Whenever we meet new people, they are surprised to hear that we are actually living in Chiang Mai and not just visiting. Oddly enough, the conversation always seems to lead to the same follow-up question: Have you taken a trip to Pai?
Weekend Trip to Pai, Thailand
Pai, as we later found out, is a beautiful yet incredibly tiny mountain town a few hours north of Chiang Mai. We finally took a three day trip to Pai to see for ourselves why it is revered by so many travelers. From our short experience there, Pai will be in our memories as the place where we enjoyed an incredibly relaxing vacation.
Many people traveling in Thailand find themselves drawn to Pai because of its easy going atmosphere and small town feel. Particularly popular among backpackers, Pai also has many natural, slow-paced activities such as yoga retreats, trekking, mountain biking, fishing, hot springs, and popular waterfalls. There is also a vibrant art and music culture that can be seen and heard as you walk around Pai’s small downtown area.
Recommendations For Our Trip to Pai
A big reason why we took a weekend trip to Pai is because several friends and followers shared with us stories and places that will always make Pai special to them. These stories inspired us to make the trip to the tiny mountain town. Here are a handful of the best recommendations we received.
01 Pai Chan Cottage & Cuisine
In between our visits to the Pai’s main street and our drive exploring the outer limits of the tiny town, we enjoyed the most relaxing weekend of our lives. Our bungalow at the Pai Chan Cottage & Cuisine backed up to a spectacular view of rice fields and mountains in the distance. We opened the entire side of the bungalow facing the mountains and let the cool breeze roll in over us as we dozed off into our many frequent afternoon naps.
Our good friend Bee of Be Beez Cafe & Guesthouse in Chiang Mai booked the amazing bungalow at Pai Chan Cottage and Cuisine for us. We hadn’t any idea where to stay so she took it upon herself to make sure we had a great time. We slept like babies knowing it only cost us a mere 450 baht ($15 US) a night!
02 Tik’s Kitchen
We were already thinking about eating our way around Pai before we even left Chiang Mai. Shortly before we took off on our motorbike trip to Pai, one of our readers sent us his story and we decided to follow-up on the places he recommended. We were glad that we did.
It was a heartwarming experience and fun to explain to Tik that we were visiting her restaurant and sending her “hellos” from family back in the States. Connections like these make you realize that our world is pretty small after all. We definitely recommend trying her Northern Thai style cuisine. If you are looking for a cool casual place to play pool and relax, then check out Irie Bar right around the corner. Tik will make sure you know exactly how to get there.
03 All About Coffee
All About Coffee was high on our list of places to visit during our trip to Pai and came highly recommended by our expat friends, J and Sacha from 8 Miles from Home. They visited All About Coffee eight years ago on their round the world trip and this was one of the places that inspired them to move to Thailand. There was no doubt in our minds, we had to go and experience it for ourselves!
We enjoyed lunch at the 140 year old house-turned-coffee shop and made friends with the owner, Wat. The house is well taken care of and is home to an eclectic collection of wall art and crafts for sale. We’re always thankful when J and Sacha point us in the right direction. We consider ourselves very lucky to know them and look forward to taking a trip to Pai with them one day soon.
04 Na’s Kitchen
Our fellow travel blogging friends, Ryan and Liz from Pause the Moment, highly recommended Na’s Kitchen as the go to restaurant for some of Pai’s best Thai food. Knowing that share the same love for good food, we had no choice but to take them up on their advice.
We were the last customers to walk into Na’s Kitchen as the restaurant was closing up shop for the night. Feeling bad, we told Na that would could come back tomorrow, but without hesitation she ushered us in with a smile and a “sawadee kha“. Soon after we were seated, we enjoyed two delicious curry dishes and her highly acclaimed spring rolls. The food was full of flavor and heat, and her quaint little restaurant was the perfect place to enjoy an evening feast. If it wasn’t already passed closing time we would have ordered a couple more dishes! It was definitely to both Ryan and Liz’s delight that we were able to make it to Na’s Kitchen. Thanks again guys!
Total Cost For Our Trip to Pai (3 Days and 2 Nights)
Is it Worth Taking a Trip to Pai?
It may seem obvious, but yes, of course a trip to Pai is worth it in our opinion.
We especially recommend it if you are living in Chiang Mai. The “downtown” area’s extremely laid back vibe, variety of restaurants, street food, and coffee houses offer for a relaxed, yet fun nightlife.
With the picturesque views of the countryside from its many tucked away guesthouses, Pai is an excellent place to come if you simply want to disappear for a while. Feeling a little burnt out in Chiang Mai? Taking a long weekend in Pai may be exactly what you need to get away, relax, and recharge your batteries. It’s only an easy van or plane ride away.
Points of Interest on Our Trip to Pai, Thailand
View Places to Go in Pai in a larger map