The route from CHIANG MAI to PAI takes around THREE HOURS with hundreds of bends and turns through mountains, jungles and farmlands. Prempracha Transport is the only authorised transport company that services the Pai district.

Everybody Loves Pai

As one of the most popular tourist destination of Northern Thailand, most tourists visiting Chiang Mai will also go to Pai, the small town with its cool climate, relaxed atmosphere and picture-perfect views of jungle-green mountains and epic sunsets.

Pai is hidden in a secluded mountain valley of Mae Hong Son province, about 130 km northwest of Chiang Mai. The route with hundreds of bends and turns is a popular journey thanks to its impressive, mountainous scenery.

This page describes how to travel between Chiang Mai and Pai the quickest and the cheapest way, where you can buy ticket, and the time schedule.

Pai is a small, hippie town with a relaxed vibe about 130km from Chiang Mai, and most tourists visiting Chiang Mai also go to Pai.

One of Pai’s most extraordinary natural sight is its famous canyon located just a few kilometres outside the small town.

The route from Chiang Mai to Pai curves through a gorgeous green scenery with sleepy villages and lush, forested mountains.

Transport from Chiang Mai to Pai

To go from Chiang Mai to Pai, or from Pai to Chiang Mai, you can take the passenger van run by Prempracha Transport. In fact, Prempracha Transport is the only authorised transport company that services the Pai district. 

Each van can take up to 13 passengers and 1 driver. The ticket price is 150 Baht one-way. The trip takes around 3~4 hours and with a 15-minute break halfway. Travelling with big luggage? Don’t worry. passengers are permitted to check in 20kg bag plus 7kg hand luggage.

Time Table and Running Schedule

The van departs hourly every day. If you are taking the van from Chiang Mai to Pai, the first van leaves Chiang Mai at 6.30am and the last trip departs at 5.30pm. 

And for the van from Pai to Chiang Mai, the first van leaves Pai at 7.00am and the last trip departs at 5.00pm. Please report to the pick-up point 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. 

Timetable for departure time for the van leaving Chiang Mai to Pai.

Timetable for departure time for the van leaving Pai to Chiang Mai.

Where To Buy Ticket To Pai

There are two main ways to buy tickets for the van going to Pai from Chiang Mai, or vice versa. First, you can buy it directly at the bus station. 

In Chiang Mai, the bus station is located at Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal which is located around 3km to the east from the Chiang Mai Old City. The bus terminal is easily accesible by either a songthaew, taxi, or by GRAB. And in Pai, Pai Bus Station is located at the centre of Pai Walking Street, surrounded by many guesthouses and hostels.

You can buy the van ticket at the sales office located at Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal. Their ticket agent is called Avia Booking.

Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal (Platform No.13) is where you can find the van departing for, and arriving from Pai.

At Pai, you can buy the van ticket at the sales office at Pai Bus Station, located right at the centre of Pai Walking Street. 

Another way is to buy the ticket online through their official website here. They accept payment by Paypal, credit card, as well as over-the-counter payment at the 7-11 convenient stores. When booking is confirmed, you will receive an email bearing the ticket information. 

The good thing about buying ticket online is that when you have paid for the ticket already, you can check your ticket status anytime, or even postpone your travel date to another day through the booking website. 

When book online, remember to choose “Arcade CNX”. That is the code for Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal.

Have a look at the seating layout and choose the best seat for you at an additional charge of 10 Baht. 

A Few Tips and Talking Points

The trip takes around 3~4 hours through curvy mountain roads with over 700+ up and down bends and turns. So if you are highly susceptible to motion sickness, remember to choose the front seat of the car when booking your ticket.

Go to the bus station early so that you can load your luggage in the back of the van. Once the luggage compartment is full, any other bags will be stowed on the roof of the van. When raining it would get all wet. 

Ticket could be difficult to get (even possibly sold out) during the period of high travel season i.e November – February. So please plan ahead and book your ticket in advance if you are coming to Pai, or Chiang Mai, in these months. 

Some guesthouses and travel agents sell Prempracha Transport’s ticket to Pai too. It is safe to buy directly from them as long as a receipt is given, but do expect a marked-up price (200+ Baht) because they earn ticket commission.

Some third party booking sites like 12GoAsia and BusOnlineTicket sell ticket to Pai too. They accept payment by Paypal, and credit card. You may also buy bus tickets going to the other cities such as Chiang Rai, Bangkok, Pattaya, Khon Kaen, etc. (check availability here and book)

Get your ticket to Pai, and to many other cities of Thailand. (check availability and book)

When you’re in Pai don’t miss visiting Ban Rak Thai, located right at the border of Myanmar (2.5 hours from Pai):

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