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Happy Hippie mountain town : Pai, Thailand

Pai is a small mountain town nestled between Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The town is tucked deep in a valley, surrounded by walls of endless mountains. Here, nature is your best friend and, perhaps, chilling out while doing close to nothing is going to be your second best friend.

The town of Pai is located 135 km from the province of Chiang Mai, the traveller hub in North Thailand. It’s a steep and winding drive, with 762 curves between Chiang Mai and Pai, so take a plastic bag and some motion-sickness pills if you need them.

The best way to get between the two places is by booking a seat in one of many Aircon mini-buses which ply hourly from 6 am daily between the two places. The journey takes around three hours and the route is very scenic through the mountains and the tropical forest.  


has three happening main streets, with the scenic Pai River cutting through the eastern part of town. Bamboo rafting and white-river rafting, popular among adventurous souls are two of the best ways to appreciate Pai’s picturesque landscape. If you prefer to stay on dry land, hiking or mountain trekking is another fascinating option, apart from browsing a collection of souvenir shops in the town centre. Exploring outer region, peppered with natural hot springs, waterfalls and ethnic hill-tribe villages, is also something to consider.

Exploring this hippie town can be divided into two parts the town of Pai itself and the region around. The best way to get around the town is on foot since everything is within walking distance.

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Hiring a scooter is a good option to explore the countryside of Pai and even visit the waterfalls and caves which are around an hours ride from the town along the winding road to Mae Hong Son.

Tham lot is a cave with a length of 1,666 metres near Sop Pong in Pang Mapha District, Mae Hong Son Province, northern Thailand. The Nam Lang River flows through the cave which is filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is home to large numbers of bats and swifts. In Tham Lot and other caves nearby teakwood coffins have been discovered which are thought to have been carved by the Lawa tribes people thousands of years ago.

The town comes to life post sundown with a vibrant night market which has local vendors from all around who put up stalls selling clothes, accessories and street food.  There are also plenty of souvenir shops selling Pai merchandise. Keychains, bottle openers, fridge magnets and a lot more.  

Accommodation options in Pai are in plenty with a range of backpacker guest houses and dormitories. Pai also offers backpackers a unique bamboo hut accommodation which is an experience in itself.

Food options are unlimited while in Pai. You can eat at the night market where you can grab a brownie or have a burger. The restaurants serve extremely well cooked Beef curry and when served with rice is a must-have.  

The best time to visit Pai is during the winter months from November to March and is surely a place must visiting while in the north of Thailand.  Learning some Thai words and phrases will also help you out.

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Pai is one of those towns which you will surely love from the minute you reach the place. To really get a complete experience of the place it’s highly recommend you stay at least three to four days to get a feel of the laid back hippie life.

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