The beginning

We knew we wanted to go to Pai and the most logical thing for us to do was hop off from Stray to Pai (as it doesn’t go here) and hop back on when we want to leave Chiang Mai.

Our train arrived at 7.30am, where we got a taxi to the bus station about 10 minutes away for our bus at 10.30am. They have a 7/11 here so Luke was happy! After a long wait, the bus finally arrived ready for the tretreous journey everyone was on about to us. Apparently, the road to Pai is very windy with all sorts of sharp twists and quick turns so it can be very unpleasant – and they weren’t wrong.

Where to stay

We finally arrived at about 2pm and headed straight towards our accommodation for the next 4 nights. Our place was recommended to us by some friends and was only located off of the main walking street, it was called Villa De Pai. Our place was beautiful (and best of all, cheap!), a little wooden bungalow with a small front porch complete with a hammock, a comfortable double bed surrounded by a (much needed) mosquito net, it was quite small but felt pretty cosy, an easy place to relax and enjoy the nearby river.

We grabbed some lunch in the walking street and went exploring nearby to see what Pai had to offer. You could tell straight away why travellers love this town so much. With quaint little food stalls, friendly restaurants and a relaxed atmosphere all within walking distance.

Villadepai Pai

Nightlife

We went back to our bungalow to relax after a long day of travelling before getting ready to see what the nightlife was like. We didn’t expect much due to the secluded nature of the place but it did get pretty lit! Conveniently, just outside of our bungalow was a bar called Boom Bar. This place was incredible with happy hour running from 7-10, great music playing and beer pong readily available, we loved it straight away. Me and Luke were one of the first ones up to start the Beer Pong and made a few friends, from there onwards we had a brilliant night with everyone we met.

 

Motorbike rental

Until that was once again waking up to a hangover – which weren’t too bad to be honest as it was the day of the King’s cremation so everything was shut (including 7/11 to Luke’s disgust as he was on a mission to have a hot pocket once a day)! We did however manage to venture out around 3pm, so we looked up where to get a ped from – Easy Riders which was next to Vespai and started exploring with our skudder we named Sheila.

Pai Canyon

Sheila’s first stop was the Pai Canyon. This place was incredible, only a few steps up and you managed to see what looked like a never ending landscape of deep crevices and deep green forestry. It was relatively unexpected to see such a vast horizon with such beauty in what was, essentially a town encapsulated by natural mountains over 1KMs high in some places.

 

Pai CanyonYou can walk around the canyon but at your own risk, as much of the canyon was on tiny ledges which was essentially a vertical drop either side with only centimetres of room for error. That being said you are safe as long as you don’t take any unnecessary risks.

This flagrant disregard for safety is a little liberating in way, the places we’ve been to in South East Asia so far have a sense of ‘safe enough’ mentality. Compared to somewhere back home for example there’s no way you’d be allowed anywhere near the sorts of places at Pai Canyon without a hand rail at least.

Located about a 3 minute drive from the canyon was a strawberry farm. One that offers local produce fruits, smoothies and juices for you to enjoy whilst having the freedom to explore their grounds. For a ‘hipster’ place you would think it was very popular but it was here for me and Luke to enjoy to all to ourselves. With my Kiwi soda and Luke’s Banana Smoothie, we walked around the place taking in how little we’ve seen of Pai so far but how amazing this little town has been.

Pai Directions

From here, we hopped back on as the rain was slowly creeping up on us and we didn’t want to be stuck in it, to back home. Later on, we headed out for a bite to eat, a place, again recommended to us by our friends – and my god, they were right! This place was called Maya Burger Queen, walking distance from our little bungalow. They hands down, had THE best burgers ever, me and Luke honestly believe these are the best we’ve had so far! It must have been popular as they had a whole wall dedicated to travellers and backpackers writing their reviews all over it filled with all kind comments and wishes to return.

 

Day 2

Our next day we went back out for some breakfast and to get our (much over-due) laundry done. We fetched Sheila again ready for day 2 of exploring. First on our itinerary was Pom Bok Waterfall, which upon reflection was nice but don’t go out of your way to see it. It’s located in between rocks that obscure your view of the high top waterfall which isn’t as vast as you would expect and with little places to get into the water it’s nothing more than a photo opportunity shrouded in rocks.

Pom Bok Waterfall

Land Spilt

Next was the Land Spilt, which we were quite hesitant to go to because it is basically what it says but it was located to the waterfall we’d just been to so we thought why not – and we are so glad we did! The history behind this land spilt was quite interesting to say the least. It was about a farmer who used to make money on growing and selling his local produce. That was until an earthquake hit Pai in 2008 and created a massive spilt in his land. So, in order to still make money, he turned this disaster into an opportunity – a tourist attraction.

A friendly man offers you a buffet full of local produce ranging from dried banana crisps (now my favourite snack!), to raisins, nuts, jams, sweet potato and even rosella juices and rosella wine all in exchange for a kind donation that is entirely your decision. After this, we went to explore the land spilt which was bigger than we anticipated about a 20m drop.

From here we was going to go to the Hot Springs but for our budget was a little too expensive and we didn’t have enough money on us at the time. It cost 300baht each plus 50baht to park your bike which equalled (£15) for somewhere we weren’t going to spend to long at so we decided to give this a miss and researched if there was any others nearby instead.

On the way back we stopped off at another coffee shop to recharge called Coffee in Love. This was a gorgeous setting overlooking the landscape of Pai, similar to that of the Canyon but with more greenery and a stunning backdrop for us to relax and enjoy what a beautiful little town Pai is, enclosed all around and only one road out it’s untouched beauty is even more defined here as we gazed on the horizon over a coffee/smoothie.

Waterfall and Viewpoint

Next on the list for Sheila was Mo Paeng Waterfall North-west of Pai. It wasn’t the right season by the looks of things as it was quite shallow and not enough water to be able to swim in or climb up so this was a short stay for us to say we have seen it, but we can imagine that in the right season, it would be more enjoyable.

Lastly, was the Yun Lai viewpoint located in their version of China Town which is also interesting to see. To get to the viewpoint it was a very steep incline (make sure you’re experienced if you are riding a motorbike), but once there the view was mesmerising. For only 50baht each (£1.10) including a China tea to sip whilst you take in what this town has to offer was in our opinion, was well worth it.

From here, it was getting quite late so we grabbed some street food in the local walking street and went back home to relax before getting an early night due to me (finally!) convincing Luke to get up for sunrise the next morning.

Yun Lai Viewport

Sunrise

Up at 5.30am and with a very grumpy Luke, we headed to the white Buddha. 353 steps later, we got to the top to witness the sunrise across the town of Pai. This is a great place to view the sunrise and see the town waking up under the golden sun. After this, we went back to the bungalow until it was an appropriate time to go off and have breakfast to start our day.

White Buddha Pai Viewpoint

Hot Springs

Today we were going to the hot springs. Not the ones we mentioned earlier but, we managed to research a hotel nearby the ones we previously visited who had their own private hot springs complete with a swimming pool. We spent the majority of our day here and pretty much, had the place to ourselves for only 100baht (£2.10) each. It was worth it to be fair, the hot springs used the same water from the other springs further down the road and it was a lot more secluded with basically no other visitors. A mini hot spring to ourselves.

Pai Hot Springs

After a long relax, we got back onto Sheila to a photo opportunity at the ‘IamPai’ sign, similar to the one you may have seen in Amsterdam. Then, to the bunny café which was situated right outside of our bungalow. This is a normal café but you get to interact with the bunnies as the waitresses place them on your table, we had a white fluffy bunny on ours!

Pai Bunny Cafe

From here we brought our bus tickets had some lunch in a local restaurant, headed home to finalise packing ready for our next adventure tomorrow and the start of the dreaded winding journey again.

Tips:

  • If you get Travel sick easily – take a tablet before heading on the road to Pai.
  • Get an early bus so you have time to recover and not have a whole day wasted.
  • Unless you are very experienced, don’t ride a motorbike to Pai.
  • You should rent a ped for getting around Pai due to things being far away from each other.
  • Don’t wear flip-flops to the Pai Canyon!
  • Visit Maya Burger – enough said.

I Am Pai Sign

About The Author

Wanderlust Lab is a collaboration between Abbie and Luke for the sharing of travelling knowledge to help backpackers and travellers all across the globe. Live Wanderlust.

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