How to Get to Pai from Chiang Mai

How to Get to Pai from Chiang Mai

The tiny mountain town of Pai is situated in Northern Thailand surrounded by lush greenery and rice fields. Pai, commonly known with its hippie vibe, is a charming place that easily catches your breath. This riverside town became a major tourist stop that strikes with a unique atmosphere, healthy food, and bustling nightlife.

If you are planning a visit to Pai from Chiang Mai, this article will walk you through your options. Transportation in Thailand comes in huge variety, so planning your trip to Pai comes down to personal preferences!

Getting to Pai by Minibus – The Popular Way

Taking a minibus to Pai from Chiang Mai is the most popular way to get there. A ride with an air-conditioned government minibus costs around 180 BAHT. At a small extra charge, you can save the hassle and book tickets through any of the travel agencies spread around Chiang Mai. Most of them even offer a pick-up service from your hotel or guesthouse.

No matter which option you choose, the journey takes around 3-4 hours. The minibuses are often crowded and the winding mountain road might cause motion sickness.

Getting to Pai by Bus – The Cheapest Way

The public buses to Pai from Chiang Mai leave roughly 5 times per day from Arcade Bus station. That’s the cheapest possible option as a one-way ticket costs around 80-120 BAHT. There is no need to book your ticket in advance but make sure you’re at the station at least 30 min earlier to buy one. Keep in mind that if there are too many empty seats, the bus may be delayed.

The journey takes a little longer, up to 4 hours depending on the bus driver, but it’s less likely to make you sick.

Getting to Pai by Motorbike – The Adventurous Way

If you are looking for a side adventure, renting a motorbike and hitting the Route 1095 from Chiang Mai to Pai is just for you. The scenery is beyond amazing. You’ll definitely appreciate the possibility to stop and enjoy the scenic overlooks along the way. That combined with the thrill of driving through all the sharp turns and curves will make a trip to remember.

The price for renting a motorbike vary, but if you want to jump in this amazing drive through the mountains prepare at least 300 BAHT.

It will most probably take you around 4 hours with stops to get to Pai but by far that’s the best way to do it.

Getting to Pai by Car – The Comfy Way

Renting a car to Pai from Chiang Mai still gives you the freedom to stop and enjoy the unbelievable views on the way but in a more comfortable way. However, the experience is not the same. The length of the trip is about 3 hours and the price depends on your car preference. Sharing your ride with other passengers is a great way to save some money.

Consider the fact that it might be difficult to find a place to park in Pai. Choose a hotel or a guesthouse that offers parking spots.

Now that you know how to get to Pai, it’s just a matter of choosing your path. Once you’re there, grab an ice cold Leo, swing on a hammock and fall into the undeniable charm of the town.


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