The small town of Pai is located 80 km northwest from Chiang Mai. However, by road this distance increases to almost 135 km due to the mountainous landscape that it crosses. Chiang Mai to Pai is a popular route in Thailand. Wondering how to get to Pai from Chiang Mai? You can travel from Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai Airport to Pai by bus, taxi, flight, tour.
Pai is a popular destination for both foreign and local tourists during the high season in Thailand (November-January) which coincides with Thai winter. Pai is small but constantly growing mainly thanks to the increasingly numerous people attracted by the beauty of its alternative environment of the mountains and stunning landscapes. Almost everyone arrives in Pai through the amazing Chiang Mai. The road to Pai is famous as it has no less than 762 curves running through the mountains with an infinite series of motion sickness.
How to get from Chiang Mai to Pai
Pai has its own airport (PYY), so getting from Chiang Mai to Pai by air is an option. You can also travel between these destinations by road, either by bus, car, motorbike or private transfer. The option you choose should depend on your preferences, the time you have, and your budget.
Chiang Mai to Pai Flight
Pai has its own airport located approximately 1 km outside the town center and you could previously comfortably reach Pai from Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) with a flight of only 25 minutes.
The airlines that were offering the service on the route Chiang Mai - Pai were Kan Air and Wisdom Airways, providing service with small touring planes and a very scenic journey. However, currently there are no scheduled flights on this route.
Be noted that the flights are irregular and are sometimes suspended indefinitely. For newest updates on availability of this flight and the price of tickets check Flight from Chiang Mai to Pai.
Chiang Mai to Pai Bus
If you are not in a hurry and you are on a tight budget, taking Chiang Mai to Pai bus is a good way to get to Pai. The public bus drives slower and without air conditioning, making you feel less nauseous and get dizzy on the roads. The trip by bus with many stops can take much more than 4 hours, depending on the traffic. The journey costs about 90 THB.
All buses originate from the Arcade Bus Terminal in Chiang Mai, which is also called the "New Terminal" with departure times every few hours from 06:00 to 16:00. Arcade Bus Station is located in the northeastern part of Chiang Mai, outside the Old Town. You will need a taxi or tuk-tuk to reach the bus station. Public buses with many empty seats can be delayed until more passengers arrive.
Minivan from Chiang Mai to Pai
The minivan from Chiang Mai to Pai is the most popular form of transportation between these two destination. It is a better solution than taking a public bus. The air-condition minibuses are equipped with greater facilities, offering more comfort and faster service. Depending on how full the minivan is, the luggage can be held inside or on the top of the minibus.
To get from Chiang Mai to Pai, it takes about four hours by road but depending on the conditions of the road conditions and the road surface you could also get to Pai faster. The minibuses that leave from Chiang Mai depart between 06:30 and 17:30, giving you the possibility of a considerable freedom of choice regarding the departure time.
You can find air-conditioned minivans that frequently leave the bus terminal, or hire minivan services that will pick you up directly at the door of your hotel and drop you off at Pai. The Chiang Mai to Pai minivan ticket price is around 240-250 THB per person. Tickets for these minibuses can be purchased anywhere in Chiang Mai or conveniently booked online here:
As it’s a popular route, note that tickets for a trip from Chiang Mai to Pai can sell out quickly. If you are travelling during major events like Songkran and Loy Krathong, make sure to buy tickets in advance to get your seat.
The path to Pai is very beautiful, although there are 762 curves through the mountains. Some van drivers seem to have little respect to the safety of passengers and despite numerous complaints they often feel the need to drive at top speed. It happens regularly that passengers get dizzy, but the driver doesn't mind and continues driving. If you suffer from car sickness, we strongly recommend you to bring your medicines and sit at the front seat or in the middle of the minivan.
Use the form below to find the best solution for your trip from Chiang Mai to Pai and book your tickets online now!
Taxi from Chiang Mai to Pai
If you don't have problems with your budget, you can hire a taxi to take you to Pai from Chiang Mai. However, we strongly recommend to agree the price of the trip with the driver before starting the journey to avoid misunderstandings or uncomfortable situations when paying the fare. Therefore, booking your taxi online is highly recommended as the price is set and paid in advance in your preferred currency. Taxi from Chiang Mai to Pai can be booked online here:
You can also hire a private transfer, this way you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes offered by the road from Chiang Mai to Pai, stopping whenever you want. Private transfer from Chiang Mai to Pai can be conveniently booked online here:
Chiang Mai to Pai by Motorbike
If you decide to take a motorbike, you can go to Pai on your own and drive on the road. The hilly trip to Pai is beautiful and the scenery is incredible so having your own transportation allows side adventures via natural scenery. Of course, you can see the surroundings from the minivan, but you will have more time to stop from time to time to enjoy the beautiful views.
There are many companies that rent motorbikes in Chiang Mai. The rental contract should include insurance that covers mechanical breakdowns. We are not recommending to do this route if you only have a minimum of experience riding motorcycles or have not experienced mountain routes.
You can also consider renting a one-way rental. This option is more expensive, but provides some flexibility. You can check Aya Service, which is the largest and the most famous company, renting motorcycles in Chiang Mai that accept returning them in Pai. They will take your luggage in one of the minibuses.
Be noted that there are regular police checks. If you don't have a driver's license or an international driver's license, you can expect a fine of 400-500 THB. Without an international driver's license, you will always be punishable by accident and not insured so don't risk it.
Pai Day Trip from Chiang Mai
If you are not willing to stay in Pai overnight but want to visit the town and its main attractions, you can make it by taking Pai Highlights Private One Day Trip From Chiang Mai.
On this private day trip from Chiang Mai to Pai, you will be picked up in the early morning and travel for a 3.5-hour drive to Pai. The trip includes visits to Pai town, Chinese Santichon Community, the Historical Bridge, Coffee in Love Cafe, the Buddhist Temple, and the waterfall.
Chiang Mai Airport to Pai
In case you are flying to Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and want to get to Pai directly from there, you can hire a private transfer from Chiang Mai Airport to Pai. One way transfer from the airport to the famous town of Mae Hong Son province can be booked online here: Private transfer from Chiang Mai Airport to Pai.