Sometimes visiting a town like Pai can be overwhelming. With all of the different tour groups and guides shoving maps and pamphlets into your hands. It’s hard to know what’s really worth seeing. It’s also hard to figure out if it’s something that you would be better off seeing on your own rather than as a tour. So, I’ve put together a list of all of the things to eat, see and do in Pai and how to do them. These are all things I did myself (most on multiple occasions) and sincerely recommend.
Rent A Scooter
I’m going to start with the simplest most important part of your Journey through Pai. You will need a scooter. If you really want to see everything Pai has to offer. I personally went with Vespai Scooter Rental. Although slightly more expensive than the cheapest options (by less than a dollar) I still think it is the best option. The man who owns and runs it genuinely cares about your safety and how comfortable you are riding. He gave me a lesson before I actually rented and will work with you until you’re ready for the road. He also gives you the option to put down a deposit (for me it was about $125 for a two week rental) instead of leaving your passport. All in all, my scooter rental was just under $5 a day.
BONUS: Vespai offers discounts for weekly rentals!
Take A Drive To Pam Bok Waterfall
By far the easiest waterfall to get to. Paved roads (for the most part), a parking lot and walking trail. I found this to be a less crowded waterfall and although it’s not as big as some of the others in Pai, it’s an awesome way to spend an afternoon if you don’t feel like a 12 kilometer hike.
TIP: On your way to Pam Bok you will see signs for the Land Split. Pull over and check this out if you have time. It’s a plot of land that back in 2008 just split without warning. And so the man who owns the land allows people to come look at the area for free. He will give you fresh fruit and snacks and hibiscus juice at no charge – so make sure to leave a donation for his kindness!
Coffee With A View
Coffee in Love is one of those places that is a must stop for every tour bus. With well priced coffee and snacks, it offers a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The view in itself is worth the trip but the coffee is actually awesome. I had heard mixed reviews and Yelp kind of led me to believe it was going to be awful. However, we found the coffee so good we returned several more times!
Looking for a place to stay in Pai? Check out my review of the Phu Pai Art Resort!
Om Garden Cafe
So, all three times I ate here I forgot to take pictures before scarfing down my meal because it was just too good. I wasn’t even planning on going here but the endless recommendations forced me to. And I’m glad because I had the best freaking salad of my life. It was called the… Kao Soy Thai Salad (don’t quote me on that). It’s an open air restaurant filled with travelers and expats and everyone is extremely friendly. Lots of greenery and plants inside and incorporated with the actual architecture of the restaurant. I also ordered a pear, apple, lime juice concoction that was SO refreshing. Seriously though, the salad – it’s more than a salad, even if you’re not a salad person. Try it.
Meander Down Walking Street
You can’t visit Pai without spending several evenings browsing the Pai Walking Street. It’s located right on the main drag and runs from around 5:30pm to 10pm. It’s basically a collection of vendors selling everything from fresh juices, jewelry, clothing, and of course a TON of freaking food. And you want to know the average cost? About 50 cents. Yes, folks. You can get a plate of lasagna for less than a dollar. Oh, you want some coconut ice cream? 30 cents. Some delicious Pad Thai (try the cart at the VERY end of the block near The Beauty House)? That will be a dollar. It blows my mind. I also picked up some jewelry and souvenirs, the most expensive piece being a stone bracelet that cost me around $10. I agonized over that purchase… but I needed that bracelet.
TIP: Whilst walking up and down walking street stop at the Why Not Bar for a Gin Fizz. They make them the best here and the bartender who is usually working is a blast. His name is Benz and hes easy to spot because his entire body is covered in tattoos.
Another one of our favorite spots to stop in Pai. We sought shelter in this cafe during a thunderstorm that dropped without warning. We had some of the best food we’ve had in Pai. I probably ordered the Strawberry Watermelon juice a safe six or so times. I tried the Egg Salad (the dressing is killer, also it’s not an egg salad per say but more of a salad with a chopped hard boiled egg). I fell in love with the breakfast burrito (the salsa is epic) and the smoothie bowls. There is only one chef, you will see him mill in and out between customers for a cigarette break or just to get some air. He is an amazing chef and super friendly if you actually get him talking.
Cuddle And Die From Cuteness at the Rabbit Cafe
I was walking by this lavender cafe when I look over and see this girl PETTING A TINY BUNNY. I lost it. I think they were a little nervous to give me a bunny after seeing my reaction but lucky for me, they were not deterred. You sit down, you order some coffee (surprisingly good), and you get YOUR OWN BUNNY FOR YOUR TABLE. SOMETIMES TWO. Sometimes you can feed them. Sometimes they snuggle up to your iced coffee cup to stay cool. Sometimes you try to steal one to take home with you. Who knows? God, it’s so cute. I die. You’re welcome.
Relax at Love Restaurant
This restaurant is a part of the Pai Island Resort and even though the food is great, the ambiance is better. Surrounded by greenery and a river bubbling behind you while you sit in a GIANT comfy chair. The presentation of the food is great too. It’s almost all too pretty to eat. But eat it. Because it’s good. The ceasar salad is excellent and the Pad Thai comes in an egg burrito. It’s legit.
Art Farm Gallery
This last one is one of my favorites. Well, obviously because these are all my favorites. This was actually the Airbnb we stayed at but in addition to offering lodging he also has an art gallery (he’s an artist himself), an AMAZING cafe and an equally amazing playlist. You order by choosing these little wooden placards and then bring them up to the counter. He is an amazing cook. The breakfast sandwich and the bacon pasta will change your life. And I haven’t tried the pancakes yet but I’m going to tomorrow and you know what, I bet they’re delicious. The vibe is awesome and worth the 15 or so minute drive outside of town.
TIP: I recommend staying here as well if you’re looking for an affordable rental. Just head over to Airbnb and search “art farm studio”. He has a few little condos on there and they will all be listed as “art farm studio S1” (or S2, S3, etc).