Riding through the Valley
Arguably one of the best places in Northern Thailand, the hippy enclave of Pai has been drawing backpackers and alternative types for years. We have spent over a month in Pai, spread out over a couple of years.
When we first checked it out it was when we were riding the Mae Hong Son Loop, one of the best motorbike circuits in Southeast Asia.
We kept coming back again and again, and recently spent another week chilling in our favourite place in Thailand.
There are dozens of incredible activities in Pai, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to these ultimate activities.
From what to do, where to go and even where to stay, here’s our list of the absolute best things to do in Pai, Thailand.
Every night the main street of Pai fills up with food vendors and market stalls selling everything from your quintessential hippie clothing and jewellery, to personalised post cards.
Even if you’re not into shopping though, you still need to spend just about every night making the most of Pai’s Walking Street, especially if you’re hungry.
The selection of culinary delights is quite varied; sushi, Indian food, barbecued meats, fresh fruit smoothies and deep fried everything. You certainly won’t go hungry!
Everyone ends up at the street market most nights so the people watching is great. Just watch out for first-time scooter riders who have no concept of how to drive. Entertaining, but dangerous!
Hot tip – Crashing a scooter is not one of our recommended things to do in Pai!
There are tonnes of waterfalls in Pai, but two of our favourites are the beautiful Pombok and Mo Paeng Falls.
At Mo Paeng Waterfalls there are great little pools with long, slippery rock faces running into them that you can slide down. The scenery is gorgeous and it makes for a fun place to spend a few hours.
Pombok Waterfall is a little more secluded, and the pool tends to be in the shade most of the time due to the high cliffs around it.
There are also a couple of ledges you can climb to jump off. Be sure to check the water depth before taking the leap!
Our recommendation for what to do in Pai is to rent a scooter from town and spend the exploring these epic little spots on your own.
The Land Crack (Land Split)
Situated on the road to the Pombok falls is this great little place that is definitely worth a stop over.
A small property hidden in the hills had always been a working farm, until a strange natural phenomenon changed everything.
Several years ago, the farmer’s land began to split and crack due to some strange soil erosion. His property became unusable as the land turned into a scene you would see after an earthquake.
The thrifty farmer then decided to turn his property into a bit of a tourist attraction where he now offers you nuts, fruit, sweet potato, fresh rosella juice and alcohol – all by donation!
Once you’ve filled up on food (he constantly brings you more to eat), you can walk up the hill to have a look at the split in the Earth.
The family is very friendly and are just happy to have people stopping by. Definitely one of the most unique things to do in Pai.
Check Out The Caves
Not exactly located in Pai, but instead in a town 35km headed towards Mae Hong Son, there is a spectacular limestone system known as Lod (Spirit) Caves.
A river flows through the caves and you can hire a guide to float through them on a bamboo raft.
At certain points you can climb up stairs and ladders to explore the stalactites and stalagmites up close as well as the numerous ancient ceramics and wall paintings that are scattered throughout the complex.
Definitely worth the drive/ride out there
Explore Pai Canyon
Known as Thailand’s answer to the Grand Canyon (a very ambitious claim), Pai Canyon covers a large area that offers some brilliant views and fun hikes.
If you are feeling very active you can scramble all the way down and spend hours climbing and getting lost in the nature.
It’s a bit of an adventurer’s playground too, because some of the paths are quite skinny and sketchy, so make sure you wear good shoes if you are planning on exploring the place properly.
A favourite pastime is enjoying the sunset with a beer in hand, watching the sky change to an astonishing array of colours.
You won’t be alone for sunset, but that just adds to the awesome atmosphere!
Get there by riding your scooter out of town back towards Chiang Mai.