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Trekking the Ridges of Pai Canyon May 23, 2016

Trekking the Ridges of Pai Canyon

GPS waypoint: 19°18'16.7"N 98°27'10.6"E Pai Canyon
Location: Thung Yao, Pai, Mae Hong Son 58130 Thailand

Ridge System
Pai Canyon is an interesting geological formation - narrow rock ridges with a deep vertical drop forming an intricate web system which you can trek and explore. It's only 8 kms away from Pai town center and very accessible as it lies along the main highway - no need to go deep into the interior (unlike Pembok Waterfall).

Trekking the Ridges of Pai Canyon
walking along a intricate web of narrow ridges on Pai Canyon

Ending Thoughts
If it was just me, I would call it the Pai Ridge since you're trekking on the ridge, and not on the canyon below. I would recommend this as a must-experience when visiting Pai. It's stunning, unique, not too far from town, free, and accessible by motorbike. I went there on a bicycle! Best to wear hiking boots as the trail is loose is some areas.

--- TheLoneRider

the ridge system is stunning it took nerves on my part to get this close to the drop-off the ridge snakes through the landscape some descents are technical
chilling and wowed by the scennery across, you can see other ridges some ridges dive down steep descents some ridges are connected by a wooden bridge
some paths become obscure off-camber slopes more ridges on the horizon this is a fairly technical slope down to the bridge the bridge doesn't really inspire confidence
this is the best shade you can get from the trek two trekkers navigating themselves down a slope the ridges keeps continuing some paths drop down fast
other trails are on a steep grade looking down or up, you see more ridges nearly all trails are clearly defined other ridges offer a vertical drop
connection between ridges another sheer drop more trails feeling 'top of the world'
view of the trail system this picture is begging for a caption heading back looks more like a cliff
the country view in the background is equally pleasant looks like a roller coaster ride    

How to get to Pai Canyon from Pai town center

  • follow Highway 1095 going south towards Chiang Mai. After about 7 kms, keep on a lookout for a road sign. Pai Canyon is on the right side of the road (7.9 kms, 13 mins by motorcycle). Pai Canyon

  • Visiting Aida and Sofie in Pai Jan 3-5, 2021
  • Overnight in Pai with Mike Jan 1, 2019
  • Exploring Pai, Thailand May 19-24, 2016
  • Visiting the Land Split in Pai, Thailand May 23, 2016
  • Trekking the Ridges of Pai Canyon May 23, 2016
  • Climbing up the White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) May 21, 2016

  • Pai FYI / Tips

    • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is clustered near the bus station. You're not too far away from anywhere in Pai
    • November through March is high season
    • late December to early April is burning season (wide areas are burned to clear land for the planting season, but the air becomes heavily polluted)

    How to Get to Pai from Chiang Mai

    1. Pai is one of the most common destination from Chiang Mai and they have developed a system around it. At the Arcade Bus station in Chiang Mai (platform 13), there are vans leaving for Pai through these transport companies - Prempracha and Aviabooking (3 hours of winding road, B150). You will be dropped-off at the Pai bus station. It's walking distance to the hotels from there.
    2. Chiang Mai to Pai vans take hourly trips beginning 6:30 am to 5:30 pm
    3. Pai vans to Chiang Mai take hourly trips beginning 7:00 am to 5:00 pm

    Things to do, Places to go in Pai

    1. Pai Canyon Pai Canyon (Kong Lan) - 8 km from Pai with nature walk and open lookout with panoramic view
    2. Wat Phra That Mae Yen White Buddha on the Hill (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) - 353 step leading up to the White Buddha on the hill, overlooking the valley below
    3. Land Split in Pai The Land Split - in 2008, the land cracked and opened 2 meters wide and 11 meter deep...the widening continues through the years. Donation-based to the farmer who makes hibiscus drinks. Along the way to Pembok Waterfall
    4. Pembok Waterfall - drive out to kilometer marker 93, you will find a sign that points you to Ban Pam Klang on your right. If you take that road & drive for 8 kilometers you’ll find Pam Bok Waterfall on you right hand side just before reaching Pam Bok village
    5. Tha Pai Hot Spring - 8 km from Pai in the Huai Nam Dang National Park, just 2 kilometers off Route 1095. Water temperature at 80° Celsius. B200 for foreigners. Best to use the private spas for B100
    6. Charn Chai Muay Thai Gym - located within the city, the place to learn Muay Thai, Thailand's national sport. 174 m.1 Chaisongkharm Road, Pai, Thailand 58130
    7. Mor Paeng Waterfall - 3-tier waterfall with chance to slide off rocks into the pool...but be very cautious as the 2 tiers are not doable
    8. Nam Yang Kung Fu - study Kung Fu and practise meditation in a retreat format

    Pai Cost Index

    (US$1 = Thai Baht 35.691 = Php 46.791 as of May 22, 2016)
    • B55 small bottle of Leo beer
    • B40 standard price for a soup noodle or rice topping dish
    • B40 hot coffee in a decent cafe
    • B200 one hour massage
    • B50 bicycle rental, 24 hours
    • B20-30 coin operated laundry
    • B150 van to Chiang Mai, 3 hours
    • B100 dorm room, shared toilet during low season
    • B10 one hour, internet cafe
    • B30 haircut
    • B14 1.5 liter drinking water

    Travel Tips for Thailand

    How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

    This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.

      60-Day Thai Tourist Visa

      NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.

    1. Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
      a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
      b) flight booking to Thailand
      c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
      d) filled-in tourist visa form
      e) 2 passport pictures
      f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
      g) passport with at least 6 months validity
    2. After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
    3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

      30-Day Extension

      NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

    1. bring the following to the Immigration Office:
      a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
      b) Baht 1900
      c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
      d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
      e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
    2. submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
    3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
    4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
    5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
    Book Train Tickets in Thailand

    Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by

    General Travel Tips
    1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
    2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
    3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
    4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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    May 23, 2016

    »» next story: Visiting the Land Split in Pai, Thailand
    »» next Mountaineering story: Hiking Campuhan Ridge
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