Anyone who’s spent time in Northern Thailand has a special place in their heart for this sleepy mountain town – the relaxed atmosphere and laid-back lifestyle is addicting. Here are some of the highlights and our favorite things for what to do in Pai:
1. The scenery
Northern Thailand may just be one of the most stunning regions in the world, and the area surrounding Pai is proof. Magnificent, jungle-covered mountains, bright rice fields, clear creeks, unique canyons, wild waterfalls and more dot the landscape.
2. The laid-back vibe
The point of Pai isn’t to fill your time with things to do and places to go. Here you don’t plan out your days, and if you spend all afternoon lazing around in a hammock reading a good book before grabbing a beer that’s okay! Simply enjoy taking a break in a beautiful place…there’s no rush.
3. The veggie eats
With so many travelers coming through, Pai has a surprisingly large range of dining options for such a small place, especially when it comes to vegetarian, vegan and organic options. You can’t get very far without coming across a vegetarian cafe, fresh fruit shakes with superfood add-ins and plenty of local produce.
4. Bamboo bungalows, boutique resorts, and everything in between
While Pai used to be known for its rustic (and cheap) accommodation, in the past several years a wider range of accommodation options have opened up and now the town offers everything from basic bamboo huts to charming boutique hotels, all in gorgeous settings.
5. Getting back to nature
From the nearby hot springs and waterfalls, to Pai Canyon and various caves, there are plenty of places to get out and explore. One of our favorite ways to reconnect with nature is by spending time at a permaculture farm in the hills learning about standard permaculture practices, such as seed saving and building with natural materials.
6. Exploring by bicycle or motorbike
It’s best to see Pai on two wheels – grab a bike and go get lost!
7. The night market
Every evening there’s a night market along the town’s main street going past several restaurants and guesthouses. Of course, you can find your standard Thai tourist items, like baggy elephant pants, but there are many locally-produced crafts and goods for sale.
8. Yoga, meditation and massage
Pai is a place that seems to draw yogis, wellness practitioners and spiritual seekers from all over. There are always classes and workshops going on and it’s one of the best places to take your mat outdoors and do some sun salutations as the rice fields spread out before you.
9. The nightlife
You won’t find any crazy clubs, but they wouldn’t fit into the local scene anyway. Instead, tons of small bars lure you in to stay for a drink or too with funky decor and live music.
10. An ‘anything goes’ attitude
While it’s completely fine if you don’t do anything your whole stay in Pai except relax, the welcoming community and mix of travelers from all over the world also encourage you to get out and try new things. Along with yoga and meditation, you can also try your hand at a Thai cooking class, muay thai – even circus skills at the Pai Circus School!
Intrigued? We spend some time in Pai during our 10-Nights in Northern Thailand holiday. Get a sneak peek about what to expect below!