Monday, 22 October 2007

Relaxing in Pai

Tha Pai hot springs are found close to Pai district town in Mae Hong Son province in the northwestern tip of Thailand.

I and my family visited the area in 2006, Pai is a great place to hang around, very rural but with plenty to do, great (and affordable) accommodation, good restaurants.

One way of passing time is going to the Tha Pai hot springs, just about 10 km out of town just off the road to Chiang Mai, but still within the Pai valley. From other sites I've included a couple of photo's just to let you know what it looks like.

There are apparently not that many facilities and bathing is restricted to easing one into a shallow stream. That catch though is that it costs 400 THB (more than 10 $US) for the privilege of viewing this, way too steep.

That fact has made quite some noise. There's even a site (Help Save Pai Hot Springs) up solely to protest the raise in fees for foreigners. Take a look at it for extra information on the springs and how you might be assist in changing this. More comments on this can be found on a forum here.

There is an alternative. One of these is to use the pools at Tha Pai Spa, see the link below. Ourselves, we went on an elephant tour nearby after which we could enjoy the waters in a private setting, not very exclusive though! Like the tiles:

Some links:
  • Commercial site: Discovery Thailand
  • Guesthouse accommodation with their own source to the hot springs, Tha Pai Spa Camping. It has a variety of styles of accommodation, huts, villas, rooms and dormitory. When I visited there it was in need of some refurbishment, following a devastating flood earlier that year. Though I believe they have now some great villa's which have private soaking facilities on the riverside! If you just want to use the springs it's 50 THB.
More info on hot springs in the Pai area, taken from the Thai language publication Trips (July 2007, issue no.129). It's their original script, not mine!
'Mueang Paeng Hot Spring
35 kms from Pai Muang Paeng is a little bit far from the town, but its wonder always attracts tourists to come visit. From Pai, take the highway 1095 at km 85-86 and take a right turn onto the the highway no.1265 at km 24, cross Muang Paeng Bridge and turn left for another 2 kms, at the end is the hot spring.
The hot spring is made of a geyser with currents at the temperature as high as 95 degrees Celsius. Tourists should watch their steps for safety. In winter villagers will come out for the warmth from this natural fireplace as it is in the heart of the fields.

Pong Pa Hot spring

Location: Mooban Na Chalong, 7 kms away from Pai. This hot spring is just a huge flat land with some water covered with white fog lines. You will see the original lifestyle of the Pai locals from the moments you enter the village. After a visit to Pong Pa Hot Spring, you may also walk along to enjoy Pai river’s mudding for beauty. If you don’t want to go back the same way, you may take raft to admire both sides of the river, making this visit not just for a hot spring'.

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