Pai Secret Hot Springs: How to Find Them

Pai Secret Hot Springs: How to Find Them

In October 2015, my boyfriend took me on a birthday jaunt from Chiang Mai up to Pai, the delightful little hippy town in the mountains, surrounded by a fantastic landscape of waterfalls, canyons, and hot springs. It was totally amazing, mainly because for four blissful days, we were allowed to forget about bills, rent, and our unemployment, and pretend that we were travellers, like everybody else. On our third day, we decided that we wanted to visit the Pai hot springs to have a little chill-ax, however we found that there are two: the commonly known one, and Pai secret hot springs.

TripAdvisor reviews show that Pai Hot Springs, the closest and easiest-to-find option, is  ridiculously overpriced for Thailand, at a whopping 300 baht per person, and full of tourists. We had heard through the grapevine that there was another option, Pai secret hot springs, that were a lot cheaper and quieter (they’re not actually ‘secret’, as pretty much everyone knows about them, but finding them is an adventure all in itself). A search on Google revealed two frustratingly contradictory instructions for finding them, so I’ve opted to write my own nice and simple set of instructions.

The hot springs in question are actually called Sai Ngam hot springs, and will cost you 20 baht per person for entry, plus 20 baht for your scooter, that you will need to access this hidden gem.  Get on the 1095 road out of Pai, heading towards Mae Hong Son. It’s pretty hard to miss, it’s the massive main road. You’re going to drive along it for about 11km, it’s quite a nice road, with big bends and great scenery. About 5km out of Pai, you will cross a cement bridge, keep on going! About 5km later, you will cross another cement bridge, by which point you will be questioning if you’ve gone too far and if it’s actually worth it, but keep on trucking! As you climb the hill past the second bridge, you will eventually see a blue sign on your left for the hot springs. Take the next turning on the right, that has lots of different signs in Thai. You’ll know that it’s the right turning, as there is a little wooden hut just off the road, that belongs to the forestry commission, and that is where you pay your 20 baht ‘entry’ fee.

The payment hut

The hut owned by the forestry commission

This trip is not for the faint-hearted. If you are not confident riding a scooter, then this is not for you. The road is incredibly windy, and goes up and down like a rollercoaster. You’ll have to pick up speed in order to make it up the hills, whilst going round hairpin bends.

Follow this windy road for about 4km, and then on your left you will see this sign:

The entrance to the secret hot springs, Pai

Secret Hot Spring entrance

That’s it, you have found the secret hot springs! We arrived at about midday, and it was surprisingly busy, with some terrible Western ‘lads’ that were littering that made me incredibly angry, ashamed to be white, and ruined the experience a bit, but there you go! There will be some locals splashing around with their kids, and that’s lovely to see. The water was bath temperature, and the sun dapples in through the trees making it a very chilled experience. I recommend!

The secret hot springs

The secret hot springs revealed

So, good luck finding Pai secret hot springs. If you manage to find them, please let me know what you thought!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

8 Comments

  1. Hi, very good post! Made it very simple for me to find the hot springs (and totally worth the ride).
    I would just add to the article that the second bridge looks exactly the same as the first and once you see it is obvious that this is the correct bridge (on the way from 1st to 2nd bridge there were some parts that made me wonder maybe this is the 2nd bridge)
    Also I would add that after the 2nd bridge the sign is big and blue and cannon be missed (I was looking on some small signs along the road to see maybe this is the one that points to the springs).
    Also the bike ride is not that difficult in my opinion and I think everyone can do it 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi! Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad that you managed to find it, and thanks for the updates on signs. I am definitely sticking by my own opinion of the roads though, having lived in Thailand for so long and witnessing so many horrible traffic accidents! Also, a friend of mine who followed this article also came off his bike on that road, wrote off the bike and had to may about $700 for it, as well as giving himself the most horrendous road burn I’ve ever seen that made the rest of his trip to the islands pretty unenjoyable haha! So I’d rather warn people about it, better to be safe than sorry…

      Reply
  2. Hi Jessica,
    Thanks for this post!
    Is the hot spring accessible by car?

    Reply
    • Hi Ivana, I assume that you and Lucie are together 🙂 Sorry that I didn’t reply sooner: I’ve been on holiday myself!

      I can imagine it is indeed accessible by car, just be prepared for lots of gear changes if you have a manual! And be sure to take the hills and corners nice and slow. The fee for cars into the ‘park’ itself may be a little more if my memory serves correctly, but as there is a car fee, it’s obviously okay and safe for cars to go their too. Good luck, and let me know how you go!

      Reply
  3. Hey Jessica, is it possible to get there by car? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Lucie, I assume that you and Ivana are together 🙂 Sorry that I didn’t reply sooner: I’ve been on holiday myself!

      I can imagine it is indeed accessible by car, just be prepared for lots of gear changes if you have a manual! And be sure to take the hills and corners nice and slow. The fee for cars into the ‘park’ itself may be a little more if my memory serves correctly, but as there is a car fee, it’s obviously okay and safe for cars to go their too. Good luck, and let me know how you go!

      Reply
  4. How long u drive from pai to the hot spring?

    Reply
    • Hey Tahla, it was a while ago that I did the drive, but it probably took us under an hour, maybe closer to 45 minutes: driving safely of course!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Adventures
Visiting The Trophy of Augustus, La Turbie
Visiting The Trophy of Augustus, La Turbie

When you think of southern France, you picture tans, cocktails, and Champagne on the beach… but what about the culture...

The Best Green Spaces in Sydney
The Best Green Spaces in Sydney

Now the weather is improving it's the time to find the best open spaces in Sydney, and here is the...

Close