About Pai - Thailand

From link::paithailand.chiangdao.com

The sleepy hippie town of Pai is situated 135kms northwest of Chiang Mai, roughly halfway to Mae Hong Son. As you enter the Pai area, the mountain road makes a meandering decline into a large green valley of rice paddies and fruit groves. Mountains shelter the town, which is named after the river that runs through it. Pai is just a tiny place with four main roads, but offers a rich bohemian atmosphere where you can collect your thoughts and commune with nature. There are plenty of charming guesthouses, relaxed restaurants and bars catering to both Western and Thai palates, and local trekking companies and handcraft shops.

A decade ago, Pai was virtually unknown and it has today developed into a thriving, multi-cultural town. Fortunately, it has retained its down-to-earth feel and the prices here are still cheap, making it especially popular with backpackers and free-spirits who sometimes stay here for months.

Pai – Thailand Attractions
Lazy days in a hammock are a favourite in Pai, along with just staring out at the mountains or the river. However, you can make you way to the hot springs, which are well worth the effort. Nestled in a charming forest setting, about seven kilometres out of town, the springs are warm and relaxing, and a visit in the early morning is recommended.

Before you arrive at the hot springs, you will have passed the elephant camps, where you can ride one of these majestic creatures. One of the companies in operation here even offers bareback rides down the river, which is a unique experience that should not be missed.

Pai’s other natural attractions include a pretty if not too impressive waterfall and a canyon. The surrounding areas are stunning, especially during or just after the rainy season. White-water rafting on the Pai River is a favourite with adventure-seekers and some of the rapids are fairly breathtaking. For those looking for a more relaxing experience on the river, bamboo rafting and tubing on a gentler stretch of the river are fun alternatives.

Pai is also a superb base from which to trek into the surrounding mountains and visit hill tribes and other waterfalls. In season, there are two- to three-day treks departing daily to Karen, Lahu and Lisu villages. You can also obtain a local map for self-guided hikes to nearby waterfalls and caves. Massage and yoga are also good activities to pass the time in Pai, and a couple of permaculture farms offer places to hangout and learn about farming and building.

Those that want to do some sightseeing at temples can visit Wat Klang, next to the bus station. It has several small pagodas surrounding a central stupa. Also of interest are Wat Hodana and Wat Nam Hu, west of Route 1095. Wat Nam Hu is known for its Chiang Saen-era Buddha, whose hollow head is filled with holy water.

Pai is also a good stopover point on the popular Mae Hong Son loop. This three- to four-day self-drive/ride excursion takes you from Chiang Mai through the amazing mountain scenery to Mae Hong Son and back via Doi Inthanon national park. Along the way you can experience the beauty of Huay Nam Dang national park (before Pai), the caves at Soppong and numerous waterfalls.

From link::paithailand.chiangdao.com

Other links::Pai - Riverside Lodge
A Piece of Pai, A Slice of Heaven