If you’re backpacking through Thailand or living in Chiang Mai as a Digital Nomad, be sure to spend a weekend in the hippie town of Pai, just 3 hours to the north of Chiang Mai.
Pai is a small town that packs a lot of action. Be sure to visit some of these spots while passing through or spending a long weekend of 3 days in Pai!
Visit the Pai Waterfalls
There are many waterfalls to visit when you are in Pai, Thailand. My favorite was the Pam Bok waterfall outside of the city. You can rent a motorbike from just about anywhere in the city center – rent one and visit all of Pai’s waterfalls in one day!
The Pam Bok waterfall was the easiest climb to get to the actual falls. A simple trail and wooden bridge brought me to the falls.
Bring your water shoes (to protect your feet from the rocks at the bottom of the water), a dry towel, and a couple beers to sit down and relax with friends. This waterfall is much more chill and less of a party spot than other waterfalls in the surrounding area.
Mor Paeng waterfall is the most crowded waterfall in Pai and is a hotspot for sweaty backpackers to cool off in the water and catch some breeze coming off the mountains.
Beware. Of. The. Slippery. Rocks.
I faceplanted once and saw many others take a nosedive. Which is especially scary because the waterfall has some height to it. If you slipped off the wrong rock, it’s a several feet drop that could seriously injure you. I wouldn’t recommend taking fancy cameras or anything not necessary with you for the climb, you could damage your property and you’ll need full functionality of all your limbs to navigate to the top safely.
Relax at the Land Split
The Land Split, or land crack, is on the way to the Pam Bok waterfall, so make an afternoon out of it and do both activities at the same time.
The owner used to be a farmer, but when the earth split his property in half, this savvy businessman decided to turn it into a small tourist destination.
He will provide free fruit, banana chips, nuts, hibiscus tea, and jelly in exchange for a donation. He also gave us a bottle of homemade wine, pour small glasses because it was more like saki or moonshine as far as taste.
I donated 100 baht because the owners were so welcoming and friendly. It was a perfect place to rehydrate and relax in the hammocks after motorbiking in the sun all day.
Swim at the Secret Hot Springs *Shhh*
There are 2 natural hot springs we had heard of during our weekend in Pai. The Sai Ngam Hot Springs and the Pai Hot Springs.
We went to the Sai Ngam hot springs, which is a national park, and fairly hidden compared to other more touristy springs closer to the city. It was further away by motorbike and much less expensive. We pulled up to the park ranger and paid him 60 baht per person for entry. It was a lovely little spot with bath water temperature springs and crystle clear water.
Although BE CAREFUL – the final leg of the way there on motorbike was very tricky. Steep downsloping curves and long stretches going up hill made me think our little motorbike wasn’t up to the challenge, but thank goodness we made it. Also, thank goodness I was on the back so I could close my eyes and not look at the winding roads.
An Instagrammers paradise! Get tons of cool action shots after a short climb up the mountains (using stairs, a luxury!). Two different paths. I’m terrified of heights so I avoided one path and hung out under the gazebo taking in the views while waiting on my friends to return.
Once they got back, we trekked the regular path and took in the views, the breeze, and of course tons of photos! The heat is a major factor at the canyon and combined with climbing, you’ll want to bring a water bottle along. If you forget water, no worries, there are street vendors selling bottle for 10-20 baht a pop.
Nightlife in Pai
Nightlife in Pai isn’t what you’d find in Bangkok, hell or even in Chiang Mai. There’s a few bars dotting the streets, but don’t expect a club scene. We had a drink at Sunset Bar, and while the view was great if you don’t have a scooter, it’s a fairly long walking distance from the center of town. It was actually a little overrated from all the amazing things we’d heard about it.
We also passed Don’t Cry Bar and it looked like a good time, if you’re intoxicated enough to handle all the blacklights and neon 420 signs. Of course, you can find Mushy Shakes, Shroom shakes, just about anywhere in Pai so be careful and make sure you have a safe way to get home if you choose to partake 🙂
Did I miss anything that’s a must-do while spending 3 days in Pai? Let me know in the comments!