Welcome to Pai
Welcome to PaiPeople.com, your friendly guide to Pai. We built this local resource to compile useful information, guides & travel advice for both passing tourists and those who already live here.
Where is Pai?
Pai is a small town 3-hours outside of Chiang Mai, nestled deep in the Hills of Northern Thailand. It is part of Mae Hong Son province and is nearby the Burmese border.
Why is Pai Popular?
Pai’s remote location and its connection to nature make it a popular destination for both tourists & expats. Pai’s natural attractions include hot springs, mountains, waterfalls, caves, trekking routes & stunning rural farmland scenery.
A further natural attraction is a temperate climate. Thanks to its mountainous location, Pai enjoys hot days like the rest of Thailand, but with cool, comfortable temperatures in the evenings.
In the winter months particularly, nighttime temperatures can drop below 10ºC, with daytimes reaching 30ºC. This also attracts a lot of Thai tourists looking to experience cool weather.
A Brief history of Pai
Over the last 800 years, Pai has become a cultural melting pot, built on waves of tribal movement & immigration.
Mae Hong Son, the province in which Pai sits, is one of Thailand’s northernmost, sharing a border with Burma, whilst also being near to China & Laos.
This proximity to neighbouring countries has resulted in a rich cultural heritage and a diverse range of ethnicities (as is common in Northern Thailand). Approximately 63% of the population in Mae Hong Son is made up by Hill Tribes, mostly Shan (Thai Yai) but also Hmong, Yao, Lahu, Lisu, Akha and Karen.
Steadily, over the last 200 years, these tribes have emigrated from surrounding areas – China, Burma, Laos as well as other Thai provinces – to settle in Pai and the greater Mae Hong Son area.
Getting to Pai
Pai’s remote mountainous location may be a key attraction, but it means getting here takes a little more effort.
There are three ways to get to Pai:
- Fly to Pai – The fastest and most comfortable way to get here
- Take a Minibus – Minibuses from Chiang Mai to Pai are cheap & frequent. See timetable
- Ride a Motorbike (or drive) – fast & fun, but also more dangerous for novice riders