Pai is an absolute must do on any trip to Thailand. Plus there are SO many things to do in Pai. People often get ‘stuck in the Pai hole’, planning to stay only 2 or 3 nights and end up staying for a week or longer.
To be honest, I wish it was lesser known so that Pai could remain to be the ‘chill hippy town’ it’s known to be. However, it was so amazing that I can’t keep all these tips to myself.
My Pai Trip
On my first trip to Thailand in November 2018 I was with a friend who came to visit me for a 3 week holiday. We decided to hit up most of the major spots in Thailand in that time. Which for those who have been to Thailand before know that 3 weeks is not a lot of time for that.
Our route started in Bangkok then up north to Chiang Mai for 2 nights, Pai for 1 night, and back to Chiang Mai for 1 night before flying down south to the Islands.
Now I know what you are thinking, Pai for only one night? One night is hardly enough time to put down your backpack and pick it back up again before you have to leave. Let alone actually see and experience the town.
Well exactly, we fit in as much as we could into our 2 days one night, and then I liked it so much I vowed to come back for longer next time. Turns out that next time would only be a couple of months later after attending a digital nomad summitconveniently located close by in Chiang Mai.
12 Things to Do in Pai Thailand
1. Rent a Scooter
See my post on why not to rent a scooter to drive to Pai. However, I would recommend renting one whilst in Pai. Firstly because it is much easier to get around than by taxi in this cute little town. And secondly, because if you rent it while you are there you aren’t stuck paying for it every single day if you know there are some days you won’t need it.
2. Go to Paradise Backpackers Bar
Paradise Backpackers bar is a funky place to hang out in the day time. Do some yoga, read a book and hang out. Then on Sunday and Thursday evenings they have a fire show. Any other night of the week it is the perfect spot to get a group of your travel buddies and try one of Pai’s infamous happy shakes. (That I of course didn’t do, xo Mom).
3. Grab a Drink at Jazz Bar
Now I am actually really sad I never got a chance to come here myself. It is supposed to be one of the best Jazz clubs out there and some of the people I talked to on my last few nights said it was absolutely amazing. The music was more soulful, and the atmosphere was better than you could have hoped for.
4. Dinner and Cheap Shopping on Walking Street
Once the sun sets walking street is the best place to grab some cheap and delicious street food. My all-time favourite was the Vegan Kebabs, even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian you can’t miss this place! There’s also a ton of more options, things like mini padthai’s, papaya salad, grilled bbq meats, and many other classic Thai street foods. If you’re looking for some cool Pai clothing or trinkets this is also the best place to do some late night shopping.
5. Night Out on Pai’s Bar Street
Although Pai is a very relaxed place with a hippie vibe to it they still have some very decent night life. Check out the bar street after hitting up the street food. Here you’ll find Boom Bar, Hakkunah Matata, and Pool Bar which are all quite lively for some drinks, dancing, and a good time out. Be aware though that they do close around midnight.
6. Don’t Cry Bar
Once you’ve hit up the above bars and are now sad that they’re closed, head on over to Don’t Cry Bar. The one late night place in Pai, open until 4am. Only about a 2 minute walk down the road from Pool bar, it is a nice big open outdoor bar that sports a few fire pits and a good dance floor for people to end their night.
7. Pai Canyon
Absolutely stunning view, especially to go at sunset. Plus it is only a short scooter ride away from the main town, so it isn’t too much of a hassle to get to.
8. Lod Cave
This cave is a bit of a drive from Pai, around an hour and a half. If you aren’t an experienced motorbike rider I wouldn’t suggest doing it yourself. There are many tours that will take you there instead for a reasonable price. Supposed to be one of the biggest and most breathtaking caves to visit in South East Asia. Learn all you need to know about Lod Cave before you go here.
9. Hot Springs
There are a few different hot springs in Pai you can choose from. The main one is called Ta Pai Hot Springs, and will cost you 300 baht to enter. The second most popular option and the one I chose was Sai Ngam Hot Springs. When you check online people say it costs only 20 baht to get in. However when you arrive it also costs 200 baht to enter the national park. So in reality it is 220 baht. Although this one was less busy, the hot springs were more like Luke warm and I wish we would have checked out the more popular one. To know more about the Hotsprings check out these 3 best spots.
If you’ve been in South East Asia for a while you might be tired of seeing waterfalls. I get it, I am too. But you really can’t miss out on the opportunity to climb and slide at some amazing waterfalls in Pai. Mor Paeng Waterfall is the absolute best waterfall for sliding down, especially in rainy season when the water is super high for jumping into. There is also Pambok waterfall which is great for swimming and practicing your cannon ball. There are two more lesser known waterfalls, the Hua Chang Waterfall and the Mae Yen Waterfall. Depending on how much time you have you could spend an entire day or two doing some waterfall chasing.
Tubing is one of the lesser known activities of things to do in Pai. But after having done it, it was one of my all time favourite activities. The only thing to be weary of is that in dry season the river can get quite low so I’d recommend doing it ideally at the beginning of dry season. However, when I did it at the end of January (middle to end of dry season) it was still an amazing time. “Bum’s up!”
12. Watching the Sunset at Pai Circus Hostel
Last but certainly not least is catching a beautiful Pai sunset. Now there are a lot of places to see it. Lots of people go to the Pai Canyon, but I think it’s a little too crowded at that time to enjoy it. There is also a bar called sunset bar, but my favourite place to see it was at Pai Circus Hostel. Seriously just look at that photo above. Pai Circus hostel is also a great place to stay as I spent my entire week there and found it extremely hard to leave. Shout out to the best volunteer, Roy who made Pai an unforgettable experience. You will forever be my shaman, and I your anchor!
Hope you found this list of things to do in Pai useful. Having spent an entire two months in Thailand, Pai ended up being one of my absolute favourite places. If you are heading to Thailand you absolutely cannot miss out on Pai. If you have already been to Pai and have anything else to add, don’t hesitate to comment below!
Also wondering what is good to do in Chiang Mai? Check my favourite thing I did in Chiang Mai here.