Now that you’ve been given the low-down on the basics about Pai, it’s time to introduce you to the many activities that Pai has to offer. There are a number of activities and locations to visit on the outskirts of Pai in terms of little towns, villages, caves, view points, as well as the motorbike circuit looping around Mae Hong Son. I’ll keep my list focused specifically to Pai and its 10 – 15 km vicinity, otherwise this post could be an extremely lengthy one!
5 words… Cushioned. Swinging. Hammocks. Panoramic View. What better way to enjoy the gorgeous northern landscapes than to be swinging on some hammocks atop a cliff? It just does not get better than this view in Pai. Known as “The Container”, this place has about 20 hammock swings, and is an open-air double decker with a rooftop. You have the option of swinging in the sun, so swinging in the shade; clearly designed to cater to both locals and foreigners! Did I mention, these hammocks can be used for free? Just take a seat, swing away! This gem is perfect for a quick afternoon escape into some serious Zen moments. There is also a tiny café selling a few drinks and eateries, but don’t except a giant meal to be served here.
Refreshing cool waters flow down the mountains here. It’s not a giant waterfall, but the atmosphere is amazing. Enclosed by mountains, this tiny space lets a perfect amount of sunlight through for the waterfalls and bedrocks to sparkle. Yes, this is a touristic and backpacker destination, and you will find people from all walks of life here, sitting and relaxing on the bedrocks. It’s is a great place to meet some free-spirit travelers and waste the day away. The waterfall itself is passed 100 meters of bedrocks, which means its a bit of a trek to actually be able to see the waterfall, as the passageway curves to the left, but it’s worth the view, so definitely go. Maybe you might even fancy a cliff dive once you’re there?
Pai Canyon will put your fear of heights to the test. A narrow path that is barely one meter wide, has its edges cut of by cliffs. Tread carefully when walking the canyon, especially if you are clumsy, like me! This location has beautiful sunsets, and is probably best visited during 4pm – 6pm anyways, as the heat can become a bit torturing if you go mid-afternoon.
Pai Hot Springs
The hot springs actually cost the bit of money. For Thai citizens its 50 THB per person, and for foreigners it is much more, around 200 – 300 THB, if I’m not mistaken. However, this destination has been very well preserved, and worthwhile to go during the winter season in Pai, as you’ll enjoy dipping in the hot springs much more than if it were 30 degrees outside. If you walk a bit further up to the top, you’ll find ponds of water that are 80 degrees Celsius, and definitely too hot for a dip… so please don’t try it! However, it seems as though the Thais got creative with this one. They figured, if they couldn’t swim in it, then we might as well boil eggs in it! I’m not even joking, this actually happens, except not many tourists and travelers know about this activity. You can buy eggs from the bottom of the springs at a small convenience store, place them in baskets that are provided at the springs, and boil them for about 15 – 20 minutes (since the temperature is more for poaching it takes a bit more time). A whole lunch picnic is centered around this activity, and it was hilarious to partake! We even invited some tourists that were there to join us.
White Buddha Temple (Wat Prathat Mae Yen)
Yet another beautiful temple in Thailand that boasts are large white Buddha statue. You have to climb a few hundred staircases to make it to the top, which can be exhausting if you’re as unfit as myself to say the least. You reward? A marvelous sunset view.
The above recommendations can be done in one day, if you’re short on time, and have the energy to spare. Here’s a little map of the routing we made. Feel free to click into it and edit the routing to your liking!
For this specific day adventure, you could either rent a motorbike (200 – 300 THB) or taxi (1,500 – 2,000 THB) for the day are both viable options. We personally decided for a third, and more exciting option of renting a pick-up truck and sitting in the back of it, since we wanted to enjoy the travel time together, rather than on separate motorbikes!
Finally, there are a number of other things that you can do around Pai, but I feel as though I should leave something for you to discover on your own as well!