This article has links to products and services we love, which we may make commission from.
Pai is a cool town in the hills north of Chiang Mai in Thailand. This place is a hippy haven and the journey to get there is lush. You can expect a wildly different experience from the likes of Thailand’s islands or energetic Bangkok. Some visit Pai on a day trip from Chiang Mai by bus or a scooter, others visit for a couple of days, a few never return. Let’s take a look at what to do in Pai, Thailand.
» Don’t miss our ultimate guide to Thailand«
Things to do in Pai, Thailand
1. Hot for Hot Springs
What is the best remedy after 5 hours, legs akimbo, scooter ride from Chiang Mai to Pai? Hot springs!
Surrounded by gorgeous green growth, Pai’s hot springs have varying levels of temperature (30-37 degrees), most are comfortable but one is too hot for bods.
This one is saved for locals who want to boil their eggs…
- Entrance: 300 Baht for tourists
- Pai to hot springs: 15 mins
Mok-fa-waterfall is found on the north side of Doi Suthep–Pui National Park. Visitors can park up and then walk the easy 10-minute (slippy) path to the falls.
The biggest fall is deafening and you can swim behind it. Just hold on to your swimsuit when you are under it!
Wear sensible shoes for the short hike and don’t forget to pack your swimming gear and towel. A perfect attraction for a hot Thai day.
- Entrance: 100 Baht (plus parking)
- Pai to Mok-fa-waterfall: 40 minutes
3. Pai Memorial Bridge
As you enter Pai, you may cross the Pai Memorial Bridge which was reconstructed after WWII. It connects the road over Pai River.
4. Get Pie-Eyed in Pai
After a day a relaxing you need a bit of balance! Bar hopping in Pai is fully encouraged and visitors follow the same bar crawl, as one closes they all hop to the next.
5. Feed the Hangover
Grab breakfast bowl at the likes of FatCat vegan-friendly cafe. Nearly all of the ingredients used come from their own garden.
Pai has a selection of relaxed dining opportunities but Cake Go “O” is the most Instagrammed. Find the cakes nestled between the flowers in this not so hidden anymore gem.
7. Pai Walking Street
Pedestrianised street market serving upmarket foods from around the world. Lots of seating areas so you can enjoy your meal while people watching.
Decent bars with live music too.
8. White Buddha/Wat Phra That Mae Yen
Climb the (many) steps to see not only the White Buddha in Pai but also glorious views of the village itself.
Something to consider doing at sunrise maximum zen as it gets quite busy at sunset, as to be expected.
- 25 min scooter ride
- Tuk Tuk from downtown Pai will take to you the base of the Buddha
- Address: Mae Hi, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130
9. Pai Canyon
A testing hike with worthwhile views. Trainers or hiking boots recommended as the path can get slippy.
- Entrance: Free
- 15 min scooter ride
- Address: Pai Canyon, ตำบลแม่ฮี้ Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son
10. Love Strawberry Pai
Alison in Wonderland/acid trip vibes at Love Strawberry Pai (see what they did there?) Everything is Strawb themed so you can enjoy a strawberry shake and take in the views.
Oversized strawberries and trinks for your Instagram pics too.
- Address: 80 Moo 10, Thung Yao
How to get to Pai from Chiang Mai
There are buses which take on the winding road from Chiang Mai to Pai. The journey lasts around 3 hours. Check out times and prices here.
If daring, you can hire a moped and drive the 3.5 hour trip along the testing road.
You must fill up with petrol when you see a gas station. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Olive Oil? Here is the future!
6 thoughts on “What to do in Pai, Thailand: Temples, Waterfalls + Hot Springs”
Great post – thanks for the suggestions. I’m heading to Chiang Mai with my daughter in a few weeks – looking for stuff to do. Did you see any kid-friendly things? (Don’t go chasing waterfalls cracks me up!). Cheers.
I honestly found Chiang Mai quite a strange place. It felt like a holding ground for people going on trips so can’t pinpoint anything specifically in the city for kids. I would highly recommend the Elephant Park trip though, I took back a t-shirt for my cousin and he is still wearing it two years a later (must be a tank top by now!) Just realised this comment is on our Pai article. Here are our top things to do in Chiang Mai.
Nice article. Can you tell me the name of the waterfall you found, in the pictures? It looks like something out of a photo shoot! I’m in Pai now & definitely would like to hang out there.
I’ve never seen a waterfall like it and we’ve now travelled to a further 16 countries! It’s called Mok-fa-waterfall (I#ll add to post, thanks for pointing out). Did you make it to the hot springs? I was just thinking about them this morning so bizarre timing that you ask about Pai!
Great post guys! Where was this hot springs? It looks awesome. We live in Chiang Mai and are always looking for great weekend trips.
Cool place to live! On the way to Pai, just outside of the town. Really worth a visit. Have some Pad Thai for me.