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Pai Canyon, Pai Overview

One of Thailand’s most picturesque and thrilling sites, the Pai Canyon merits a special visit. Located in northern Thailand, it is also known as Kong Lan. The gorgeous views and splendid surrounding scenery as one hikes along the narrow trails of the canyon is both warmly exciting and chillingly scary.

Pai Canyon is best known for hiking and catching the mesmerizing sights of a sunset. The canyon is a carved assortment with ledges and slabs jutting out in different directions. Some of the ledges are extremely narrow, some moderately wide. However, they rise above the trees with an approximate 30m cliff drop on either side. Nonetheless, the views from the Pai Canyon are one of the best in Thailand.

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Hiking at Pai Canyon

Hiking Trail Ledges in the Afternoon at Pai Canyon
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There are distinctly two levels of hiking at the Pai Canyon. A flight of stairs takes the visitors to the first level or first viewpoint. For those who are less adventurous, the first viewpoint here is sufficient for some great views of the sunset. However, for those looking to venture further, there are multiple ledges that spread out. This is the second level of hiking. But none of these ledges have railings or any other safety measures. Thus, it is highly advisable to hike across only those ledges that one is comfortable with.

There are no multiple walkways or trails. The different ledges have only a single pathway to walk on. Choose the ridge of the canyon to hike on according to your confidence level and at your own risk. Wearing comfortable shoes is recommended.

Hiking Trail Ledges at Pai Canyon
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Various viewpoints branch out along the ledges that can give fantastic and quieter views of the surrounding landscape.

The best time to hike is in the morning. Most hikers reach the canyon before 10 in the morning since the heat is quite manageable then. Since there is no shade from the sun along the hiking trails, mornings are the best time to hike. Evenings do get chilly, but the rocks still radiate out the heat.

Sunset at Pai Canyon

Sunset at Pai Canyon
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Watching the sunset at the Pai Canyon is the most popular attraction here. Most people view it from the first view after climbing up the stairs. But you can hike further to catch the sunset away from the crowds.

During the peak season from December to March the canyon is more crowded, and you might have to reach the spot early to watch the sunset. On the other hand, the offseason from March to May is not only less crowded, but also, the heat and smoke in the air give a more colourful and vivid sunset to watch.

Tips While Visiting the Pai Canyon

  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes. Even to reach the first viewpoint, one has to climb a flight of steps. Similarly, for those who want to hike ahead wearing comfortable closed shoes is ideal. At someplace, you might have to crawl or tread carefully, and hence shoes are a far better option than sandals.

  • Carry water and some snacks. There is a stall after the parking area where water and snacks are available. You can grab some of these before moving ahead. There is no shade, and with the sun and hike, water is important to carry.

  • The trails after the first level viewpoint have no railings or safeguards. The cliffs drop to more than 30m on either side. Hence hike very carefully.

  • Children and those who are scared of heights are advised not to hike further the first viewpoint. Similarly, hiking further on a rainy day is not recommended.

How to Reach the Pai Canyon

The Pai Canyon is located on Highway 1095 and is 8 km south of the Pai town situated in the Mae Hong Son Province. You can hire a scooter or a taxi to reach the Pai Canyon.

There is no public transport that goes to the canyon, but the canyon is easily accessible. It usually doesn’t take more than 3-4 hours hiking and enjoying the views at the Pai Canyon.

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