Oh Pai. That little town in Northern Thailand that seems to capture anyone who goes near it. Like a beach town without the beach, residents and tourists alike find a uniquely laid-back vibe in this quiet little town. Hippies, tourists, and those seeking a few days off from the bustle of Bangkok or Chiang Mai call Pai their home for a few days, weeks, or if they’re lucky enough, months. If Pai has been recommended to you over and over again but you still don’t know what exactly there is to do there, check out these 6 activities below.

Rent a motorcycle and ride it….carefully

A scooter for driving around Pai, ThailandThere’s never been a better place to rent a scooter or motorcycle than in Pai. With a lot of the scenic beauty of the region being just far enough outside of town to be a pain to get to on foot (5-15km away) a scooter makes getting around quick and easy.

Be careful though – I’ve never seen more motorcycle accidents than I have in Pai. Many tourists show up and decide they want to try out a bike with no experience driving one back home. Even in the non-existent Pai traffic this can be stressful for first-time drivers who end up in low-speed collisions or dropping the bike. The sound of plastic on asphalt became all too familiar during my time there. Go slow, be careful, and make sure that you’re given a helmet and that you actually wear it.

Expect to pay 250 baht per day for a small 100 to 125 cc scooter.

T-Shirts for sale in the Pai marketExplore the night market

Shops and food stalls pop up all along the street as the night market springs to life every evening just as the sun goes down. Here you can find all sorts of artistic souvenirs, clothing and delicious food. You’ll find everything from silk scarves to wool ponchos and funky postcards to send home to your family and friends. Take an evening to explore.

Pai Canyon

This beautiful spot is just outside of the main town of Pai. Stop by, snap a few photos, and if you’re brave enough you can climb around on the sandy ledges. The best part about Pai Canyon? These magnificent views are completely free.

Indulge in Pai’s Hippie Nightlife

A cool poster at a pub in Pai that reads "What, What?"Pai is not necessarily known for its night life, but (there’s always a “but”) that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some fantastic little relaxed hippie pubs that deserve your attention. Take, for example, the PM Spirit Bar, which is located down a long, narrow alley on the market street. Customers gather around a bonfire in the middle of the outdoor pub, with stone benches and seats on the floor for when it gets a little too crowded. Our visit hit its peak with a white-haired local chap singing and playing “What a Wonderful World” on mandolin. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Go for a swim

Want to warm up after one of Pai’s notoriously chilly nights? The nearby Pong Nam Ron hot springs may be for you. You can warm up and relax your tired muscles (or detox from the night before) for only 200 baht.

If the midday heat has already hit then it might be a better idea to make your way to one of Pai’s many waterfalls. The Mo Paeng waterfall is a bit of a hike if you don’t have wheels – 12km west of town – but it’s the best for swimming with pools on multiple levels and lots of space to lay out in the sun.

Try Khao Soi

This Burmese-influenced Northern Thai dish can’t be found in the south, so enjoy it while you can. The soup broth is made of curry and coconut milk and is topped off with noodles and chicken. The dish is so popular that there are entire blogs dedicated to trying Khao Soi all around the world. When you’re looking down at your third Khao Soi of the day, just think to yourself “How did I ever live without this?”