762 curves? (762 โค้ง) .. easy as ปาย (Pai)28 April 2017
thailand nomadlife maehongson
I’ve always wanted to visit Pai for the hiking and Nature. Plus it’s one of those locations where I spoke to a lot of people which they’ve enjoyed a lot.
Not to mention crossing off the checklist of riding the Mae Hong San Loop.
It costs about 80 baht for a non-AC songtaews (4 hours) or 150 baht AC minivan to Pai (3 hours).
The bus leaves from Chiang Mai Arcade bus terminal 2 (as of this writing there are 3 terminals at Arcade). The cheapest way to get to Arcade is to flag down a Songtaew going towards the east direction and for bonus points use the Thai phrase “bai arcade sahtanee rot bat, mai” (Do you go to Arcade station?).
Arriving in Pai, there is a lot of scooter rental shops available. Because I took the minivan up, I chose to shop for a scooter ASAP. While the town is very walkable (5-10 mins you can walk from one end to the other), getting to the attractions is not. Next visit I’ll ride all the way.
This is because the Mae Hong San area is great for riding - not to mention the traffic is very pleasant. Just so you don’t get discouraged - In Pai, I’ve met a lot of people who has actually had their first scooter experience there. The town is quite safe to get the basics in, and it’s quite enjoyable riding around (Much better roads than Bagan in Myanmar too!).
Scooter rentals start from 100 baht for a “low power” scooter (same price as a mountain bike), to about 250 baht for a bigger bike. I went for the middle ground as theres a lot of hills in the area so its good to have some horsepower to go up the hills. Personally scooters rent out much cheaper than e-bikes in Myanmar, and you have it for a full 24 hours (and can extend if you want to)
Some scooter places let you leave another form of identification behind rather than a passport, which is great because I’m not a fan of leaving my passport at any business.
One of the most popular scooter rentals is AyA Service, however the quality of scooters (and the amount they wanted for a deposit was a bit high). I picked a place called “Kumi Pai Motorbike” (Tel: 092-9593539) which is located across from the Pharmacy and 1 house away from the Krung Thai Bank (GPS Coordinates approx - 19.359250, 98.441224). They had what I needed, plus was actually lucky enough to have a full tank (and also not having to top up the tank too).
Although I heard Vespai Scooter is good too, Unfortunately closed until August.
Kumi Pai Motorbike location
Here is the location of the Kumi Pai Motorbike shop.
The town is quite small with a lot of food and cafes around the walking street area.
Coffee in Love (คอฟฟอนเลฟ)
This is a scenic cafe a little outside town. It’s a popular place for photography and also doing photoshooting.
The reviews say the coffee isn’t good, but I think its not too bad.
However, the view is amazing, not to mention wifi is available so I parked myself there for the next 2 hours to catch up on some work I’ve missed (I’m a digital nomad! Kind-of like a backpacker with less partying, but I’m more self sustaining)
Love Strawberry Pai (เลิฟสตรอเบอร์รี่ปาย)
The next stop after Coffee in Love, was a place called “Love Strawberry Pai” after I saw another Chinese tourist pull into the place and it looked interesting. It’s basically a strawberry farm where they also cook strawberries in the food.
The food combines the sweetness of straberries (because we all know thai people put a lot of sugar in their food) and thai food.
I tried the Strawberry som tum which was quite an interesting flavor.
Pai Canyon (กองแลน)
Pai Canyon is a bit outside of the town so I recommend chartering a driver (if you have a large group) or renting a scooter if you’re not in a large group.
The canyon itself is more about the hike/trek, nature, but my only regrets was not having a sunset there. Oh well, always next time. I just wanted a short escape to get a “taste” of Pai.
Yun Lai Viewpoint (จุดชมวิวหยุนไหล)
Yun Lai Viewpoint (雲來) or literally clouds come viewpoint is a place where you can overlook Pai. It’s about a 15 minute ride from Pai (so you need some sort of motorized transport if you wish to get up there comfortably) where sometimes you can see low clouds there making some spectacular photography (I checked on instagram).
On the way to Yun Lai Viewpoint, you actually pass through Pai’s Chinatown area where you noticeably see shops have their name in Chinese and Thai. Though nowadays it’s hard to tell as there is a lot of Chinese visitors to Pai thanks to one of the Chinese movies 人再囧途之泰囧
Unfortunately there was no clouds around, but nevertheless a good view.
There’s a small entrance fee of 20 baht to get in as of this writing.
Moh Pang Waterfall (น้ำตกหมอแปง)
Close to Yun Lai Viewpoint, I saw the signs for a waterfall and decided to explore it on a whim.
Pai Walking street (ถนนคนเดินปาย)
At nightfall (after 6pm), there is a lot more street food in Pai where you can have a relatively inexpensive meal.
I tried one of the recommended banana + chocolate rotee for deserts in one of the stores. Simply delicious.