Pai is a town cradled in the mountains of Northern Thailand. It lies in the Mae Hong Soon Province and is known for its hot springs, waterfalls, and peaceful hippie vibes.

It’s a small village, with the population coming in under 3,000 which only adds to its seclusion and charm.

Instead of a Thailand island getaway, why not do a Thailand mountain getaway instead? Even though there are no beaches, Pai is a slice of paradise.

Pai won’t disappoint the adventurers, nature lovers, and yogis out there and generally anyone who wants to reap some of the benefits of meditating without actually having to meditate…. Peacefulness is omnipresent in Pai.

But what isn’t exactly peaceful is the stress and anticipation that comes along with trying to figure out where to stay in Pai. With so many hostels and hotels looking so perfect, it’s hard to know which Pai accommodation options are right for you.

Thus, the creation of our Pai neighborhood guide! This stunning guide was carefully crafted by our expert travel writers who have spent a time or two in Pai. By that, we mean lost a couple months getting stuck in Pai because it was just too perfect to leave. We’re serious.

Here is our Pai neighborhood guide that reveals all of the best places to stay in Pai. Ready to find your own little oasis in Pai?

Where to Stay in Pai

Ready to book and in a hurry? Then here is the top three best places to stay in Pai. That’s right, these are our three highest recommendations for Pai accommodation.

Best Airbnb in Pai: River cottage

This beautiful cottage is located close to the river, in the Northern area of Pai. You’ll have the whole cottage to yourself. Stepping out of your front door, you can enjoy the incredible view and sunrise every morning. There’s a nice common area (called clubhouse) and even an outdoor pool. Since the Airbnb is a bit further from the main city, we’d recommend renting a scooter to get from A to B fast and easy.

Best Hostel in Pai: The Jazz House

First up is one of Pai’s best hostels for backpackers. We love the Jazz House Hostel located right in the heart of downtown Pai. It’s one heck of a social hostel! It’s a lively place that isn’t just another youth party hostel.

There’s a more communal, chill vibe than you might expect at other party hostels around the world. What’s more, is that there is also a free breakfast served up hot each morning.

We also love their Sunday open-mic nights! Such a fun way to share skills, and hear some amazingly talented fellow travelers!

Best Hotel in Pai: Prilpai Guesthouse

Prilpai Guesthouse is located in the South of Pai, just a few minutes drive from Downtown Pai. It’s one of the best places to stay in Pai, as it’s completely immersed in greenery yet not too far away to feel far away!

On the way to town, you’ll pass our favorite restaurant in Pai, Earth Tone. You’ll also pass by a 7-11 so you can pick up any necessities on the drive back home from a busy day exploring.

The breakfast is included and the wifi is fast! This is a truly relaxing place to stay in Pai without breaking the bank.

Pai’s Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN PAI
North Pai, Pai
FIRST TIME IN PAI

North Pai

North Pai is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Pai, but you don’t even know it yet. Most people don’t realize that some of the most famous Pai accommodation spots are actually in North Pai!

ON A BUDGET
Riverside Pai, Pai
ON A BUDGET

Riverside Pai

As we’ve already mentioned Pai sits along the Pai River. Downtown Pai falls to the west of the river, but there are plenty of incredible Pai accommodation options on the other side of the river too.

NIGHTLIFE
pai - downtown pai
NIGHTLIFE

Downtown Pai

Downtown Pai is centered around Chaisongkran Road but absolutely spreads out along other key roads like Rungsiyanon, Tesaban, and Raddamrong Roads. Don’t be intimidated by the sound of staying downtown.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
pai - south pai
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

South Pai

South Pai sure knows how to take our breath away. Being farther away from the downtown hubbub, South Pai is picturesque and where true relaxation and rejuvenation occurs. We may be a little obsessed…

FOR FAMILIES
Pai Canyon
FOR FAMILIES

Pai Canyon Area

The Pai Canyon area is actually 8km South of Pai. To get there, you just take the Highway 1095 South about 8km. To reach the Pai Canyon itself, stay on the lookout for a parking lot that is right after the “Love Strawberry Pai” attraction that you can easily see on the left hand side of the road.

Pai is a small mountain village that is absolutely picturesque. It remains relatively tranquil and doesn’t quite get as many visitors as other places on the Thailand backpacking trail. Getting to Pai can be quite the adventure in and of itself, as it lies in between Chang Mai and Mae Hong Soon and there are hundreds of winding mountainous sharp curves to expect along the drive.

We truly mean hundreds and hundreds of sharp curves! Along the 135km road from Chiang Mai, the serpentine road twists 762 times! For the faint of heart, and for the car sick, this is quite the challenge.

You might want to pack some anti-motion sickness pills for this ride, unless you’re hitting the road on motorbikes, in which case get ready for the ride of your life!

The wild ride is worth it as Pai is truly paradise. From the Pai Hot Springs to the waterfalls to the Night Market, Pai is packed with incredible things to do and to see. Hiking up to see the enormous white Buddha on the hillside is a must-do!

Pai dwells along the banks of the Pai River, so accommodation is usually centered downtown along Chaisongkran Road where the majority of shops and restaurants are.

However there is a scattering of hotels, guesthouses, and hostels spread along both sides of the riverbank and reaching further into north and south into the Pai Valley. Ready to learn more about Pai’s best neighborhoods?

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Pai

Ready or not, here we go! Here are the top five best neighborhoods to stay in Pai! Grab yourself a nice refreshing glass of Thai iced tea and let’s the trip planning commence!

#1 North Pai – Where to Stay in Pai for the First Time

North Pai is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Pai, but you don’t even know it yet. Most people don’t realize that some of the most famous Pai accommodation spots are actually in North Pai!

If you were curious about where to stay in Pai for your first time, we recommend heading on over to North Pai.

North Pai, Pai
source: Tonio_75 (Shutterstock)

From the famous Pai Circus Hostel, to the Pai Flora Resort, there are Pai accommodation gems to find in North Pai!

What else makes North Pai one of the best neighborhoods in Pai to stay in? Well, it’s where the most incredible Waterfalls are at! The Waterfall Mae Yao is a small waterfall that is perfect for swimming or tubing.

A very relaxing spot there! The Mo Paeng Waterfall is North and far to the west of Pai. There are plenty of beautiful nature spots to explore.

If you get tired of hiking and all the energy that goes into exploring, take a relaxing dip in the Sai Noam Hot Springs.

Best Airbnb in North Pai: River cottage

This beautiful cottage is located close to the river, in the Northern area of Pai. You’ll have the whole cottage to yourself. Stepping out of your front door, you can enjoy the incredible view and sunrise every morning. There’s a nice common area (called clubhouse) and even an outdoor pool. Since the Airbnb is a bit further from the main city, we’d recommend renting a scooter to get from A to B fast and easy.

Best Hostel in North Pai: UP2U Guesthouse

UP2U Guesthouse is just 5km North from the heart of Pai, so it’s not too far North to feel in the middle of nowhere, but just far enough North to get a bit of peace and quiet.

UP2U has lots of dorm room, some of which will make you feel almost as if you are living in a treehouse! All the beds have been lovingly made by hand out of wood and bamboo.

You can also chill on their balcony and patio area in the hammocks for a bit of extra relaxation.

Best Hotel in North Pai: Pai Flora Resort

Pai Flora Resort has cottage-style accommodation that are different than the other Pai bungalows. These cottages have a more modern, perhaps even Western feel to them.

The Pai Flora Resort is just a 5 minute drive from the Pai Walking street, so you’re not really too far away from all the action. Rooms are air-conditioned and come with fridges and TVs, all of which are not common for the usual Pai accommodation.

Pai Flora Resort also comes at basement prices, so you’ll stay in comfort without breaking the bank in one of Pai’s best neighborhoods.

Best Hotel in North Pai: Pai Vintage Garden Resort

Pai Vintage Garden Resort is located just around 1 kilometer from Downtown Pai. The bungalows are charming and the whole place is beautifully set up.

Breakfast is included in your stay, so guzzle down all the tea and coffee you need. The Pai Vintage Garden Resort is known for being peaceful and zen, surrounded by lovely Japanese styled gardens.

Things to See and Do in North Pai

  • Feel like a ninja and sign up for a Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat
  • Visit the gorgeous Art Farm Studio and look for handmade treasures
  • Get your boxing on at Sitjemam Muay Thai
  • See the beautiful Wat Mae Na Toeng Nai
  • Take a cooking class at Isara Garden and learn how to whip up truly beautiful and delicious Thai dishes
  • Go further up North and take a dip in the Sai Noam Hot Springs

#2 Riverside Pai – Where to Stay in Pai on a Budget

As we’ve already mentioned Pai sits along the Pai River. Downtown Pai falls to the west of the river, but there are plenty of incredible Pai accommodation options on the other side of the river too.

Things are a tid-bit quieter, yes, however by being so close to Downtown Pai, you won’t miss out on any of the hot spots or fun energy. But you may save a buck or two!

Just cross the river and hop back into the restaurant and cafe scene of Pai. It’s as easy as a piece of pie! See what we did there….

Riverside Pai, Pai
source: Kittichai (Shutterstock)

There are plenty of guesthouses and hostels along Riverside Pai. You won’t have any issue finding plenty of places to stay that come at affordable rates.

And with some great things to do in Riverside Pai as well, from MuayThai boxing to the Village Farm, you might be surprised about what there is to do in Riverside Pai.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Pai on a budget, or where to stay in Pai for just one night, Riverside Pai is the way to go. With low rates and still being close to all the action, Riverside Pai is a balance of the best of both worlds.

Best Hostel in Riverside Pai: Darling View Point Bungalows

The Darling View Point Bungalows are just 300 meters from the so-called Walking Street and the heart of Downtown Pai. There are over 30 rooms to choose from, including dormitories.

Enjoy snacks around the campfire at night and take a dip in their swimming pool whenever you want! This is one of Pai’s best neighborhoods for cool accommodation finds, and this is the best hostel around Riverside Pai!

Best Hotel in Riverside Pai: Pai Farm Homestay

The Pai Farm Homestay is truly one of the best places to stay in Pai! It’s beyond charming with private wooden bungalows and bright yellow lemon trees.

Enjoy seeing the ducks and the sheep and walking through the brightly flowered gardens. Snuggle up with the animals and save a buck or two at this affordable Pai Farm Homestay.

Alright, it’s really more of a Pai Farm Private Bungalow stay….

Best Hotel in Riverside Pai: Suandoi Resort

Wondering where to stay in Pai on a budget? The Suandoi Resort is a great option! With $8 dorm beds to $20 private rooms, Suandoi Resort has some great affordable options.

There is an onsite restaurant, bar, and lounge and all rooms are equipped with air-conditioning and private bathrooms— not always the case with these budget-friendly spots!

Things to See and Do in Riverside Pai

  • Pet the sheep and bunnies at the Village Farm you can even enjoy an afternoon tea or coffee there too
  • Give MuayThai boxing a try at Wisarut MuayThai Gym
  • Read a book in a hammock at Thai-Zen Organic Farm and Cafe
  • Crack open a beer at this funky and teeny tiny bamboo bar— Pai Zion Zone
  • Try the incredible vegan food at Bom Bowls, where food looks like art and tastes beyond delicious
  • Go for a dip at the public pool—Fluid Swimming Pool, note that the entrance fee is between 60-80baht (season dependent)

#3 Downtown Pai – Best Area to stay in Pai for Nightlife

Downtown Pai is centered around Chaisongkran Road but absolutely spreads out along other key roads like Rungsiyanon, Tesaban, and Raddamrong Roads. Don’t be intimidated by the sound of staying downtown.

Keep in mind that Pai is a tiny mountain village and their downtown is par for the course. It’s small and quaint too.

That being said, you absolutely want to stay in Downtown Pai if you’re looking for where the party is at. Downtown Pai is the best area to stay in Pai for nightlife.

pai - downtown pai
source: satit sewtiw (Shutterstock)

There is the highest density of bars and party spots in the downtown city center area. Don’t expect any raging hard-core party bars, but instead chill open-mic-night bars with tons of outdoor seating and bohemian vibes.

Downtown Pai is the best area in Pai to stay in for socializing and cracking open a can of beer.

Downtown Pai is also home to the incredible Pai Night Market which is hands down one of the best night markets in all of Thailand! With sterling silver jewelry and dream catchers, not to mention empanadas and dumplings galore, the Pai Night Market is the place to be each and every night!

Downtown Pai is one of the best areas to stay in to make friends and take advantage of the nightlife— from rasta to funky to boho chill— Pai nightlife has a little bit of everything.

Best Airbnb in Downtown Pai: Cute Townhouse

This Airbnb is perfect for every nightlife enthusiast. Located in walking distance to the main area, you’ll be able to enjoy a great night out, but also a good nights sleep. The townhouse is quite big, and you’ll have it completely to yourself, so it might be worth asking some friends to come along. If you don’t want to explore the area during the day, you can relax in your massive garden and soak up some sun.

Best Hostel in Downtown Pai: The Jazz House

The Jazz House is one of the best places to stay in Pai. It’s a highly social hostel full of hammocks and communal vibes. You’re sure to walk away with dorm friends or with mates you met over the free breakfast.

You heard us right, free breakfast! There are also open-mic nights held every Sunday for those who like jamming, or listening to talented fellow travelers!

Best Hotel in Downtown Pai: The Place of Tranquility

The Place of Tranquility is located right in the center of Downtown. Although it’s downtown, it’s tucked away just off the street, and actually doesn’t face the main street itself.

Enjoy peaceful garden views and free parking! Double rooms are available, not a dorm bed is in sight!

Best Hotel in Downtown Pai: Baan Mai Sak

Baan Mai Sak is a very budget-friendly Pai accommodation that is located in one of Pai’s best neighborhoods— downtown! That’s no surprise, but what is a surprise is the charming nature of this hostel.

With lots of sweet touches, Baan Mai Sak is a great option for people on a budget who want to be close to the nightlife! Dorm rooms are aplenty. There is also shared lounge to relax in as well as a microwave to use!

Things to See and Do in Downtown Pai:

  • Stuff your face at the Pai Night Market, make sure to try the gyoza
  • Visit Wat Luang Buddhist Temple and snap a photo of this gorgeous white and gold temple
  • Walk around Wat Klang, a beautiful temple right on the edge of downtown
  • Slurp up some delicious noodle soup at Noodle House Pai
  • Check out the popular Boom Bar with funky lights and cheap drinks
  • Head over for the after-party at Don’t Cry Bar, that stays open when everywhere else closes for the night

#4 South Pai – Coolest Place to Stay in Pai

South Pai sure knows how to take our breath away. Being farther away from the downtown hubbub, South Pai is picturesque and where true relaxation and rejuvenation occurs. We may be a little obsessed…

Earth Tone is our number one favorite restaurant in Pai, where we have had countless meals and made countless friends. The seating arrangement is open and cozy, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger and end up walking away as friends.

Their vegan menu is dazzling and their tiny health food market housed inside is a dream come true for the travellers out there who need to stock up on spirulina powder and mangosteen capsules. South Pai is one of the best areas in Pai to stay. It’s true. You can practically taste the cool factor.

pai - south pai
source: saiko3p (Shutterstock)

You might have guessed it but South Pai is the coolest place to stay in Pai. From the many chill hangouts to the free-spirited vibes, South Pai is the best neighborhood to stay in Pai for the cool atmosphere.

South Pai is also where you’ll find the giant white Buddha statue on the hill— Chedi Phra That Mae Yen. It’s not too high of a hike up there if you take a scooter part way.

Make sure to bring appropriate clothing as staff expect you to cover your shoulders and your knees. Wrapping a scarf around your waist will do. If you forget one, they will “rent” you a sarong for a fee.

Best Airbnb in South Pai: Coolest house in South Pai

We don’t want to promise too much, but this house in the South of Pai is something truly special. Recently built, completely new and designed incredibly charming, you’ll instantly feel welcome and at home when entering this Airbnb. You’ll live on the same land as the hosts, who are kind and always there to give great recommendations and advice. This place is worth booking longer than a couple of nights to enjoy the area around, as well as the home itself.

Best Hostel in South Pai: Deejai Pai Backpackers

Deejai Pai Backpackers is very newly constructed colonial style hostel that actually sits on the edge of rice fields. It has an incredible sunset view that shouldn’t be missed!

We love their abundance of group activities they have planned each week from barbecues to fireshows. There is also free yoga classes offered daily. With things like fire shows and free yoga, Deejai Pai is one of the best places to stay in Pai!

Best Hotel in South Pai: Prilpai Guesthouse

Prilpai Guesthouse is just a few minutes drive from Downtown Pai, but is far enough away to obtain true solitude. Prilpai is positively delightful. From the bamboo bungalows to the tiny cafe, to the peaceful gardens.

We love how tucked away from the world Prilpai feels. Prilpai also offers bicycle and scooter rental directly on the property. Breakfast is provided each morning.

Moreover, each unit has a private open-air bathroom and shower attached behind the bungalow.

Best Hotel in South Pai: Baan Kati Sod

Nestled in the middle of much greenery, Baan Kati Sod offers guests modern Thai-style bungalows. The rooms are furnished with all natural materials and are sweet and simple.

This Pai hotel also has its own restaurant where guests can nibble on or chow down on delicious traditional Thai dishes.

Things to See and Do in South Pai

  • Trek up to Chedi Phra That Mae Yen and take in the gorgeous views of the city below
  • Spend hours relaxing at Earth Tone Vegan Restaurant and sample all their homemade vegan ice cream flavors
  • Check out the Pittalew Art Gallery and see if you can catch a live music show there
  • Visit the beautiful Wat Sai Khao Buddhist temple with its gorgeous gold, red, and royal blue colors
  • Head over to gypsy Soul Bistro & Boutique and see what treasures you can find or enjoy a delicious meal

#5 Pai Canyon Area – Best Neighborhood in Pai for Families

The Pai Canyon area is actually 8km South of Pai. To get there, you just take the Highway 1095 South about 8km.

To reach the Pai Canyon itself, stay on the lookout for a parking lot that is right after the “Love Strawberry Pai” attraction that you can easily see on the left hand side of the road.

The Pai Canyon itself is free to visit and there are some drinks and snacks available from purchase at the trailhead from tiny stalls and vendors. What’s great about the Pai Canyon is that there is only one trail, so you can’t get lost!

Viewpoints just stick out from the path a bit, so stay alert and you won’t miss a thing.

Pai Canyon
source: James Antrobus (Flickr)

Besides the Pai Canyon itself, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Pai to stay in as it’s actually where the most renowned natural activities and sites are located. From the seismic Land Split from the Tha Pai Hot Springs, the Pai Canyon Area is a phenomenal place to stay in Pai!

What’s more, is that it is the best neighborhood in Pai for families. The kids will love exploring the beautiful nature of Pai, and the accommodation opens are all offer privacy and are spacious enough to host large families.

You won’t be surrounded by backpackers or party animals here in the Pai Canyon area. If you were wondering where to stay in Pai with kids, look no further than the Pai Canyon area!

Best Hotel in Pai Canyon Area: Kalm Pai

Kalm Pai comes at a steal for staying in the Pai Canyon Area. You will be nestled right in nature. It’s the perfect spot to relax and reconnect with nature and with your own family.

Breakfast is free, which is perfect for the hungry kiddos. There are also air-conditioned and non-air conditioned bungalows available.

Moreover, there is a shared terrace and common area to curl up in and enjoy a good book or take the time to get lost in a daydream…

Best Hotel in Pai Canyon Area: Pai Love & Baan Chonphao Resort

The Pai Love & Baan Chonphao Resort is a beautiful and serene resort that will make you feel pampered. There is an authentic Thai restaurant on site that knows how to whip up incredible culinary delights!

Apart from the restaurant, we love the beautiful bungalows and the true privacy each accommodation provides guests with. The free shuttle to downtown Pai is an incredible perk too!

Best Hotel in Pai Canyon Area: Bura Lumpai Resort

If you’re looking to splurge, and by splurge, we really mean spending around $40 a night, you will be treated like queens and kings at Bura Lumpai Resort. The private bungalows are charming and the pool is enormous.

You’ll be surrounded by nature and will have all the privacy your heart desires. The free shuttle service to downtown Pai is an added bonus!

Things to See and Do in Canyon Area

  • Visit the Land Split just 5km North of the Pai Canyon
  • Take a dip in the Pam Bok Waterfall
  • Walk across the Bamboo Bridge, called the Boon Ko Ku So Bridge, which spans across beautiful rice paddies
  • Hike the Pai Canyon and enjoy some outdoor adventuring
  • Snap some cute photos at Love Strawberry Pai
  • Soak in serenity at Tha Pai Hot Springs

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Pai

What did we say? Pai, Thailand is paradise. Have we convinced you yet? With plentiful hot springs, waterfalls, and chill places to relax and cool people to vibe with, Pai will not disappoint. It will more likely steal a bit of your heart.

There are a lot of awesome hostels in Pai, but our top hostel recommendation is The Jazz House. It’s cozy, communal, yet lively hostel that is close to all the nightlife.

If you’re looking for our top pick for the best hotel in Pai, we recommend Prilpai Guesthouse. Located in South Pai, Prilpai is a green oasis filled with bamboo bungalows and lush gardens.

Have any Pai tales of travel to share? We’d love to story swap! Please drop us a note in the comments below.

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Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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