For the time-
Pai is a very small mountain town, and as so, most travellers who visit Pai don’t even realise that flying is an option.
For as little as $50USD you can fly direct to Pai and experience breathtaking views over Northern Thailand’s Himalayan foothills. Not to mention you save three hours cramped in a minibus!
Pai only has a small rural airport, so the only flight in and out is in a tiny 12 seat Cessna Caravan operated by Wisdom Airways who recently took over flying the Chiang Mai to Pai route.
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How to book Pai flight tickets
As a tourist, the easiest way to book flights to Pai is by visiting the Wisdom Airways information counter at Chiang Mai or Pai Airport.
You may be able to book tickets directly on the Wisdom Airways website, though the website is new and the booking system has not been implemented fully (as of January 2019). Instead, you’ll be given a phone number to contact to book tickets direct.
You may be able to book tickets through your travel agent or hotel, but they may increase the price. Check prices first on WisdomAirways.com.
How often are flights?
Wisdom Airways are currently running two scheduled flights per day between Chiang Mai and Pai, departing at 10.05am and 14.20pm.
During rainy season, flights are frequently delayed due to bad weather conditions.
How much does it cost?
As of January 2019, flights from Chiang Mai to Pai cost 1,790baht one way (around $55 USD).
Depending on the time of year and number of people flying, flights are sometimes offered cheaper. (I recently flew for just 1,400baht).
You can also charter the whole plane for around 30,000baht each way and fly at a time that suits you. If you fill up all 12 seats, this equates to about $80 USD per person, which isn’t too bad.
How much luggage can I fly with?
You get a free allocation of 7kg per person, anything over is charged at 400baht per kilo. For safety reasons, Wisdom Airways won’t accept any individual item which weighs more than 20kg, except for mobility equipment.
Baby buggies, manual wheelchairs, mobility devices and walking frames are carried free of charge.
Check all luggage details here.
Is flying to Pai worth it?
Absolutely. If you’ve never flown in a small aircraft, seize the opportunity and fly to Pai. The scenery is breathtaking, the experience one in a liftime and the time saved – priceless. It’s also probably a lot safer than driving!
How long does it take to fly to Pai?
25 minutes actual flight time. Though you should also be at the airport an hour before takeoff. Chiang Mai Airport is very small, so you needn’t turn up 3 hours early like in the west.
Equally so, the Wisdom Airways plane is tiny, so there are no long queues at check-in to worry about.
One thing to keep in mind though, if you’re flying in the rainy season, do expect delays. The airline won’t risk taking off if there’s heavy storms in the mountains.
Videos of the flight to Pai
Here’s a short video I shot landing a Pai Airport in the dry season:
Here’s another video I shot flying during the rainy season:
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