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Now I have to admit, I’m usually a tropical kind of girl, and the sun and the breezes always win my heart. After a short 5-day trip to Pai with my lover, I fell in love with this mountainous locale.

It’s definitely safe to say that I have a new favourite destination in Thailand, and she happens to be in the North!

Now imagine a tiny little Thai town nestled amongst the tall trees, always near the riverside, where love flows through the air and happiness is in abundance…

You’ll slowly start to feel yourself relaxing and unwinding, and falling into bliss with your true sweetheart.

This was the case for me anyway, and my short time in Pai was nothing short of amazing – and so needed!

As free spirits, my partner and I fell in love with the simplicity, creativity and naturalness of Pai – and I think it’s so important as a couple to stop for awhile and simply be. Reconnect with nature and yourselves, and we absolutely did.

If you’re looking for a destination that’s full of good vibrations and smiling faces, a magical atmosphere and a ground that radiates love… I don’t know how, but Pai is the perfect place for you and your love.

Read more:

25 Unique things to do in and around Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand

16 Adventurous, cultural, and artistic things to do in and around Chiang Mai

5D4N Romantic Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai Itinerary for couples  

1. Sit among the trees, yoga till you can’t no more and drink tea in floating clouds – Everything is FRESH in Pai

Everything in Pai is fresh from your surroundings to the ingredients they use in their food.

All of your senses are heightened, and the beauty that constantly surrounds you created by mother nature is incredible. If you love nature as much as we do, you’ll be in perfect harmony and balance in Pai.

From the mountains to the hill tops, pine trees to banana leaves, it’s a gorgeous green mixture of it all.

Photo Via Shannon-Osztonits

Everything here is fresh and that includes the food, and it really makes a difference to the overall taste and satisfaction of eating a meal.

We also went one early morning to check out the viewpoint (this one is said to be a special place for lovers) and castle at Santichon Chinese Village. The clouds floated past our heads as we indulged in some freshly brewed green tea.

Photo Via Rodrigo.chamusca, Artyomlevonyan
Photo Via Robbdjulie
Photo Via Shannon-Osztonits, Kittiphop_racing
Photo Via Isabelrosewest, Whats.esther.eating
Photo Via Rosesoul0217, Ckdowling

PS: Pai is really into their healthy vibes and prolonging the temple that is your body, so if you’re vegan, you’ll be in heaven and if you’re a yogi, you’re gonna freak out.

Chinese Village of Ban Santichon   

Price: 20 Baht / approx. USD $0.60 per person (for entrance to viewpoint)
Address: Wiang Tai, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 80 992 4433

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2. Flavour, freshness, colour, zest (and a little bit of love) – The FOOD in Pai is too good

I must admit, the boyfriend and myself consider ourselves to be quite the foodies, and are constantly on the hunt for mouthwatering treats. Boy did Pai deliver.

Lemon Thyme Cafe was our favourite restaurants and according to my love, serves ‘the best eggs benedict” he’s EVER eaten, and that’s one of his favourite things, so that’s saying something. Their eggs bennie with salmon is KILLER, and their Avocado toast on homemade bread is to.die.for. (I can’t remember the last time I ate such a buttery avo in Asia.)

Photo Via Planin_pump, Biggiebiggu
Photo Via Chl_rudal, Dubuchoko, Beatniklisa, Thaiin, Larakim_

Earth Tone is another divine brekkie/lunch option, and their completely vegetarian menu is full of colour, zest and freshness. Btw, there are many vegan and veggie cafes here.

Photo Via Cadecarina, Photowise
Photo Via Jarieuswolfbrooke, James_slurrr, Le_petit_original

Art in Chai serves the most heavenly Spiced Indian Masala Chai tea (definitely try their iced option), just bursting with cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. The set up is a beautiful bohemian rhapsody, and I sat watching the owner finish off his painting of a beautiful tree with Buddha sitting gently underneath.

Photo Via Noknoinaja, Kent_hippo
Photo Via Emmapolard, Lm_nutrition, Matleenahonkanen

With so many places in Pai, these were just a few of our personal favourites. Don’t expect anything overly fancy/dramatic, but that’s the beauty of it.

Lemon Thyme Cafe   

Price: Coffee from 60 Baht, Food from 150 Baht / approx. USD $1.90, $4.70
Address:  63/2, หมู่ 3, เวียงใต้, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 95 224 9677
Opening Hours: Thu-Tue from 8am to 9pm; Wednesdays from 8am to 5pm

Website

Earth Tone    

Price: From 70 Baht / approx. USD $2
Address:  81, Rural Rd Mae Hong Son 4024, Mae Hi, ปาย, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)  (Opposite Mae Yen Pagoda, Pai, Thailand)
Contact: +66 84 662 8062
Opening Hours: Sun-Fri from 9:30am to 5pm (Closed Saturdays)

Website

Art in Chai     

Price: From 80 Baht / approx. USD $2.42
Address:  Rat Damrong Road, Tambon Wiang Tai, Amphoe Pai, Mae Hong Son, 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 87 178 7742
Opening Hours: Wed-Sun from 9am to 11pm (Closed Wednesdays)

Website


3. From fireshows to jazz bars, Pai comes alive at night – You’ll enjoy the CULTURE in Pai

Pai feels extremely artsy, in the sense that this is where the creatives of the world come to unwind. With a place with so much creative energy, there’s bound to be a culturally rich atmosphere.

What I like about it as opposed to the rest of Thailand, is that it’s not all about island vibrations and ‘ten thousand backpackers with ten thousand buckets’. There’s a mature, ‘finally found a slice of heaven somewhere in the world’ feeling about it. And it reflects across the town.

Photo Via Phanuwatniambang, Aeyersx

Mojo Cafe was where we found ourselves after dinner for an evening glass of wine (or two), as well as delish cocktails, and some live tunes.

Photo Via Benz_hassada, Songwood_thongthou

Sit back and relax to the Blues-y sounds of their regular jazz and blues band, an eclectic mix of Thai and foreign musicians.

The ambiance here (seating inside and outside) is warm and low key lit. It also has a jazzy, classical feel to it, and it was simply the best ending our evenings to some amazing live music, while snuggled in my lover’s arms.

Photo Via Patson12345
Photo Via Phunmak

Mojo Cafe  

Price: From 100 Baht / approx. USD $3
Address:  61/2 M.3, viengtai, pai, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 95 631 5554
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun from 5pm to 11.30pm (Closed on Mondays)

Website

4. Trinkets for your home, artists on the go and great food – Go SHOPPING at Pai Walking Street

Now, I’ve travelled through many walking streets in my 20 countries around the world. (Probably over 100 just while being in Asia TBH…) This is by far, my absolute favourite!!!

It’s an incredible eclectique mix of the most beautiful trinkets, handicrafts, clothing, leatherworks, artwork and delicious food.

Photo Via Oomangporoo
Photo Via Ammorobo
Photo Via Zepfur, Little_khwanchanok

What made it for me was the great variety of food here; something to suit all tastebuds and moods. Because of this, we actually ended up eating here most evenings because the food was just that good.

I went back twice for Queen Gyoza’s gyozas which had the perfect amount of golden crisp on the outside, while the actual dumpling was soft and delicate really.

There’s cups of strawberries everywhere too (mountain-grown strawbies!!!) and you have to try a bowl of chicken noodle dumpling soup typical to the region.

PS: During the day, there are some actual shops open, but all the roadside stalls (and floors) open at night and some shops even transform into another!

Pai Walking Street  

Price: From 30 Baht for strawberries and skewers; 70-250 Baht for food / approx USD $0.90; $2-$7
Address:  Chai Songkhram Rd, Wiang Tai, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Opening Hours: Daily from 5pm to 10:30pm

5. Something to get your (foodie) taste buds tingling – Explore the explosion of FOOD at Saturday Night Market

So this is how it works; Pai’s walking street market runs every night, but on Saturdays there’s an over explosion of even more food, and a lot of the stalls selling food sell on Saturdays only.

Photo Via Malwine_1

Of course we chose to eat here again on Saturday, and the street was bustling with an aroma of smells, colours, aromatic delights and people.

Photo Via Herrydays, Clickeric, Copyratchaphol, Klimczakkatarzyna

We ate the most flavoursome Chicken masala curry, I chose Chapati over roti, and wow, did it blow my brains. I cannot handle my spice (I have a sensitive palate, okay…) and usually if something is too hot I actually can’t eat it. However with this one, I ate every last bite! Now that’s truly saying something!

They’ve got sweet baked potatoes with a nacho filling, and layered cheesy lasagnas (and a variety of veggie options too!), fried chicken and black bean pancakes, double nutella & banana crepes and homemade gelato! I mean…

Photo Via _koooooala, Lil.shredder, Bexjane_gonetravelling, Armazuzaa

Saturday Night market @ Walking Street   

Price: Food from 80 Baht / approx. S2.40
Address:  Chai Songkhram Rd, Wiang Tai, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Opening Hours: Saturdays from 6pm to 11pm

6. If the two of you are creatives, you’ll really love this – Go nuts SHOPPING around Pai

I’m sorry but this really needs a mention on it’s own.

Pai has the most gorgeous array of shops and stalls, and is the perfect place to find gifts and presents. I was on the hunt for one for my bestie and found her the most stunning detailed, dainty silver quartz ring for 400 Baht!

Photo Via Noom02
Photo Via Khanittha.thongkorn, Futabasaurusm

There are so many handmade things to buy that are all so beautiful, each item is so unique and special.

Being up North, there is a different selection of items to buy which reflect the culture of the Thai people here – so say goodbye to a billion elephant pants and tye dye shops.

(I bought a traditional Tai hat and my boyfriend thinks I look like some crazy voodoo witch doctor, but I simply LOVE it. It’s even got bells and silver elephants hanging on it!)

Photo Via The_chan_min, Dtongnoise, Vidu_wi, Hippypai

Also the vendors don’t hassle you into buying something, if it’s not for you, they simply leave you to be with a smile.

Some of my favourite buys were my chakra crystal, handmade tea-tree oil soap and a handmade leather bag (for just….500 Baht!!!).

Photo Via Yopadee, Knowbelle

Saturday Night market @ Walking Street   

Price: Food from 40 Baht
Address:  Chai Songkhram Rd, Wiang Tai, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)

7. A thousand hills, fairy-garden stay and all the love – Pai is absolutely MAGICAL

There’s simply no way to describe it, and I guess you’ll have to experience it for yourself, but there is just an abundance of magic and love in the air here.

From all the smiles, to the forestry of green trees constantly surrounding you, Pai is all about the good vibrations.

Photo Via Kruglova_ksenia, Sushihillinpai

We also happened to find the.most.amazing accommodation prior. Everything is so much cheaper in Pai just FYI – and for just $50 per night at Your Resort Pai, we felt like we were in our own little paradise.

Photo Via Life-Out-Loud-Official

We chose a gorgeous traditional Thai-style house in our own garden of Eden. There was a storybook-inspired streaming river running through and butterflies greeting us every morning. We indulged in fresh berries everyday and our breakfast was served to us on our patio every morning.

Photo Via Sushihillinpai

With a backdrop of mountains and a river, and rice fields too, the sunsets there truly melted my heart.

We also chose a place to stay that wasn’t IN town, but I always love a little privacy with my love when I’m away.

Your Resort Pai  

Rate: From 1800 Baht / approx. USD $55
Address: 100 Moo 1, Wiang Nuea, Mae Hong Son, 58130 Pai, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 80 992 4433
Opening hours: Daily from 5am to 6pm
Website

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8. Dive into some magical waters – Pai’s lush WATERFALLS

Don’t you think that the reason why us humans love waterfalls so much (apart from the fact that it’s a cascading fall of water) is because it somehow has mystic attributions?

Well Pai has four main ones for you to choose from, and they all vary in length of journey, natural surroundings, areas and the actual fall itself.

Out of the lot, Mae Yen Waterfall was definitely our fave, and even though the walk there was the longest (2.5 hours there, 2.5 hours back) it is the most gorgeous walk and area of them all. I felt like I was transported back into the jungles of Thailand before anything even began. It was glorious and my body felt so revitalised afterwards.

Photo Via Lindseyeunson

If you’ll looking for a hidden treasure, try Hua Chang Waterfall – probably the best kept secret. The walk is full of obstacles, so expect to be crossing bridge paths made from tree trunks.

Photo Via Marlouvdmeer

The other waterfalls you could consider are Mo Paeng and Pam Bok Waterfall. However, if you only want to visit 1 or 2, we’d highly recommend Mae Yen and Hua Chang!

Photo Via Howlett_emily.jane, Maliamoore, Oipuuui
Photo Via Michal_om_cz, Lamelodiedamour_

PS: If you decide to walk Mae Yen waterfall I’d advise wearing water shoes or flipflops. You’ll cross the river about 30 times each way!

Mae Yen Waterfall     

Price: Free!
Address:  Mae Yen Luang, District, Pai, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)

Hua Chang Waterfall     

Price: Free!
Address: 410749,516251, 98 บางนา-ตราด 19 แยก 24-1 Bang Na, Bangkok 10260, Thailand (Coordinates here)
Getting there: The Hua Chang Waterfall is difficult to find because there are no signs directing you towards it from the road. Drive out of Pai’s center via the bridge crossing the Pai River. Then take the first road left towards the ‘Circus School’. Follow this road, through a town, for another ten kilometers, until you see a big sign saying ‘@ PAI’. Take two right turns at the big tree and follow the narrow country road until it eventually changes into a muddy path. After a good 5kms, you’ll find the river, park your motorbike here

Mo Paeng Waterfall   

Price: Free!
Address:  Mae Na Toeng, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)

Pam Bok Waterfall    

Price: Free!
Address:  Unnamed Rd Tambon Thung Yao Amphoe Pai Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130 Thailand Tambon Thung Yao, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand (Coordinates here)

9. The natural surroundings here are simply gorgeous, so truly experience it – DRIVING/RIDING in and around Pai

There is no greater feeling than the wind rustling through your hair, and the smell of fresh leaves flying by when you’re in the open on a bike.

Being so completely surrounded by green, can you imagine just how wonderful the drives around here are?!

Photo Via Adventure-in-You

Whether you’re driving a car, or riding a bike, many travellers drive through the breathtaking Mae Hong Son Pass. But please y’all, it’s a super windy road with lots of twists and turns, so seriously make sure you’re licensed, and you’re not a first time driver/rider!

Photo Via Donnaubags, Rainbowcito

The drive up took us two hours by bike (compared to the usual 3 hours via minibus).

You can hire a bike from Chiang Mai and drive it up to Pai, and the rental service will bring your bags along for you, no worries.

PS: Nothing is really that far away from each other in Pai itself, so when a local tells you ‘ahhhh no, very far’, he means a 3-minute drive away, so it makes getting to lots of places in a short amount of time doable.

TripCanvas Tip: Only hire a moped, scooter or motorbike if you have an international or Thai license. If the police pulls you over and you don’t, well, you’re in trouble love.

AYA Service      

Price: Motorbikes are 100-150 Baht / USD $3-4.60 per day (for automatic or semi-automatic bikes); 300 Baht / USD $9.10 (to ride it up/down to Pai)
Address:  22/1, Moo 3, Chalsongkram Rd., ปาย, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand  (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 53 699 888
Opening Hours: Daily from 7am to 10pm

Website

10. Such a sense of warmth and love constantly – Find the real land of smiles through the PEOPLE of Pai

This was one of my most favourite parts about visiting beautiful Pai; the people. Being far up north and close to the Burmese border, the locals here are quite different to the rest of Thailand from their features to their souls.

There is also a Chinese and Indian presence and influence, and it feels like the people here have adapted the simplicity of both cultures.

Photo Via Kainuiin, Booking-cares

When we arrived at Your Resort, one of the first things the owner said to me was “Don’t worry and remember, life here is very relaxed and easy” and it’s a sentence that carries.

Also, the travellers here are like-minded individuals; easy going, natural, laid-back kind of people, and I noticed the French and Israelis really love it here!

The local Thais are all bohemian-hippies, sitting and smiling at each passerby, all with a real sense of calm about them.’

Photo Via Bomworldwide

It always makes a difference when visiting a new town, city or country that you feel a sense of warmth and love from the place and people, and this truly is the feeling here.

Nothing is too much of a problem, everything is easygoing, and days are spent enjoying our beautiful world together – and that’s what made it so special for us!

Where is Pai & Mae Hong Son?

Pai is a province that is a 3 hour drive from Chiang Mai, and Mae Hong Son is 2 hours’ drive from Pai!

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit is from October to February during winter! Enjoy the deliciously cold and fresh mountain air… *.*

How to get to and around Pai & Mae Hong Son?

The best way to get to and around Pai & Mae Hong Son is via car or motorbike.

1. Book a private chartered car with driver: Highly recommended. We’ve rented cars and driven on road trips ourselves, and have also tried hiring private chartered cars with driver (most convenient!).

You won’t have to worry about taking turns to drive or getting lost, when there’s a local who’ll handle these. All you’ll need to do is focus on your family/friends and enjoy the trip to the fullest! Klook offers very competitive rates from USD $120 / SGD $164 per car. Check out their customisable Pai & Mae Hong Son Itinerary (1-4 day options) with a private driver.

2. Rent a car: Not recommended for inexperienced drivers, especially with the crazy mountainous roads you’ll experience travelling to Pai.

If you’re confident on foreign roads, then you can simply load the directions on GPS (or Google Maps on your phone).

When renting a car, make sure to check your rental car thoroughly – from ensuring that everything is working fine, to when it was last serviced. (Europcar Thailand, from USD $35 / approx. 1167 Baht per day // Sixt, from USD $33.40 / approx. 1114 Baht per day)

Our tip: If you plan to drive up mountainous roads like we did, we recommend renting an SUV with higher power to go up the mountain. We got a 1.6L Sylvia and almost stalled the car, and 2 of us ended up having to get out and walk up while our friend drove up!

3. Rent a motorbike: Not recommended for inexperienced drivers, especially with the crazy mountainous roads you’ll experience travelling to Pai.

You can hire a bike from Chiang Mai and drive it up to Pai, and the rental service will bring your bags along for you, no worries. (AYA Service, from 100-150 Baht / USD $3-4.60 per day)

Only hire a moped, scooter or motorbike if you have an international or Thai license. If the police pulls you over and you don’t, you’ll be in trouble.

We fell in love with Pai, while having one of the most romantic escapades of our lives. If you’re a romantic at heart, your romantic adventure awaits in Pai!

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PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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