The last stop of my nearly two-month long winter vacation was Pai, Thailand. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get to Pai from Chiang Mai is by mini bus. The mini bus ride takes about three hours with one bathroom stop about halfway into the trip. But be warned—since this drive is through the mountains the roads are super curvy (there are 762 curves between Chiang Mai and Pai), so many people will fall victim to motion sickness along the way. I took some motion sickness medication before the drive and ended up sleeping like a baby the whole way there. If you book your bus ticket in advance online, you can also choose your specific seat. I would suggest selecting a seat as close to the front as possible. Click here to view the different modes of transportation from Chiang Mai to Pai.
Once I got to Pai, I turned on my Google Maps and saw that my guest house was about a 30-minute walk away. This normally wouldn’t phase me, but since I had some luggage with me and it was incredibly hot outside, I decided to rent a scooter for a couple days to go between the main town and my guest house. I was a little nervous at first to be driving a motorized scooter in a foreign country (especially one where they drive on the opposite side of the road from the US), but after the first day, I felt a lot more confident driving it. And don’t worry, Mom–I wore a helmet 😉 It was fun to be able to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted with my cute, pink motorbike.
I was staying in Pai for two nights and decided to rent my own private guest house. I stayed at a place called Mont Goei Pai. As you can see from my picture below, this place was ADORABLE. I loved having a little cottage to call my own during my time in Pai.
Pai itself is an incredibly small town, especially compared to a city such as Bangkok. The population of Pai is just over 2,000. This population includes both native Thai people and tons of foreigners. I loved the relaxed atmosphere of Pai and how easy it was to get around. Pai is actually known as a “hippie town” for its relaxed atmosphere and slower pace of life. Everyone I met seemed so calm and happy. There were so many great cafes, restaurants, and garden areas to chill in. Pai is also home to fields upon fields of strawberries. I nearly ate my weight in scrumptious strawberries while I was there.
During my first day/evening in Pai, I hopped on my motorbike and drove about twenty minutes down one of the major roads to Pai Canyon. Pai Canyon is one of the most popular scenic spots in Pai, and a well-known spot to watch the sunset. I spent around an hour hiking around the canyon (it’s a fairly small canyon) before finding a good spot to sit down and watch the sunset. This was a beautiful place to watch the sunset and a great ending to my first day in Pai.
The next morning, I took my motorbike into town to join a tour of some of the scenic spots around Pai. The other people in my tour group included a solo German traveler, a solo Norwegian traveler, a solo British traveler, and two other girls who were traveling together from the UK. It was cool to meet some other solo travelers who were in their twenties as well. Our day tour headed to another famous attraction in Pai—Lod Cave. Lod Cave is a HUGE cave near Pai about one hour outside of the town. A local woman guided us around the inside of the cave by gas lantern. After walking around the inside of the cave for a while, we boarded a small, bamboo raft and were paddled through the rest of the cave that is filled with water. The next stop on our tour was Pam Bok Waterfall. We all thought this would be a gorgeous site, but since February is the dry season in Pai, there was actually barely any water coming from the “waterfall” …it was a little disappointing. The last stop on the tour was Pai Canyon to see the sunset. Since I had already done that the day before, I got dropped off early in the main town.
I had an amazing time taking in some of the sights and just relaxing in Pai. It was definitely a good end to my winter vacation. 🙂