The north of Thailand is definitely worth visiting as there is a lot to see and do there. One of the popular places to go is the village of Pai. While this hippie village, lost in the hills and waterfalls of the region, is starting to get more touristic, it still is a great place to visit when going from Chiang Mai to Pai. Due to the beautiful plants, shops, and hammocks that the place is so famous for, this is one of the best places to come to unwind. Fortunately, there are several options to get to this wonderful place of Pai from Chiang Mai.
How To Go To Pai From Chiang Mai
Getting To Pai By Plane
While the drive from Chiang Mai to Pai is only 3 hours, some people prefer to fly there instead. While we have never actually flown between the two, if you are planning to fly, consider taking Kan Airlines. The airport in Pai (PYY) is only 2 kilometers away from the city. The flight is only 30 mins. and is definitely the fastest way to get there. It is best to check with the airline as to the flight schedule as it is not flown daily.
- Price: Between $50 to $60 (around 2,100 Baht)
- Travel Time: 30 mins.
How To Go From Chaing Mai To Pai By Bus
Another way to get to Pai is by taking the bus. However, trip on the bus can take you as long as 4 hours. But, there are more options, as the bus leaves 5 times a day. To catch it, go to the Arcade Bus station in the north eastern side of Chiang Mai. You do not need to book tickets ahead of time. However, be warned and prepared for peak times such as holidays.
In general, we prefer getting to the station about 30 mins in advance in order to make sure that we can get a ticket. Because of the bus’ size, they tend to go slowly. However, they also tend to be very crowded as this is the cheapest option to travel to Pai. You can buy the tickets for the bus as well as other locations along the Mae Hong Son from counters in the station. If you can’t find them, just ask.
- Price: Around 80 to 100 Baht
- Travel Time: 4 hrs.
How To Get To Pai From Chaing Mai By Mini Bus
The way most people get to Pai is by mini bus or van which can be booked from all the travel agencies. If you waited too long, it is even possible to ask the people at the place you are staying at to help you book a ticket. Before booking, note that there are 2 different types of mini bus that you can get. The first is the government mini bus with air conditioning. The second is the tourist van.
However, note that no matter which one you pick, it can get very crowded in both. Furthermore, since the road is very winding, many people get sick on the ride. One advantage of the tourist bus is that it will pick you up from your hostel or hotel about 30 mins to 1 hour before your trip. One tourist bus that we recommend is AYA Bus Service.
- Price: Public bus: between 150 to 180 Baht, Private Bus: between 180 to 200 Baht
- Travel Time: 3 hrs to 3.5 hrs.
Chaing Mai To Pai By Motorcycle
One of the best ways to travel to Pai is by motorcycle. In fact, it is the best way that we recommend due to the beautiful backdrop along the winding roads leading to a sense of true adventure. However, it is recommended to go on this road only if you are experienced as Route 1095 has a lot of winding turns, 762 to be exact! But if you are willing to brave it, it is definitely something that you should try.
- Price: depends on the rental cost of the motorbike
- Travel Time: 4 hrs. with breaks
Getting There: When taking a motorcycle, go north from Chiang Mai and head for 107. From there, you can head towards Mae Rim. After approximately 1 hour on the road, there is an exit for Pai (1095). From there, take a left and follow the highway the rest of the way to Pai.