Hippies and laid-back travelers to Thailand almost always take refuge in the haven otherwise known as Pai. This Northern Thai city is one that many will visit with every intention of leaving in a few days only to find themselves still here weeks later. Those of you with a tight itinerary, however, should be sure to fill it with only the most incredible of things to see and do, which is why we are here with how to make the most out of your Pai travels with only 48 hours to spare!
Day One Morning:
Check into Your Pai Accommodation Option
You may have just made over 700 turns from Chiang Mai to get to Pai on the day of your arrival. Maybe you splurged and got a flight from the northern capital. However it is you got here … you made it! First, check into your accommodation option and prepare yourself for a day of exploration. Our favorite hostels that we recommend are listed below.
- Buzza’s Backpackers
- Tribal Pai Backpackers
- Mad Monkey Hostel Pai
- Purple Monkey
- Happy House Backpackers
Grab Breakfast at Big’s Little Cafe
Before beginning your day, fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Big’s Little Cafe. This is the perfect place to meet your fellow backpackers and indulge in a tasty (and affordable) international breakfast. We recommend the full English breakfast, and the veggie burger is a hit, as well. Afterward, grab a coffee from Red Bike Kitchen & Espresso Bar, found just down the street from Big’s Little Cafe. You will not be disappointed with the wide range of caffeinated beverages this quaint coffee shop is serving up!
Day One Afternoon:
Check out the Art Galleries and Grab a Snack
Now that you are full and filled with caffeine, it is time to start exploring the city of Pai. For our first day, we will be exploring on foot. The city is relatively small and some of the top sights do not need a vehicle or bicycle in order to get there. The first stop on our itinerary is Art in Pai, a quaint gallery and art shop duo owned by a Pai native. The artist is friendly and chatty, and the shop is filled with cool finds available for purchase. Afterward, try a piece of faux meat from the vegan restaurant across the street: Chew Xin Jai. You can either eat it there or get it to go and indulge at our next stop in Pai.
Relax by the Pai River
After doing some shopping, make your way down to the Pai River. You will find a bamboo bridge crossing and oftentimes, there are large oxen that post up along the banks and eat before swimming and cooling off. The river is lined with restaurants and accommodation options, though we found that sitting along the banks is just as nice as sitting at a venue.
Day One Evening:
Head to Walking Street
End the day with a visit to the market on Walking Street in the center of Pai. This narrow stretch of street is teeming with interesting finds. Local artists post up with their newest prints. Local chefs cook everything from falafel wraps to samosas for hungry visitors to snack on. It is open every day at about 5 p.m. and is open late. It is on Rungsiyanon Road. In addition to delicious food, there are a number of cool Thai souvenirs that are perfect for taking home to your family.
Day Two Morning:
Do Some Yoga at Bom Bowls
Day two of our itinerary in Pai kick-starts with a refreshing yoga sesh and mouthwatering smoothie bowl at Bom Bowls. Hannah, the lovely manager, will take your body through a series of twists and turns that will leave you feeling flexible and rejuvenated at their yoga studio surrounded by beautiful mountainous terrain.
Grab a Healthy Breakfast Afterward
After the yoga class on the second floor of the restaurant, head down to the first to indulge in one of the healthiest breakfasts in town. It is here you can feel good about treating yourself to their healthy acai or Snicker’s bowl, each of which is topped with homemade granola and fresh banana slices!
Day Two Afternoon:
See the Top Sights
After fueling both your mind and your body at Bom Bowls, it is time to take to an electric bicycle or motorbike to explore the rest of the city. If you are not comfortable driving a motorbike, we highly suggest you opt for an electric bicycle. There is a shop right next to Sawasdee Pai Yoga that rents out bicycles, electric bicycles, and motorbikes. The choice is yours!
Visit the Land Split
After getting whatever form of transportation it is you chose, it is time to head to the Pai Land Split. It is about a 15-minute drive from the city center, and you will spend about an hour here. The owners are incredibly friendly and kind and distribute free roselle wine and jam for visitors to taste during their visit. There were a few puppies roaming around when we visited, so be on the lookout for these adorable pups while you are there, as well!
Climb the Steps to the Temple on the Hill
From the Land Split, you will then venture to the Temple on the Hill, otherwise known as Wat Phra That Mae Yen. To get here, you must first climb over 350 steps up the hill, but the end destination is well worth the climb. Once getting to the top, you will have some of the best (and free) views of the city of Pai below.
Visit Earth Tone
While you are in the area, be sure to visit Earth Tone found right across the street from the Temple on the Hill. Earth Tone is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that also has a quaint shop found inside. Grab a probiotic drink to-go or maybe a vegan ice cream sandwich before heading to the next destination on our itinerary.
Walk Across Memorial Bridge
The Memorial Bridge is about a 12-minute drive from Earth Tone. You will not need much time here, but it is a site worth seeing. It is one of the most historic monuments in the city. The steel bridge is normally over-flowing with selfie-loving tourists trying to get that perfect Instagram photo: do not be one of those people. Instead, appreciate its design and respect its history.
The bridge was built during World War II in 1941 by the Japanese army. They needed a route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son in order to better attack Myanmar. Locals and elephants were forced to build it, and the Japanese later destroyed it. After seeing how much it was put to use, it was later rebuilt. It runs right over the Pai River.
Location: 1095, Tambon Mae Na Toeng, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand
Day Two Evening:
See the Sunset Over the Pai Canyon
The best way to end your two days of exploration in Pai is with an incredible sunset at the Pai Canyon. Be sure to get here about 40 or so minutes prior in order to get an epic spot, as this natural landscape continues to grow in popularity and more and more tourists discover how beautiful it is. Otherwise known as Kong Lan, this valley is home to hair-raising trails that cut through the stunning greenery, with mountains acting as their backdrop as far as your eyes can see. Be sure to wear your walking shoes as the trails are not incredibly stable.
Location: Thung Yao, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand — VIEW MAP
Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stop by Love Strawberry
On your way back to the city center, be sure to stop at Love Strawberry for a photo opt and a strawberry shake. We recommend heading here as soon as the sun sets over the canyon so that you do not have to drive home in the dark!
Grab a Delicious Dinner in Pai
You have surely built up an appetite by now, so return your motorbike and have dinner to continue your Pai travels. There are so many delicious restaurants in town that we simply could not narrow down where it is you should eat on your last day, so instead, be sure to check out some of our favorite restaurants we have listed. For even more information on where to eat in Pai, check out our complete dining guide to the city!
International Restaurants in Pai
Thai Restaurants in Pai
- Na’s Kitchen — VIEW MAP
- The Blue Ox — VIEW MAP
- Charlie and Lek’s — VIEW MAP
- Ganesh Bar & Restaurant — VIEW MAP
Vegetarian and Healthy Restaurants in Pai
- Chew Xin Jain Vegan Food — VIEW MAP
- Bom Bowls — VIEW MAP
- Earth Tone — VIEW MAP
- Art in Chai — VIEW MAP
More Information About Pai Travels
Did you love this article about Pai travels? Do you want to find out even more information about the top things to see and do in Pai? Then check out these articles we have rounded up for your reading pleasure!
- 5 Awesome Things To Do In Pain in Less Than 24 Hours for Nomada How Far
- 9 Must Things To Do In Pai, Thailand for Daily Cup of Travel
- Three Days in Pai for Travelfish
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Pai for Breathing Travel