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We went to Pai for the first time several years ago, and it was love at first sight. The cute little town is in a valley in the middle of lush green mountains. To us, it’s one of the prettiest places in Thailand and South East Asia.

Choosing where to stay in Pai is not as easy as it sounds. We’ve seen the area change over the years. Especially the center of town. It’s bigger, livelier, and with more services and facilities. You have nothing to worry about. Today, Pai has some of the best hotels in the region.

Pai satisfies all kinks and fancies. You can stay in the middle of the city and enjoy incredible restaurants and bars. The further you move from the center, the quieter the area. You can stay in the middle of nowhere too! In any case, you’ll have the time of your life.

Where to stay in Pai

The Best Places to Stay in Pai

City Center

If you are into restaurants, bars, and a bit of urban life, the center is the best place to stay in Pai, northern Thailand. We love it because it’s the perfect size. You won’t see masses of people here nor big buildings or malls. Everything is small and cute.

There are three beautiful temples in the center. Wat Luang is to the east. It’s the oldest and its statutes the prettiest. Wat Klang is also an old temple with several stupas and a gorgeous wooden building. Wat Pa Kham is newer. The temples are alive and in use, so be respectful.

We Recommend These Hotels in the City Center:

Pai Village Boutique Resort

The Pai Village Boutique Resort is one of the best luxury hotels in Pai. It’s in the middle of all the action but super quiet. The big and super comfy bungalows are set in a tropical garden. It’s got a pool and a delicious onsite restaurant. The service is impeccable.

RimPai Cottage

The RimPai Cottage is also in the middle of it all, behind Wat Pa Kham temple. It’s got an incredible garden with tall trees, views of the hills, and a cool pool overlooking the river. The rooms and bungalows have wooden floors and balconies. Free onsite parking!

Pai Town

Pai Town – Eastern Suburbs

The area across the big bridge east of Pai is where to stay if you want peace. You can walk to the center in 20 minutes or take an inexpensive tuk-tuk there. However, if you don’t want to move, eat at any of the incredible restaurants that dot the area.

You will see endless rice fields and forests. The tall green hills provide the perfect backdrop. The Big Buddha of Pai is perched on a hill overlooking the valley. Climb to the top and enjoy jaw-dropping views.  Don’t forget to check the temple beneath the statue.

The Long Neck Karen Village is here too. It’s an authentic dwelling with a souvenir shop and local long-necked women. One of our favorite walks begins here. Walk through the jungle next to the river until you reach Mae Yen Waterfall. However, you don’t need to reach the fall to enjoy the walk!

We Recommend These Hotels in Eastern Suburbs:

Pai My Guest Resort

We had a great time at Pai My Guest. Rice fields surround the property. Thus the unobstructed views of the hills. The extra comfy rooms are set in a garden with a pool. A stream with Karp fish surround’s it.  You won’t believe this little oasis is so close to the center.

Pai Vieng Fah Resort

If you are looking for a boutique hotel with class, book a room at the Pai Vieng Fah Resort. The property overlooks rice fields and mountains. It’s got an onsite restaurant with delicious food, great coffee, and fancy furniture. The big rooms overlook the hills and the pool.

Rice fields near Pai

Pai Town – Southern Suburbs

The southern suburbs of Pai have a very special vibe. Pai people and foreigners that live in Pai have created a very special place. That’s why we like it. You will see people from all over the world, couples, families, and friends hanging out and creating art.

The area is some 15 minutes’ walking south of the walking street. However, since there are fields in the middle, it really is very quiet. In particular, the section next to the river. Life here revolves around a park with games for children. You will see rice fields on your right and left.

Look out for the street art that decorates the walls of the nearby supermarket and shops. You have to visit the Dacha tree café and gallery. The food is pretty good. What sets it apart is its art and community activities. Everyone in Pai knows the Dacha!

We Recommend These Hotels in Southern Suburbs:

Reverie Siam

If you are into uber-luxurious 5-star hotels, book a room at the Reverie Siam Pai. The rooms are extra big, plush, and offer incredible views. The fancy property is set in a splendid garden that reaches the river. It’s got two pools and one of the best restaurants in the city.


You will recognize the PaiApartHotel for the huge and cute graffiti on its wall. Every unit is big and comes with a seating area and a fully equipped kitchen. The best ones have a balcony. They offer complimentary drinks and snacks each day!

Pai street art

Pai Town – Northern Suburbs

The northern suburbs are just off the city center. Pai’s walking street ends by the river, where the bamboo bridge is. Cross the bridge and walk up the road for some 10 minutes. It’s a much quieter area. You can take an inexpensive tuk-tuk to get to the center.

Rice fields and local neighborhoods surround the area. You will see locals going about their daily lives. You don’t need to go to the center to eat. There are several restaurants in the area and a couple of coffee houses. Our favorite is Peng Mong, which overlooks the river and hills.

There are two temples in the area. Wat Pong is a simple temple visited by locals. Wat Si Don Chai further up, is one of the nicest temples you’ll ever see. The first temple to be built in the city, it’s got gorgeous wooden pagodas with lavish decorations and intricate designs.

We Recommend These Hotels in Northern Suburbs:

Vimarnkiri Resort

Vimarnkiri Resort offers Thai style accommodation in northern Pai. All of the rooms and bungalows have a seating area and massive windows. The garden is huge and has a pond. There are plenty of places to sit, relax, and enjoy memorable views of the rice fields and hills.

XPai Guesthouse

You won’t get better rooms at this price than at the XPai Guesthouse. Their rooms and family suites are extra big and come with a fully equipped kitchen. A local family runs this impeccable hotel. They are warm, professional, and will give you great tips. It’s got a pool with views.

Pai Old Town Walls

South of Pai Town

We love the south of Pai because of its incredible views, fantastic gardens, and proximity to the city. It’s the area next to the road from Chiang Mai to Pai, some 2 miles (3 km) from the walking street. It’s easy to catch a taxi to get to the center fast, even late at night.

Due to its location, the area is perfect for catching epic sunrises and sunsets. You will see rice fields and forests from the road to the river. It’s a fantastic area to walk through nature. Wat Thung Pong is a beautiful temple next to the river visited mostly by locals.

The best coffee houses with views are here too. Thai and foreign tourists stop to enjoy delicious coffee and cakes with iconic views over the hills. Our favorite is Coffee in Love, next to the road. Thai tourists love I Love you Pai. The big Buddha is a bit further south.

We Recommend These Hotels South of Pai Town:

Pai Iyara Resort

The Pai Iyara Resort has one of the biggest gardens in the whole of Pai. It has a pond and a pool! Rice fields surround the comfortable rooms and bungalows. There isn’t another hotel nearby, so the views are amazing. You can walk around the property for hours! Incredible hosts and good food too!

Blue Sky Resort Pai

The bungalows at the Blue Sky Resort have everything you need. Super comfortable, they feature wooden floors and a balcony. You are going to love the bathroom with its open-air section. The bungalows are distributed in a garden with a pond and have a huge balcony. A local family runs the hotel.

Coffee in Love

Southeast of Pai Town

Every time we visit Pai we make sure to stay out of the city in the southeast. The area is rural and full of nature. If you want to rest, hear no sound, and enjoy Pai, stay here. We are talking about the area around Pai Memorial Bridge.

Pai Canyon is two 1.4 miles (2.4 km) north of the bridge. It’s an easy walk to the canyon and its fantastic views. The bridge used in the Second World War is interesting too. Our favorite restaurant in the whole of Pai is nearby. Krazy Kitchen has traditional bamboo ceilings and the best chef ever!

The incredible hot springs are east of the river. The steaming pools are in the middle of a forest with tall trees and clean air. You’ve got several pools at different temperatures to choose from. If you continue up the main road, you will see elephants! Since we love them, we don’t touch them.

We Recommend These Hotels Southeast of Pai Town:

Kalm Pai

Do yourself a favor and book a room with your own private hot spring at the Kalm Pai. These bungalows face rice fields and have a private terrace with hot springs! We dipped every single day to see the sunset and then again late at night. Loved it!

Mazipai Camping

The Mazipai Camping is perfect for disconnecting and relaxing. The cabanas are in the middle of rice fields next to the river. It’s got views on all sides! You won’t hear a sound. However, you will see the elephants bathing in the river. The bungalows are comfortable and have a hammock!

Tha Pai Memorial Bridge

How Long to Stay in Pai

We’ve been to Pai countless times and never get tired of it. The last time, we spent 15 days and felt it was not enough! You have plenty of waterfalls, restaurants, bars, ancient temples, hot springs, elephants, and fun people to keep you entertained for weeks!

Of course, doing nothing and enjoying the views is a great option too. Pai is the perfect place to disconnect and enjoy nature. However, we all have time constraints and a big wide world to discover. Therefore, you might be wondering how many days are needed in Pai to cover the basics.

We believe that you must spend at least 3 nights in Pai. You will be able to enjoy its atmosphere, eat great food, and see beautiful things. Chiang Mai is just 3 hours away. Therefore, if you have a week in the area, spend half in Chiang Mai and half in Pai.

Pai Hot Springs Resort

Moving Around Pai

The best way of moving around Pai is by walking, biking, and taking tuk-tuks and taxis. We don’t like to drive, especially in the middle of nature. Too much noise and pollution! That’s another reason we love Pai so much. We walk or bike for hours in the middle of nature.

To reach faraway places, we always hire a tuk-tuk or a taxi. Pai people are incredibly nice, honest, and professional. Your driver will take you where you want to go safely and in no time. In fact, ask him/her for suggestions and discover new places.

All of the hotels we recommend can arrange inexpensive private transportation. At night, after partying, ask around, and you will find a taxi. If you do drive, you won’t have trouble finding a scooter. Be sure to drive safely and to park out of the walking street at night.

Prem Pracha Transport


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