When I think about Northern Thailand, the two main cities that come to mind are Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Aside from those, I wasn’t really aware of any other places to visit while up north. Thankfully, as I was planning my trip, I heard from a friend about a place called Pai and how incredible it was. After doing a bit of research, and getting persuaded by all of the ranting and raving from my friend, I decided to put Pai on my itinerary. After all, it was only 3 hours from Chiang Mai (or, as locals like to say, ‘762 curves to Pai’) and I would be heading north to Chiang Rai anyway. After the long trip, we were dropped off in Pai just after lunch, so we hung around for the day and explored Pai Walking Street.
Before I talk about Pai Walking Street and how much I enjoyed my time here, let me tell you how much I didn’t enjoy getting to Pai. Like I mentioned above, there are literally 762 curves on the road from Chiang Mai to Pai. So, for about three hours you are cramped in a mini van, tearing around corners and curves, while other passengers are being sick into bags. To put it mildly, the ride to Pai was rough (but worth it in the end). I highly recommend you pop some anti-nausea and sleeping pills before getting into the mini van so you can just pass out and not have to suffer.
After our painfully long journey was over, we stepped off the mini van and onto Pai Walking Street. During the day there’s not too much going on throughout the street – cafes and restaurants are open, but you won’t see many travelers out and about. We stayed right on Pai Walking Street, which I highly recommend doing as well, so it was very easy to access just about all that Pai has to offer within a few minutes.
At around 6:00 pm each day Pai Walking Street comes to life with vendors and food stalls setting up along the street. There are also artists who are selling paintings, leather goods, and jewelry. As you walk along you’ll also find many stalls selling souvenirs and clothing of all sorts. Some of the merchandise here in Pai is quite a bit cheaper compared to Chiang Mai, so make sure you leave some room in your luggage bags before coming here!
You should also be sure to come hungry because there are tonnes of food stalls that sell deliciously cheap food. I found the food on Pai Walking Street to be some of the best street food I’ve had throughout Thailand. There is a very wide variety of food being sold instead of your typical crepes, fruit, skewers, and smoothies that you’ll predominantly find in Chiang Mai or Bangkok. Just start at the top of the walking street with an empty belly and eat your way down to the bottom! You’ll be stuffed with delicious food that will hardly break the bank.