Must See Places
Hands down the most backpacker place in the north. With mountain landscapes, waterfalls, canyons, and hot springs this place has completely different vibes than the Thai islands. Come here to relax, meet some fellow backpackers, and maybe have a shroom shake or two.
While You’re Here You Have To…
Go To Pai Canyon
This was my favorite place in Pai… and if you can stomach climbing the steep ridges with no guard rails, it will lead you to amazing views. Wearing sneakers is a must for this. The last thing you need is getting your flip flop twisted on a rock and rolling down the canyon. Also, please please please don’t go when it’s dark. I went for sunset (which was awesome) but it got dark so quickly it was hard to see on the walk back.. invigorating but not recommended. P.S. it’s freeeeee.
Eat At The Night Market
At night, the main streets of Pai turn into food stall paradise. There’s also jewelry, and other junk but omg the food. I highly recommend this option for dinner as much as possible.
Go For A Dip At Pam Bok Waterfall
Short walk to a beautiful and free entry waterfall. On a hot day this is the perfect spot to relax. You can easily take a scooter to this waterfall, bamboo bridge, Pai land split, catch the sun set at Pai canyon, and be home in time for dinner at the night market…but you’ll be on vacation so try and take it easy.
Walk Bamboo Bridge
This bridge is one of the most picturesque places I’ve been to. It’s a quick walk to the end and back, but being able to watch natives farm the rice fields in such a beautiful surrounding makes it hard to leave. This place is also freeeeee.
Visit Pai Land Split
The story behind this place is pretty cool. A Thai farmer used to use this land for farming until the ground eroded creating a land split. This left a good portion of the land unusable for farming. So the farmer decided to use the land to attract tourists and offer free food and snacks as well as free roaming to explore the land split. They are so generous with the free food it makes it difficult not to leave a donation.
#2 Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai offers so many activities and history. As far as large cities go.. this city is one of my favorites.
While in the north of Thailand, if you’re in a pinch to renew your visa and extend your stay, there is an immigration office in Chiang Mai that makes it easy. It’s oddly located in a mall but they make it simple by having places to make copies of your passport and visa (which you’ll need), and get extra passport pictures taken in minutes (which you’ll also need). At the time I believe getting my visa extended for another month was around $60 usd but it might have changed by then.
While You’re Here You Have To…
Go To A Lady Boy Cabaret Show
I had SO MUCH FUN at this show. The location is oddly placed, deep in one of the night markets, but the performance was unforgettable. You would have NO IDEA that these super models are ladyboys. Be careful! The show is a bit risqué and as a guy you should not volunteer to go on stage if you are in the least bit shy.
Take A Cooking Class
You HAVE to take a cooking class while you’re in Thailand and I couldn’t recommend Zabb-E-Lee (Thai for “fuck that’s delicious” or “very delicious”) cooking school more. They take you to the market to shop for your own ingredients and teach in fun, interactive, small group classes. They can even alter recipes for vegans and vegetarians. AND you get a cook book to take home. I am not even getting money or discounts from these people. I just love them that much.
Visit An Elephant Sanctuary
If there is one thing you have to do while visiting Thailand, it is going to an elephant sanctuary. There are so many, it is hard to go wrong. I went to Chiang Sanctuary and I loved everything about it. The groups were small and you really felt like you had an up close and personal experience with the elephants. We made medicine balls for the elephants (out of only plants), fed them to the elephants, we also fed them bananas, gave them a bath, and just spent quality time with them… even though they were pretty uninterested after we ran out bananas. These beautiful creatures are so intelligent and gentle. Please help to support establishments like these and NOT ride the elephants as it is very catastrophic to their health.
The night markets are HUGE in Chiang Mai and very crowded. There are so many but two major markets. The Sunday Night Market is best on Sundays (duh), and the Night Bazaar is best on Saturdays. I preferred the Night Bazaar as it was more spread out and less crowded. It was nearly impossible for me to take a good picture in the night market since it was so crowded so here is a nice, calming, non-crowded picture of me shopping in Chiang Mai 🙂