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Hippies and laid-back travelers to Thailand almost always take refuge in the haven otherwise known as Pai. This Northern Thai city is one that many will visit with every intention of leaving in a few days only to find themselves still here weeks later. Those of you with a tight itinerary, however, should be sure to fill it with only the most incredible of things to see and do, which is why we are here with how to make the most out of your Pai travels with only 48 hours to spare!

Day One Morning:

Check into Your Pai Accommodation Option

You may have just made over 700 turns from Chiang Mai to get to Pai on the day of your arrival. Maybe you splurged and got a flight from the northern capital. However it is you got here … you made it! First, check into your accommodation option and prepare yourself for a day of exploration. Our favorite hostels that we recommend are listed below.

  • Buzza’s Backpackers
  • Tribal Pai Backpackers
  • Mad Monkey Hostel Pai
  • Purple Monkey
  • Spicypai
  • Happy House Backpackers

 

Check into Your Pai Accommodation Option - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Tribal Pai Backpackers © Courtesy of Kirsten Muolic/Mad Monkey

 

Grab Breakfast at Big’s Little Cafe

Before beginning your day, fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Big’s Little Cafe. This is the perfect place to meet your fellow backpackers and indulge in a tasty (and affordable) international breakfast. We recommend the full English breakfast, and the veggie burger is a hit, as well. Afterward, grab a coffee from Red Bike Kitchen & Espresso Bar, found just down the street from Big’s Little Cafe. You will not be disappointed with the wide range of caffeinated beverages this quaint coffee shop is serving up!

 

Grab Breakfast at Big's Little Cafe - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Breakfast at Big’s Little Cafe © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Day One Afternoon:

Check out the Art Galleries and Grab a Snack

Now that you are full and filled with caffeine, it is time to start exploring the city of Pai. For our first day, we will be exploring on foot. The city is relatively small and some of the top sights do not need a vehicle or bicycle in order to get there. The first stop on our itinerary is Art in Pai, a quaint gallery and art shop duo owned by a Pai native. The artist is friendly and chatty, and the shop is filled with cool finds available for purchase. Afterward, try a piece of faux meat from the vegan restaurant across the street: Chew Xin Jai. You can either eat it there or get it to go and indulge at our next stop in Pai

 

Check out the Art Galleries and Grab a Snack - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Art in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Relax by the Pai River

After doing some shopping, make your way down to the Pai River. You will find a bamboo bridge crossing and oftentimes, there are large oxen that post up along the banks and eat before swimming and cooling off. The river is lined with restaurants and accommodation options, though we found that sitting along the banks is just as nice as sitting at a venue.

 

Relax by the Pai River - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Along the banks of the Pai River © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Day One Evening:

Head to Walking Street

End the day with a visit to the market on Walking Street in the center of Pai. This narrow stretch of street is teeming with interesting finds. Local artists post up with their newest prints. Local chefs cook everything from falafel wraps to samosas for hungry visitors to snack on. It is open every day at about 5 p.m. and is open late. It is on Rungsiyanon Road. In addition to delicious food, there are a number of cool Thai souvenirs that are perfect for taking home to your family.

 

Head to Walking Street - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Drinks on Pai Walking Street © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Day Two Morning:

Do Some Yoga at Bom Bowls

Day two of our itinerary in Pai kick-starts with a refreshing yoga sesh and mouthwatering smoothie bowl at Bom Bowls. Hannah, the lovely manager, will take your body through a series of twists and turns that will leave you feeling flexible and rejuvenated at their yoga studio surrounded by beautiful mountainous terrain.

 

Do Some Yoga at Bom Bowls - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Yoga at Bom Bowls © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Grab a Healthy Breakfast Afterward

After the yoga class on the second floor of the restaurant, head down to the first to indulge in one of the healthiest breakfasts in town. It is here you can feel good about treating yourself to their healthy acai or Snicker’s bowl, each of which is topped with homemade granola and fresh banana slices!

 

Grab a Healthy Breakfast Afterward - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Bom Bowls © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Day Two Afternoon:

See the Top Sights

After fueling both your mind and your body at Bom Bowls, it is time to take to an electric bicycle or motorbike to explore the rest of the city. If you are not comfortable driving a motorbike, we highly suggest you opt for an electric bicycle. There is a shop right next to Sawasdee Pai Yoga that rents out bicycles, electric bicycles, and motorbikes. The choice is yours!

 

See the Top Sights - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Electric bicycle in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Visit the Land Split

After getting whatever form of transportation it is you chose, it is time to head to the Pai Land Split. It is about a 15-minute drive from the city center, and you will spend about an hour here. The owners are incredibly friendly and kind and distribute free roselle wine and jam for visitors to taste during their visit. There were a few puppies roaming around when we visited, so be on the lookout for these adorable pups while you are there, as well!

 

Visit the Land Split - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Land Split in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Land Split -Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Pai travels: Puppies at the Land Split in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

 

Climb the Steps to the Temple on the Hill

From the Land Split, you will then venture to the Temple on the Hill, otherwise known as Wat Phra That Mae Yen. To get here, you must first climb over 350 steps up the hill, but the end destination is well worth the climb. Once getting to the top, you will have some of the best (and free) views of the city of Pai below.

 

Climb the Steps to the Temple on the Hill - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Wat Phra That Mae Yen © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Location: 

 

Visit Earth Tone

While you are in the area, be sure to visit Earth Tone found right across the street from the Temple on the Hill. Earth Tone is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that also has a quaint shop found inside. Grab a probiotic drink to-go or maybe a vegan ice cream sandwich before heading to the next destination on our itinerary.

 

Visit Earth Tone - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Probiotic drinks at Earth Tone © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Walk Across Memorial Bridge

The Memorial Bridge is about a 12-minute drive from Earth Tone. You will not need much time here, but it is a site worth seeing. It is one of the most historic monuments in the city. The steel bridge is normally over-flowing with selfie-loving tourists trying to get that perfect Instagram photo: do not be one of those people. Instead, appreciate its design and respect its history.

 

Walk Across Memorial Bridge - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Memorial Bridge in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

The bridge was built during World War II in 1941 by the Japanese army. They needed a route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son in order to better attack Myanmar. Locals and elephants were forced to build it, and the Japanese later destroyed it. After seeing how much it was put to use, it was later rebuilt. It runs right over the Pai River.

 

Walk Across Memorial Bridge - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Pai travels: Memorial Bridge in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Location: 1095, Tambon Mae Na Toeng, Amphoe Pai, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand 

 

Day Two Evening:

See the Sunset Over the Pai Canyon

The best way to end your two days of exploration in Pai is with an incredible sunset at the Pai Canyon. Be sure to get here about 40 or so minutes prior in order to get an epic spot, as this natural landscape continues to grow in popularity and more and more tourists discover how beautiful it is. Otherwise known as Kong Lan, this valley is home to hair-raising trails that cut through the stunning greenery, with mountains acting as their backdrop as far as your eyes can see. Be sure to wear your walking shoes as the trails are not incredibly stable.

 

See the Sunset Over the Pai Canyon - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Land Split © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Location: Thung Yao, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand — VIEW MAP
Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

See the Sunset Over the Pai Canyon - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Land Split © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Stop by Love Strawberry

On your way back to the city center, be sure to stop at Love Strawberry for a photo opt and a strawberry shake. We recommend heading here as soon as the sun sets over the canyon so that you do not have to drive home in the dark!

 

Stop by Love Strawberry - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Love Strawberry Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Stop by Love Strawberry - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Pai travels: Love Strawberry Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Grab a Delicious Dinner in Pai

You have surely built up an appetite by now, so return your motorbike and have dinner to continue your Pai travels. There are so many delicious restaurants in town that we simply could not narrow down where it is you should eat on your last day, so instead, be sure to check out some of our favorite restaurants we have listed. For even more information on where to eat in Pai, check out our complete dining guide to the city!

 

Grab a Delicious Dinner in Pai - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Thai meal in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

International Restaurants in Pai

 

International Restaurants in Pai - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Salad at Witching Well © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Thai Restaurants in Pai

 

Thai Restaurants in Pai - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Pai travels: Thai meal at Na’s Kitchen in Pai © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

Vegetarian and Healthy Restaurants in Pai

 

Vegetarian and Healthy Restaurants in Pai - Pai Travels: How to Spend 48 Hours in this Northern City
Vegetarian meal at Chew Xin Jain Vegan Food © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

More Information About Pai Travels

Did you love this article about Pai travels? Do you want to find out even more information about the top things to see and do in Pai? Then check out these articles we have rounded up for your reading pleasure!

 

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About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.