Last updated: Nov 14, 2019


Overview | Motorbike | Van | Flight


How To Get From Pai to Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is northern Thailand’s largest city. It is well-known for it’s local foods, Thai culture and historical sites.  When visiting Chiang Mai be sure to check out the amazing night market for Thai cuisine, local fare and handmade souvenirs. Kao Soi noodles, also known as Chiang Mai noodles, are a favorite in this area and we recommend trying this dish while there.  You can also check out one of the many ethical elephant sanctuaries or make a trip into the mountains to meet the local long neck tribes of Chiang Mai.

There are 3 options to choose from when traveling from Pai to Chaing Mai; you can rent a motorbike and drive yourself in about 3.5 hours, hop on a van and relax for the 3 hour trip, or board a flight and arrive in just 1 hour. Prices start at 210 THB ($7.20) for this journey.

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Motorbike3.5 hoursdepends on the motorbike rentedCheck article for more info
Van3 hours210 THB ($7.20)Check van tickets
Flight1 hour1,800 THB ($59)No online tickets


View itinerary from Pai to Chiang Mai

Motorbike icon

Pai to Chiang Mai by Motorbike

Duration: 3.5 hours
Costs: depends on the type of bike rented

Renting a motorbike is the best way to enjoy the ride from Pai to Chiang Mai. The drive allows you to travel at your own pace and take in all the sights along the way.

The road, however, can be extremely dangerous as it has 762 hairpin turns which can be quite challenging if you are not an experienced driver.

Aya Service and Tony’s Big Bikes are the 2 most reputable motorbike rental shops in Chiang Mai. Both shops will give you clear directions to make it to your destination easily.

To see more information about these two companies, visit our page from Chiang Mai to Pai.

Important Things to Remember When Renting a Motorbike

  • You need an international or Thai driver’s license (motorbike category) to drive a motorbike in Thailand. Keep this document with you at all times as this can also serve as your ID at random checkpoints along the road.
  • Be sure to wear your helmet at all times, for safety purposes and to obey Thai laws.
  • Motorbikes have a full tank of fuel when you pick them up from the shops and you are required to return them with a full tank.
  • Be mindful of the fuel level throughout the journey, you don’t run out out in the middle of the mountains.
  • All vehicles larger than a motorbike have priority. This means you have to give way to buses, trucks, vans and cars along the road. Always stay on the left side of the road.
  • Always drive with care. Driving through the twists and turns can be exhilarating and fun, but be sure to tone down on the adrenaline and prioritize safety.


Bus icon

Pai to Chiang Mai by Van

Duration: 3 hours
Costs: 210 THB ($7.20)

Although there are several local buses in Pai, it is not easy to find a bus departing from Pai to Chiang Mai. We suggest taking a van for this 4-hour journey.

Government-regulated Prem Precha vans offer 11 trips daily starting at 07:00 until 17:00. Vans depart Pai every hour and the trip takes about 3 hours.

The journey costs 210 THB ($7.20) and you can book your ticket online. Booking online costs a little more but guarantees you a seat.

We have provided the schedules below for your reference:

Bus OperatorDepartureDurationCosts
Prem PrachaEvery hour from 7:00 to
3h210 THB ($7.20)

Prem Precha

  • Departs from the Pai Bus Station in the city center
  • Arrives at the Arcade Bus Station, 5km northeast of the Old City

Prem Precha is a well-known and trusted transport company for this route. However, some travelers complain that their drivers tend to drive too fast.

Book your van tickets online

Pai to Chiang Mai by Vans operated by local travel agencies

Vans operated by local travel agencies charge a higher fare per person, but include pick-up service from your hotel. Expect to pay approximately 185 THB ($6.50) to 200 THB ($7).

Tip: Due to the endless number of turns along this route many people suffer from motion sickness. We recommend taking an anti-motion sickness tablet before making this trip to prevent any queasiness. 



Pai to Chiang Mai by Flight

Duration: 1 hour
Costs: 1,800 THB ($59)

A new airline has just started offering one-way flights from Pai to Chiang Mai with flights starting at 1,800 THB ($59).

Kan Airlines was previously known to provide flights along this route but they have temporarily suspended their operations.

For more information, you can visit CNX P&P Travel Agency on Thapae Road, a few minutes walk from Tha Pae Gate or you can visit their official website.