Getting There: just off the 1095 South of Pai, easy to reach by motorbike or you can grab a Songtheow (Thai Taxi) from the center of town
Costs: transportation costs only, the canyon is free to enter
Additional Information: I’d recommend you wear decent shoes as traversing in Flip flops is not a good idea and make sure you bring plenty of water.
Pai Canyon is this stunning cliff side hike with 360 panoramic views over beautiful Northern Thailand. This is not a trek for the faint of heart as health and safety goes completely out the window!
When you first arrive at the parking area you’ll ascend a 100m long staircase to the viewing platform, this showcases a wide area of the canyon with views across the entire plateau. If you don’t feel like hiking you’ll be happy with the views from up here, grab a bench in the shade or head to the wooden viewing platform where you can marvel at the rock wall formations, geological mystery and an array of flora and fauna.
Once at the viewing deck you’ll see walkways leading around the canyon and some trails into the valley below. This is where health and safety disappears, as some of these trails are no more than 2ft wide with 30m drops on either side, so you need decent nerve as well as good balance.
This is a thrilling hike, there are small cliffside walkways testing your balance, sharp inclines where you’ll have to scramble up and unsettled declines where you’ll have to watch your footing carefully. It is thrilling, so much so it’s easy to forget to look up at the stunning surroundings that you find yourself in and marvel at the slightly ludicrous trek you have got yourself into.
The canyon leads around in a loop and is generally easy to follow, if you want to descend to the canyon floor you can. Once there you’ll get lost in a maze of walls, trees and half used paths. Some may say it’s best to stay to the top but there is no harm in exploring!
As this is a relatively tough hike you’re best off tackling it early in the morning or late in the afternoon and hanging around for sunset. I went with a group of 5 from my hostel at about 9-10 am and we pretty much had the entire canyon to ourselves, it does get dusty, hot and sweaty so it’s perfect to do in the morning on the way to the Secret Hot Springs to cool off.