How To Travel To Pai, Thailand

Pai used to be a backpacker's best hidden find. 
A hipster's trove. An artist's sanctuary. 

Over the years it has attracted more and many international tourists. But you can still find many creative elements in this small township located far from any major city. 

Getting here is no straight forward affair, but given the appeal of this place (more on that later), it has not stopped visitors from flocking here all year round. 

There are three ways to get to Pai: 
1. Drive to Pai
2. Fly, then Drive to Pai 
3. Fly

Sounds simple enough? Here's the deal. 
Pai is located at least 100km from the nearest city with an airport. And that's not all, the road to Pai is filled with many twisted turns, sharp corners and sometimes steep roads through rolling hills. 762 turns to be exact. It's the perfect recipe for motion sickness. 

Let's talk about Option 1: 

762 turns. 

That's the amount of turns you need to go through if you were to drive from Chiang Mai to Pai. 
You can find vans/mini-buses from tour operators that will bring you from Chiang Mai to Pai, the rate is a reasonable 150 baht (one way), but can you imagine being crammed up at the back of the a van going through all those turns with a Thai driver up front? 

The smartest decision is to rent a car, be the one to drive, and have motion sickness pills ready for your passengers. 

It's a 3 hours 150km drive with the first hour being a smooth straight expressway, and then you make a left turn into route 1095 to begin your hellish topsy turvy journey into Pai. 

Second Option: 

Fly, Then Drive 

This option only makes sense if: one, you want to explore the township of Mae Hong Son; two, you enjoy a good drive. 

Because by choosing this route, you only cut off 50km of driving distance. And while the route is also filled with windy roads, there are parts of the drive where the turns are not as sharp and can be rather enjoyable going up and down the mountains. The weather can also be rather pleasant when you reach a certain altitude. 

Taken on the way from Pai to Mae Hong Son

Third Option: 


There are no commercial flights getting into Pai, but there is a small airport here. Why? Because there used to be flights coming into Pai, however at the time of writing, that flight route is no longer available. 

But there is a way, if you have 8 people in your group and are willing to splurge a little, charter a plane (probably a fokker) from Chiang Mai at approximately 20,000 baht (~ USD600, one way), that's 2500 baht (USD75 or RM320) per person. Not a bad deal if you ask me. 

Disclaimer: I have not tried this option but I was told this information by one of the owners of Reverie Siam


0 kissed Nicole