Where to stay in Pai for first time: 4 Safe areas

Pai is one of my favorite destinations in Northern Thailand along with Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. In today’s article, I will help you to find the safest places to stay in Pai for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Pai for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Pai and recommend some of the best hotels in Pai for visitors with various budgets.

Pai is a popular destination for many travelers seeking a laid-back and picturesque experience in Northern Thailand. The city is known for its lush greenery, waterfalls, and hot springs. 

It is often praised for its relaxed and bohemian atmosphere. If you’re seeking a place to unwind, do yoga, or simply enjoy a slower pace of life, Pai  is a great place to visit.

When visiting the town, you can hike through Pai Canyon to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The sunset is particularly stunning from this vantage point.

Other popular attractions in its surroundings are The Land Split, Pam Bok Waterfall, Mor Paeng Waterfall, Sai Ngam Hot Springs, Yun Lai Viewpoint, and Tham Lod Cave.

Pai is located about 3-4 hours by road from Chiang Mai. The journey involves navigating mountainous roads with many curves. Some people enjoy the scenic drive, while others might find it challenging.

Pai can get cooler in the evenings, especially during the winter months, so pack accordingly.

Is Pai safe to visit?

Pai, like other tourist towns in Thailand, is generally safe for visitors, even for solo travelers. But it’s always recommended to exercise standard precautions, follow local customs, and be extra careful while driving as the roads can be quite curvy.

Where to stay in Pai for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Pai for first-timers and tourists are Downtown (Walking Street/Night Market), Riverside, East Pai/Big Buddha, North Pai/Airport. They offer a variety of accommodations and amenities, making them great bases to explore the city and its surroundings.

Downtown, particularly the area around Walking Street and Night Market, is the best place in Pai for first-timers who want to be in the heart of the action with easy access to nightlife and tourist amenities. This area has the highest concentrations of accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shops.

If you prefer a quieter setting with scenic views, other areas such as Riverside, northern suburbs, and East Pai are great locations to book your accommodations. 

During my trip to Pai, I stayed for 3 nights at The Sylvana Pai. It was a great hotel in a central location, close to the River and the downtown area. Easy walk to the walking street and the bus station. Great base to explore the town. If you stay here, you can ask them for a quiet room.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Pai for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Pai first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Pai first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Pai, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Pai have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Safe areas to stay in Pai for first-timers and tourists

1. Downtown Pai (Walking Street/ Night Market) 

Downtown, without a doubt, is the best base for first-time visitors. It is the heart of the town, and staying here provides convenient access to the Night Market, restaurants, cafes, and shops. You’ll be within walking distance of many attractions and activities.

The Walking Street comes alive in the evening, offering a variety of street food, live music, and a lively atmosphere. Edible Jazz or Don’t Cry Bar are some of the popular nightlife venues in town.

Pai has a thriving café culture. You can spend some time exploring the numerous coffee shops and restaurants, where you can enjoy delicious Thai and international cuisine.

Downtown Pai offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to boutique hotels. You can find something that suits your preferences and budget.

Best places to stay in Pai Downtown for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): Pai Village Boutique Resort, popular 4-star hotel located in a prime location in a quiet area with easy access to the city center and the Pai River. It is within 5-10 mins walking distance from Wat Pa Kham Temple and bus station, as well as a short ride from Pai Market and Wat Luang Temple.  It has Excellent Breakfast, an outdoor pool, and comfortable family rooms.

Budget ($): Baan Pai Nai Wieng, great 3-star good value for money accommodation located in a central location, only 3 mins walk from the walking street, and easy access to numerous local/ international restaurants. It has free parking, luggage storage and laundry services.

Budget ($): Medio De Pai, 3-star accommodation conveniently located in the heart of the city, a short ride from the airport, Wat Phra That Mae Yen, Yunnan Village, and Yun Lai Viewpoint. It has free parking which is a bonus for those who drive.

Best Hostel ($): Supermoon Cozy Hostel, great backpacker hostel, centrally located in the downtown area, close to Pai Bus Station, Night Market and Walking Street. Great base to explore the city and surrounding attractions such as Wat Phra That Mae Yen, Pai Canyon, and The World War 2 bridge.


2. Pai Riverside

The Riverside area is serene and offers beautiful views. You can find accommodation along the Pai River, providing a peaceful setting. It’s still within walking distance of the downtown area.

Best places to stay in Pai Riverside for first-time travelers:

Luxury ($$$): Reverie Siam, 5-star vintage colonial style accommodation, located in a quiet area along the river, south of the downtown area. It has 2 outdoor pools, Exceptional Breakfast, free shuttle service to the airport and Pai walking street 

Mid-range ($$): Family House Zen Boutique Resort, popular 4-star resort located within walking distance from Pai Bus Station and Night Market, while  Wat Phra That Mae Yen is a short tuk tuk ride away. It has wonderful breakfasts, airport shuttle free, and outdoor pool.

Budget ($): Family House @ Pai, great 3-star accommodation in Pai, next to the scenic Pai River. Easy distance from Pai Walking Street and the airport.


3. East Pai/ Big Buddha area

East Pai is generally quieter and more secluded than the downtown area. If you’re seeking a peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle, this might be the right choice for you.

In this area, you can climb the stairs to Chedi Phra That Mae Yen hilltop temple for panoramic views of Pai and the surrounding countryside. The giant white Buddha statue is an iconic landmark.

You can enjoy the walk along the river, visit the Long Neck Karen Village, and Mae Yen Waterfall along the way.

Best places to stay in Big Buddha Pai area for tourists:

Luxury ($$$): The Oia Pai Resort, one of the only few five-star accommodations in Pai, this eco-friendly hotel offers free shuttles to Pai Walking Street, Pratad Mae Yen temple, Airport. You can use free bicycles from the hotel to explore its surroundings and a man-made saltwater lake.

Budget ($): Pai Vieng Fah Resort, 3-star beautiful boutique accommodation, located close to  Wat Phra That Mae Yen where you can enjoy stunning Sunrises and sunsets. It has free shuttle service to Airport, bus stations and popular areas in town.

Budget ($): The Countryside Pai, popular 3-star good value for money hotel located east of Pai Downtown from the Pai River. It is surrounded by rice fields and mountains, offering a free airport or bus station shuttle. Also have free parking for those who drive.


4. North Pai/ Airport area

This is also a great area for a more quiet vibe compared to the town center, while still  a short ride on scooter, bicycle, or car to reach restaurants, markets, and other attractions in the downtown.

Best places to stay in Northern Suburbs/Pai Airport for visitors:

  • Budget ($): JJ&J Garden, good value for money guest house located in a beautiful location, even though it is 20 mins walk from downtown area. 
  • Budget ($): Pai Flora Resort, this resort close to the river, offering cozy cottage-style rooms set in tropical gardens. Within walking distance from Walking Street and the bus terminal.
  • Mid-range ($$): Yoma Hotel, Pai, 4-star hotel located within walking distance from the main walking street in Pai. They offer a free shuttle to the walking street.

In conclusion, Downtown (Walking Street/Night Market), Riverside, East Pai/ Big Buddha area, North Pai/ Airport area are the best places to stay in Pai for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas with a variety choices of accommodations for all budgets.

You can continue reading other destinations in Northern Thailand in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Pai. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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