If you enjoy grand scenery and like to travel on windy roads that weave through the hills then a trip to Pai is for you. Pai is a small town (pop. 3,000) in Mae Hong Son Province in Northern Thailand. It is situated along the Mae Hong Son Loop, which is Rte 1095 from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son.


The city is named after the Pai River and is set in a picturesque valley north of Chiang Mai. Pai is mostly a tourism-oriented town, offering a relaxed atmosphere with a broad tourist and backpacker scene. The town’s residents are a mix of Western hippies, Thai rastas, and muslims (there is a big mosque in the center of town) which gives the place a unique vibe even if it isn’t traditional.


Rte 1095 which connects Pai with Mae Hong Son (50 km as the crow flies, but approximately 110 km by road) and Chiang Mai (135 km) is a very scenic route through the mountains which takes several hours but is worth it. It is at times a steep and winding drive, with 762 curves between Chiang Mai and Pai. If you prone to car sickness then take a plastic bag and some motion-sickness pills if you need them.

Its is quiet and a laid back location with nice quest houses, elephant camp, tranquil country outlooks and:

Pai canyon,

Chinese village,

Entry bridge & scenery,

We did the trip there and back to Chiang Mai in a day – but I wouldn’t recommend it.  At least overnight to soak in the atmosphere and to avoid the long drive each way in a day.  Vans ply these roads at speed so watch out.  Nobody got sick from my driving.

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