MOUNT A IN PARADIS IN PAI, THAILAND
Pai is a charming small town hidden in the misty mountains of Mae Hong Son. Although its traditional natural beauty has been worn down by influxes of tourists as the town becomes widely known due to media and reviews, this dream city continues to be a timelessly charismatic lady that is slowly adjusting herself to the modern day while staying classy in her own traditional way. The old road in the city center remains the beating heart of Pai with cafés and jazz bars inviting tourists from around the globe to come and share their cultures. At the same time, surrounding Pai is the pristine nature that continues to captivate visitors and give Pai its renowned charm, especially during winter.
Things to do
Memorial Bridge is the first landmark that welcomes all visitor to Pai. This symbol of the past tells the history of Pai as it was built during the second World War for Japanese troops en route to Myanmar. The original bridge was burnt down by the Japanese and what you now see is actually the old Nawarat Bridge from Chiangmai. The bridge is similar to Kwai River Bridge in Kanchanaburi and its naturally the landmark where almost all visitors stop by and take a picture so that they can say they have officially arrived in Pai!
CHEDI PHRA THAT MAE YEN
Although Wat Phra That Mae Yen might not look at all iconic or stands out from other northern temples, this temple has been the spiritual center for local Pai residences. The temple is perched on top of a hill so it commands a spectacular scenery of the whole town, but that isn’t all the highlight of the temple as it is home to the chapel and 3 meters’ tall pagoda which houses the giant white Buddha statue known as “Phra Buddha Lokutara Maha Munee”.
KHO GU SO BRIDGE
Located in Pembok village, Boon Bridge or Kho Gu So Bridge is another beautiful landmark not to be missed. The bamboo bridge stretches across verdant green rice paddies magically create the perfect natural scenery of people living harmoniously with the nature. Before the bridge was built, it was difficult and dangerous for monks to receive alms each morning, especially during monsoon season, so villagers got together to build Kho Gu So Bridge. Monks in the village can now use the bridge to commute without the risk of slipping in the mud or walking on the rice paddies. The bridge’s reputation now goes beyond Pai and thousands of tourists make their way here to experience the charm of beautiful rice paddies and feel the gentle valley breeze of Pai.
There are many breathtaking sunrise/sunset spots you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Our recommendation is to wake up early for magical sunrise scenery at Yoon Lai scenic spot. You’ll be surrounded by the sea of fog while watching the sun rising up from the back of the mountain and sipping hot tea.
Pai Walking Street used to have only a few local stalls when it first started. It now is one of the most popular destination in Pai with plenty of traditional food and handicrafts. Taste local favourites like Kanom-jean Nam-ngiew and Kao-pook or shop for handmade dresses, jewelries, and bags. Don’t forget to get a postcard as a token of your lovely experience in Pai.
Where to Eat
SILHOUETTE BY REVERIE SIAM
Setting itself apart from all fine dining scene in Pai, Silhouette is the first and only place in town to enjoy Italian-style tapas, as well as a range of delectable pasta and Mediterranean menus. The colonial inspired vintage restaurant is cozily located in the famous Reverie Siam Resort, guaranteeing a chic, yet warm atmosphere whether you are just enjoying a great brunch or planning a romantic dinner.
Address: 476 Moo 8, Wiang Tai, Pai District, Mea Hong Son
Tel: 081 920 9065
Opening Hours: 17.00 PM – 23.00 PM
Where to Stay
PAI ISLAND RESORT
Pai is full of accommodation options, from riverside resorts to small sanctuaries within the peaceful mountains. Pai Island Resort allows you to relax in a serene hideaway amidst verdant surrounding. It’s hard to believe the resort is only 5 minutes away by car and there’s a free pickup and drop off service to Pai airport, bus terminal, and city center. Inspired by explorer trips into African jungles, the villas have that rainforest exploration vibe and the interior design and decoration are the work of Thai artists. besides being fresh and spacious, the villas are fully equipped with all modern amenities, including a luxurious jacuzzi!
Address: 333 Moo 1, Khet Khelang Rd, Wiang Tai, Pai District, Mae Hong Son
Tel: 053 699 999
It takes around 3 hours to drive from Chiangmai to Pai, but if you get motion sickness easily it is recommended to catch a direct flight from Chiangmai International Airport to Mae Hong Son Airport. From the airport, it is another 2 hours’ drive to Pai.