The town centre has a simple layout and is easy to explore on foot. But to really get a feel of Pai, you need to get out of the town centre and immerse in its sleepy countryside. The best way to do that is to rent a motorcycle and just set off on your own. Don’t know how to ride one? The next best alternative is to drop by one of the tour agencies lining Chaisongkram Road, the main backpacker’s strip, and get your sightseeing plan customised.
Getting into Pai has been made easier with the opening of a domestic air route from Chiang Mai to Pai by Kan Air. Most travellers, however, still prefer to drive or take a bus from Chiang Mai, partly because it’s much cheaper and also because it’s part of the Pai experience. Route 1095 is very scenic but also extremely windy and steep. The 136-km stretch from Chiang Mai can take up to four hours, passing through nearly 2,000 sharp turns.