Our journey from Chiang Mai to Pai - a road stretches out into the distance, surrounded by luscious green jungle on either side of the road.
Photo – The Affordable Backpacker

It’s 6am and the phone alarm vibrates under my pillow. Careful not to wake other occupants of the dorm room, I climb down from the top bunk and wake Martyn. Today we are travelling from Chiang Mai to Pai.

Eden Walking Street is a simple hostel in the “Old city” part of Chiang Mai. Conveniently placed, with rooms starting from £7 a night it’s always top of our list whilst staying in Chiang Mai. Ning Nong the owner/manager of Eden is a fantastic source of knowledge and is always on hand to help. Storing our bigger backpacks here for 3 nights whilst we visit Pai makes our whole journey so much easier.

Our scooter is waiting for us out front. The drive from Chiang Mai to Pai usually takes 3-4 hours but we plan on making a few small stops. Full up on toast and coffee, off we go!

Highway 107 and 1095

The initial drive out of Chiang Mai was busy but nothing too stressful. We popped into a nearby 7-Eleven to stock up on water and snacks. I am obsessed with the little banana-shaped cakes that are sold at the tills. They cost around 12 baht and if you get chance to try one you should!

It was not long until we were on highway 107, a long and dusty road which is extremely busy and seems to go on forever. Be sure to get petrol along this road as there are few places to fill up ahead. Caution Police officers were pulling vehicles over on this road on our way back. (Be prepared to pay a small fine of around 500 baht if you do not have the correct docs.)

After turning onto route 1095, pretty much just stay on here until you reach Pai!

Mork Fa Waterfall

Waterfall cascading down the side of a cliff. One of our side trips on the way from Chiang Mai to Pai.

One of the highlights of our day was visiting Mork Fa Waterfall, which we reached around 8.30am. Price for administration was 100 baht (£2.60) per person and 20 baht (50p) for parking. Pulling into the car park, we saw groups of scouts doing various activities. Surrounded by children playing and laughing, we couldn’t help but be in high spirits. Other than 1 or 2 buses belonging to the scouts, there was no one else here yet… result! If you want to change into/out of your swimsuit, there are toilets available (heads up, its a squat style toilet – take your own tissue.) Just a short walk of 5-10 minutes and we were at the waterfall. It is not a strenuous walk, but I would definitely advise against flip flops.

Lunch

A small house on the side of a road. A sign on the side of the house read FOOD. DRINK. and then writing underneath in Thai.
Image – Google Street View

There are cafes and coffee shops all along this road, so it will be quite easy to grab your dinner en route. We unfortunately didn’t take a note of the place we stopped for lunch, but we should have as the food was delicious. Trawling Google Street View I have managed to find it! On your travels if you somehow have mystical powers and spot this house / cafe then you’ll be so happy if you visit. An elderly lady was sat preparing vegetables when we pulled in. Standing up she greeted us warmly, her dog following behind. Speaking minimal English, but extremely happy and welcoming she sat us down. After handing us a cold drink and asking what we would like, she started cooking. In no time we were served two really tasty meals that cost less than £2.

A screen cap of google maps, the destination points to where readers can find a good restaurant along route 1095, in Thailand,
Approx location . Please note it is not the ‘coffee bar’ [that is next door]
Image – Google Street View.

Is it safe to drive?

Overall our journey from Chiang Mai to Pai took around 6 hours with a leisurely drive and many stops along the way. The road was mostly smooth and quite wide, making it fun to ride but you definitely have to be aware of others on the road. There are A LOT of minibuses taking tourists too and from Pai, mostly they drive like maniacs.

How else can you get from Chiang Mai to Pai?

If you don’t want to self-drive you can grab a mini bus from Chiang Mai Arcade bus station (known as Chiang Mai bus Terminal 2, platform 12). Prempracha Transports run a minibus service to Pai every hour, with first mini buses leaving at 6.30 and last at 17:30. Tickets cost 150 THB (approx £3.85) per ticket from Chiang Mai to Pai.

You can find the bus station here:



Wether you plan on hiring a bike or getting a minibus, one thing is for sure – the hundreds of curves get tiresome. Good job Pai is worth the effort 😉

Click here for the 10 Best things to do in Pai once you arrive!

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