I took a weekend trip from Chiang Mai to Pai staying there for one night.
First I left my apartment and caught a red truck to the ‘Arcade Bus Station’.
Make sure that you have a map or the station written down in Thai. One time I told the taxi driver to take me to the bus station and he took me to the railway station.
The cost of my taxi ride to the bus station was 80 THB.
Once I got the the bus terminal I went to the booking office there and bought my shuttle bus ticket to Pai. The buses leave frequently so you can buy a ticket on the day without any issues. There is no need to book online.
The shuttle but ticket from Chiang Mai to Pai cost me 150 THB.
The bus ride on the shuttle but was not a pleasant one. The second half of the trip is on the windiest road I have ever been on. I was sitting at the back on the bus and felt incredible queasy – I was almost sick! My advice would be to try and get a seat up the front and don’t eat or drink right before getting on. Here is a picture of the bus (aka queasy machine):
Once I was there I wandered around, taking in the views before finding somewhere to stay. A lot of the accommodation is in stand alone villas. I ended up staying in one that has another room attached next door to mine. This was a bad option, it was really open and I could hear them. Unfortunately they were the noisiest neighbors ever and they woke me up in the middle of the night. For this reason I advise booking in advance so you get your own.
My room cost me 600 THB for one night.
I was able to do plenty of wandering around this quaint little town, taking in the atmosphere and surrounding countryside views. There is some pretty good people watching on offer with plenty of dreadlocked hippies, Chinese tourists – some pretty interesting characters around. There is a fairly active nightlife – I could hear activity at the busy pub called ‘Mellow Yellow’ down the road from my room well into the night.
For meals you will want to go to the cafes during the day and the night market in the evening. The night market is awesome and has some unique offers like lasagna, Indian curries, kebabs and heaps more. The offerings range in price but are all decently priced.
At a cafe you can expect to get a meal for around 100 THB.
So that was my trip to Pai. If you want to avoid the windy road you can book flights. Flights to Pai from Chiang Mai cost between 2200 – 2400 THB.
If you stay longer there are plenty of other things you can do. You can hire out a scooter, do some trekking or rafting, there is plenty on offer.