Waterfalls, canyons, rice fields, bridges, vistas, mountains, jungle, elephants – there’s a lot to see and do around Pai, Thailand.
Here are three attractions you can see in one afternoon. A fourth suggestion is for the well-known canyon for sunset.
The Land Split
One of the more unusual tourist attractions is something a local farmer calls, The Land Split.
In 2008, an earthquake caused a giant fissure in his land. The farmer says two more seismic events in 2009 and 2011 produced more splits along the first main line, and so geologists investigated, and they determined there is a fault line under the farm.
Tourists can visit this unusual earth formation – first you walk up to the top of the split, and then down inside the split.
I’ve felt a few earthquakes in my life, in Mexico, California, and even in Ohio. Luckily, nothing happened during our visit.
The path leads down through some banana trees and organic gardens, and then back to the main entrance. And while the split is interesting, I think the owner and his snacks are the best part of the place.
Entry is free; donations are accepted – it’s a pay-what-you-want kind of place. We made a 100 baht donation ($3.25), and we were treated to a snack banquet of goods grown by local farmers around Pai.
First, we had roselle juice, which is cold hibiscus tea. It was delicious! I’d never tasted this before, and it was something I would definitely have again. They also served banana chips, sweet potato chips, delicious hibiscus jam, tamarind chunks, peanuts, fresh mango and banana chunks.
The owner and his family were so nice. The world would be so much better off if everyone was this kind.
The Land Split is definitely a place worth stopping – especially if you are heading to the two other tourist attractions several kilometers further down the same road: the Pam Bok Waterfall and the Bamboo Bridge over rice fields.
Pam Bok Waterfall near Pai
Keep going on the same road as The Land Split, and follow the signs for the Pam Bok Waterfall. The waterfall is close to the road, so it’s really easy to get to – no big hiking like some of the other waterfalls around Pai. It’s free to visit.
There are pools at each level of waterfall, that would tempt anyone to cool off in on a hot day. The rainy season started late this year, and so during our visit, there was a good amount of water flow, finally. Visitors earlier this summer (2019) have complained Pam Bok was dry, and so the pools were gross and unflushed.
Bamboo Bridge near Pai
Keep going up the road from Pam Bok and follow the signs for The Bamboo Bridge. The road becomes more steep, more curvy, more ragged, but that’s part of country charm, no?
This bridge and the fields around it were cool things to see. I can imagine how much more visual it would have been during growing season. Almost all of the rice patties in late July were filled with water and weeds instead of green or yellow rice plants.
The picture on the rights shows how much more colorful the fields are when the rice is planted. The planting season was late in 2019. Harvesting is usually November through January.
Some online reviews put the bridge at .3 mile long, others say it’s a half-mile long. I didn’t ask for clarification while we were there, but either way, it’s an impressively long, bouncy bamboo bridge over pretty scenery – even when it’s not growing season.
Earth: The main tourist attraction around Pai
All three of these tourist destinations outside the town of Pai are on a road that starts off with homes and a few businesses, and then the population thins out to fields and beautiful views the further you go.
As of this writing – there is no official name to the road where these three attractions are located. But I made a Google map for you, starting at the Walking Street. It’s right here.
We rented a scooter from the business ‘Aya’ in town for 120 baht a day – that’s just $3.89. A day. (We got a discount from 140 a day because we rented it for more than a week.)
Three well-known attractions, and yet the road doesn’t have an official name. That’s awesome, and part of what makes Pai special. That, and there aren’t any tourist stands clogging up these attractions. Sure, there are plenty of shops and souvenir stands in town, but you can still find beautiful countryside filled with people who make a living on something other than tourist trinkets and snacks.
Check out Pai Canyon for sunset views that are gorgeous. There are plenty of places to tuck yourself away from the crowds to watch the sun go down. Just note that the canyon is the most popular spot for sunset – so you won’t find perfect solitude.
We visited the canyon one day a few hours before sunset, and I liked it more – with fewer people around.
Out in Pai, Earth and elephants are the main attractions, and I love that.
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