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Wanderlist Discover: Pai, Thailand

Wanderlist Discover: Pai, Thailand

Hidden deep in a valley, and separated from modern Thailand, Pai is no longer the undiscovered paradise that it once used to be. But don’t let that bother you… it still retains enough of its old world charm and bohemian lifestyle to attract visitors looking for a break from the pressures of modern, fast-paced life. Don’t come to Pai expecting to see a lot of sights, but just to chill out in a relaxed environment. Do some trekking, try white-water rafting or even tubing in the local waters, which are some of the most popular activities here. You can also explore the local countryside, which is peppered with natural hot springs, waterfalls and other similar scenic spots. At the end of a busy day filled with fun activities, come back to Pai’s cafes or bars to get a drink and just unwind.


  • Waterfalls : When you are in Pai, don’t forget to visit Pombok and Mo Paeng Falls, just two of the many waterfalls that surround Pai. The secluded pool at Pombok Falls is perfect for spending a few hours in water. The surrounding ledges can also be an ideal jumping platform for those brave enough to do a cannonball into the pool below. (Make sure you check the depth of the water before you jump, though!)
  • The Land Split : On the way to Pombok Falls, there is a farm land, which became famous after an a sudden case of soil erosion split the land, resulting in a crack in the land 2 mtrs wide and 11 mtrs deep. Effectively ruined for farming, the farmer realised that hibiscus flowers grew on that land abundantly, and converted that into a smart business opportunity. The farmer now offers visitors to his land snacks, hibiscus flowers and hibiscus juice, asking them to only pay whatever they feel in the form of a donation. Over the years, it has become a popular tourist attraction in its own right.
  • The Pai Circus School : In Pai, you can learn all the skills to become a circus performer at the Pai Circus School. For a one time fee, you can become a member of the school, and learn juggling and other tricks, from experienced performers. If you like, they also provide accommodation, so you can actually stay for a few days in the Circus School.

Best Time To Go:

November to February

It is best to visit Pai in the winters, which last from November to February. Pai gets crowded with tourists from November to December, which results in peak prices everywhere, so you could try visiting between mid January and mid February to beat the crowds. October is also good time to visit. March-April is probably the worst time to visit Pai, as that’s when farmers burn their farms to prepare the land for the next season, polluting the air, and making the region unfit for tourists.

Where in the world:

Pai is a laid-back, picture-perfect little hamlet located about four hours from Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second biggest city.

World Map - Pai-Thailand.jpg

Fun Fact: Today, Pai is one of the most popular backpacker destinations with chic cafes and bars, but before it was “discovered”, Pai was famous for its amazing vistas of mountains, secluded waterfalls and caves. Whenever you visit, remember to hike up through the long forest trails, into the mountains and get close to the real Pai.

Useful Information:

  • Language : Thai and English
  • Currency : Thai Baht (THB); 1 USD roughly equals 32 THB.
  • How to Get Around : Pai is a relatively tiny village, with most spots within easy walking distance of the town centre. If you are feeling lazy to walk, you can always take a scooter or a motorbike and scoot around town.

The Discover Series by Wanderlist

Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.

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