150-500 baht. (19.3569,98.4486) edit
  • KK Hut, (From the bus station, walk towards the river along the main road. Cross the river by the bamboo bridge and keep walking straight for another 10 minutes. KK Hut is on your left hand side, near Pai Circus School. You'll find the signs on the way.), (), [13]. Cheapest place to stay near town. Only 10 minutes walk across the river on a nice natural environment. They even include breakfast and free lunch on Tuesdays. Best of all, Kuan and Korn, the friendly couple who manage the place. Korn is a tour guide and can organize tours. Single THB 150. Double THB 200/250 depending on the season..  edit
  • Mountain View Guest House, (a little way out of town at the top of the hill, opposite Bebop), +66 86 180 5998, [14]. An unpretentious, peaceful guest house with gorgeous views overlooking Pai. Video room, bar, and free entrance to swimming pool & gym. Bungalows with Western bathrooms and hot showers. Free Wi-Fi. Camping available. 150+ baht.  edit
  • Noon House, (turn right from the bus terminal, then turn immediately right again. It is some 30 m along on your right (look for the sign)), +66 53 699383. It is quiet, with no outside disturbance. . Twin has outside toilet. Rooms have TV with plenty of channels. Laundry done cheaply. They will rent a motorcycle to you for 120 baht per day. The street in which the guest house sits has any number of restaurants in the opposite direction to which you come in, and there is a 7-11 some 300 m distant. Double/twin with fan, 400 baht; 500 baht with air-con.  edit
  • Pai My Home, (1 km from the centre at Ban Mae Yen, near the Wat Phra That), +66 81 9010346 (), [15]. Gay-friendly guest house, cosy, relaxed atmosphere, weekly parties. 150+ baht.  edit
  • Phi Chi, (east past the main traffic light, past Burger House on the right.). 'Phi Ch(a)i' is Thai for older brother. Quiet, clean, hot water showers, Western toilets, some rooms have TV and it's close to everything. 300 baht..  edit
  • Purple Monkey, 114/1 Moo 1, Mae Hea, Pai (East over the bridge. There's a path to the right just after the bridge which takes you down to the river. Turn right and go under the bridge, the hostel is 50 meters further.), +66 93 912 6512 (). Charming hostel with clean, basic rooms, they offer dormitory style accommodation as well as private bungalows. Run by a Canadian expat/Thai couple. Set on the river and close to the bars and restaurants, can fill up quickly so best to reserve online. Good place to chill out and meet fellow backpackers. 150 - 500 baht.  edit
  • Shangrila, 17/3 Moo 1, Mae Yen (2 km east of Pai in Mae Yen), +66 81 9510101, [16]. Teak bungalows with private bathrooms and hot water in a beautiful and peaceful semi-wild garden with many fruit trees, a private stream and a common kitchen. There is also a beautiful house with a great view of the valley for rent. Monthly rates available. Run by a lovely couple who also offer a natural holistic detoxification program. A 20 minute walk east of town. 200 baht.  edit
  • Spicy Pai Hostel, +66 85 2635147, [17]. 10 minute walk from town. Call for pick-up or ask at aYa minibus centre when you arrive. Warning: will be full in peak season. Dorm: 150 baht, Bungalow: 400 Baht.  edit
  • Tacomepai, (6 km from town on the road from Chiang Mai.), +66 86 1123504, [18]. Simple bamboo bungalows in an organic food forest. Knowledgeable owner will teach you about sustainable living and farming at daily classes or for a fee. You will be invited to actively participate in farm life and to cook in the communal kitchen. Food picked from the farm costs 15 baht/meal. Free pick-up at bus station. Free Wi-Fi. 150 baht.  edit
  • Thale Mhog Guest House Pai, +66 81 9010346, [19]. Cosy accommodation. Bungalows: 250 baht.  edit

Mid-Range[edit]

  • Pairadise Guesthouse, (Follow the main road towards the river. Cross the bamboo bridge over the river and keep walking up to the sealed road (you will pass Baan Pai Resort on the way). Pairadise will be right in front of you. Exact location on this map http://www.pairadise.com/map.php?lang=2), 053 698 065 / 089 4313 511 / 081 5954 974 (), [20]. Nice bungalows overlooking an artificial lake. Quiet place far from the noise, but only 300 mts. away from town. Very helpful german and thai speaking staff. Huts with fan and attached toilet THB 500 (April-September), THB 600/800 (February-March and October-November), THB 900 (December-January). Bigger and A/C bungalows also available..  edit
  • Amy's Earth House, 99 Moo 5, Mae Kong (4 km north of Pai (turn right at the airport), +66 53 065099, [21]. Seven ecological adobe houses and 3 dormitory rooms set in beautiful gardens with a wonderful view over the valley and mountains. Fan-cooled rooms (air-con unnecessary due to the natural building style), TV and Wi-Fi in all rooms. Laundry service and very clean rooms. Pool table. Restaurant with Thai and European food. The owners speak English, German, and Thai. Free shuttle service; the bus station will call for you. 150-700 baht depending on room type and season.  edit
  • Baan Nern Khao View Pai Resort, 183 Baan Mae Yen, Moo 1, Mae Hee, +66 53 400361 (), [22]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Twelve cottages and bungalows with contemporary furniture. Double fan-cooled rooms, double and triple air-con rooms with hot showers and cable TV in all. Overlooking the valley and mountains. The owners are English speakers. High rate is for a house that sleeps 10-12 persons. * Bueng Pai Farm, M.5. Mae Hee, Pai (2.5km out of Pai towards the hot springs. Turn right into Mae Hee village then take your first right towards the rice paddy fields), +66 89 265 4768, [23]. Various bungalows either on the lake or with a rice paddy view and gardens with a view of the valley and mountains. Fan-cooled rooms (air-con unnecessary), hot shower & Free WiFi in all rooms. Laundry service, clean rooms, soft mattress and fresh linen. Organic swimming pool, island library and guest kitchen with aquaponic garden for guest pick and cook their own meals if they prefer. Restaurant is only open for breakfast. The owners speak English & Thai. Free shuttle service from AYA or the bus station. Scooter or bicycle rent is recommended. 600-2000 baht depending on room type and season.  edit 600-2000 baht depending on room type and season.  edit
  • Charn Resort, 103 Moo 8, Wiang Tai (1 km from the centre of Pai. The bus passes Charn Resort when driving into Pai), +66 89 1649328, [24]. Charn Resort is surrounded by the beauty of nature and a lovely garden. Great view of Pai surrounded by mountains. There are fan-cooled and air-con rooms including TV, hot shower and free Wi-Fi. Website in Thai with no prices.  edit
  • Pai Laguna, (at km96 on Rte 1095, only 1.5 km before Pai town), +66 81 7339055 (), [25]. Offers excellent individual bungalows for two people with a separate bathroom, and balcony overlooking the lagoon, with exquisite mountain views. You will find discount vouchers for Pai Laguna if you eat at Charlie & Lek's restaurant. 500-900 baht.  edit
  • Rim Pai Cottages, 99/1 Moo 3 (in the heart of Pai , on the Pai River, only a few steps from Pai’s shopping street , less than 5 minutes by walking from the bus station), +66 53 699133 (fax: +66 22 119656), [26]. One of the more up-market options in Pai and offers several kinds of wooden cottages. Meals served on a nice open terrace overlooking the Pai River. 500-4,000 baht depending on room and season.  edit
  • Violin House and Garden, +66 89 8504968, +66 87 1746896, [27]. Located north of Pai just up the hill from the crossroad at Mae Khong. Violin is the name of the owner's (Kim) daughter. Kim's English is a bit limited, but she is a meticulous innkeeper and lovingly cares for a collection of charming and very tidy bungalows. It's a few kilometres from town, past the airport, but the setting is serene and the sunset views to the mountains are sublime. Low season 490-1,390 baht; high season 600-2,000 baht, Wi-Fi and A/C included..  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • PaiCome Hide Away Resort, 327 Moo 5 Baan Namhoo (On the way to the Chinese (Yunnanese) village. You will find a sign once you reach Wat Nam Hoo. 3km away from city center), +66 53 699993 (), [28]. Beautiful resort sorrounded by nature. Swimming pool overlooking corn fields and river. All rooms include TV, Wi-Fi, Fridge, A/C and attached toilet. Free bicycles and shuttle. Superb breakfast included. THB 2000 - 3000 depending on room and season.  edit
  • Baantawan Pai Guest House, 117 Moo 4 Vingtai (10 minutes away from Pai airport and 500 m from Pai Walking Street night market), +66 53 698116, [29]. Peaceful location close to town and tourist attractions. Bungalows and rooms (fan or air conditioned). Wi-Fi. Guided motorbike tours. 700-3,500 baht.  edit
  • Butterfly Homes, +66 53 115270 (). A private, teak, 3-house connected compound, plus 3 mud houses for daily or weekly rental. Located in town just up the road from Pai Hospital and walking distance to walking street. Two of the teak houses serve as bedrooms with king-size beds and the third house is the living and lounge area. Bathrooms in all villas with outdoor showers in the bedrooms. Cleaning staff on-site. Hin, Din, & Sai are 3 mini mud villas in a creative cob-style built from local soil, sand, and stone. Located in a single compound, the design reflects all that is Pai. The resort in same compound serves and delivers authentic delicious Thai food. 1,800-8,000 baht.  edit
  • Wang Chang Puek Resort. 18 rooms. Fan and A/C bungalows. In Pai, 50 m from the Pai River. 1,800-2,800 baht.  edit

Contact[edit]

Pai has several Internet cafés, most on Ratchadamnoen and Rangthiyanon Rds. They are a uniform 30 baht/hour for ADSL. There are some places with free Internet for customers of food and drink. There is also one place that accepts donations for use of a wireless connection.

Get out[edit]

  • Chiang Mai, northern city 3 to 4 hours from Pai. Minibus 150 bahts from Minibus Station in Chaisongkhran Road hourly. Public bus 80 bath 12pm.
  • Mae Hong Son, see local hill tribes.
  • Pangmapha



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