In case you're wondering it is actually pronounced 'bye', and once you've got the town's name right you can treat yourself to a beer and begin to enjoy. There's no hiding from the fact that Pai isn't the unknown escape it used to be but this isn't a bad thing at all. Now the town is full of wonderful shops selling all kinds of home-made and artisanal goods which would sit nicely in your house back home. At night time Chaisongkran Road is teeming with stores and stalls selling all kinds of things. Cafes and bars also line the roads for a quick stop to rejuvenate. Pai can be easily walked around by foot but a great way to enjoy the town is on bicycle. Ride around slowly, taking in the character and surroundings and even head a little further out of town to see the true rural side of things.
From your Pai hotel make a trip to the hot springs just south of the town and simmer in the natural waters to soothe those muscles. Or spend a day at the local swimming pool which features a garden and free mats to lounge on, all for an incredibly reasonable fee. Plenty of the usual Northern Thai tourist activities are also available such as rafting, elephant riding and hiking and these can be arranged through tour agents in the town.
During peak season it would be a good idea to book a Pai guesthouse or hotel in advance because the town can sell out, especially if there is a public Thai holiday when half of Bangkok descends on the sleepy village.Image from Mark Lehmkuhler
Hotels in Pai start at AU$17 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.