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Climbing up the White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) May 21, 2016

Climbing up the White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen)

GPS waypoint: 19°21'00.3"N 98°27'22.2"E Wat Phra That Mae Yen
Direction: from Pai town center, take the main street towards Chiang Mai, cross the bridge and look for signs to "Wat Phra That Mae Yen" on the left side, 2 kilometers

353 Steps
The White Buddha on the hill is an imposing presence from the Pai town center. It's a walkable distance, about 2 kilometers with a final 353 steps to the top. It can also be reached by motorized transport on a sealed road. The top area where the Buddha sits is a wide open tiled space to rest and watch the view. It is best to be there for the sunset as the Buddha faces the west.

Climbing up the White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen)
Wat Phra That Mae Yen

Ending Thoughts
The temple itself or the Buddha, given the countless Buddha offerings scattered across Thailand, isn't that spectacular. But when you combine the proximity of the White Buddha to main street, the challenging climb and the spectacular view and the chillout space on top, it's not one to be missed when you're in Pai.

--- TheLoneRider

Google Maps Pai, Thailand

hotels in Pai - hotel
  • Medio de Pai Boutique Hotel - swimming pool, central location, gym, free bicycle use
    227 Moo 4, Wiang Tai, A.Pai, Pai City - 19°21'26.6"N 98°26'24.7"E

tourist attractions in Pai tourist attractions

location markers

lots of these colorful lizards along the way view from the first landing point looking down on the steps stupas on the first landing plateau
halfway up is a temple adorned with Buddha statues the Beast guards the White Buddha more steps to the White Buddha ...and more steps
the White Buddha lords over the hilltop kids from the hill tribes also make it to the Buddha spectacular view of Pai and the surrounding area from the top a headstand for Buddha
handstand for Buddha the chillest lookout point in Pai the landing stage where a temple stands still under construction, the parts that will make the scales of the dragon leading up to the top

How to get to the White Buddha from Pai town center

  • from the main road, Mae Hong Son 4024, go south towards Chiang Mai. Pass the bridge and go through the winding road. The entrance is on your left. (1.9 kms, 30 mins by foot or 6 mins by motorcycle) White Buddha

Pai FYI / Tips

  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is clustered near the bus station. You're not too far away from anywhere in Pai
  • November through March is high season

How to Get to Pai from Chiang Mai

  1. Pai is one of the most common destination from Chiang Mai and they have developed a system around it. At the Arcade Bus station in Chiang Mai, there are vans leaving for Pai through these transport companies - Prempracha and Aviabooking (3 hours of winding road, B150). You will be dropped-off at the Pai bus station. It's walking distance to the hotels from there.

Things to do, Places to go in Pai

  1. Pai Canyon Pai Canyon (Kong Lan) - 8 km from Pai with nature walk and open lookout with panoramic view
  2. Wat Phra That Mae Yen White Buddha on the Hill (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) - 353 step leading up to the White Buddha on the hill, overlooking the valley below
  3. Land Split in Pai The Land Split - in 2008, the land cracked and opened 2 meters wide and 11 meter deep...the widening continues through the years. Donation-based to the farmer who makes hibiscus drinks. Along the way to Pembok Waterfall
  4. Pembok Waterfall - drive out to kilometer marker 93, you will find a sign that points you to Ban Pam Klang on your right. If you take that road & drive for 8 kilometers you’ll find Pam Bok Waterfall on you right hand side just before reaching Pam Bok village
  5. Tha Pai Hot Spring - 8 km from Pai in the Huai Nam Dang National Park, just 2 kilometers off Route 1095. Water temperature at 80° Celsius. B200 for foreigners. Best to use the private spas for B100
  6. Charn Chai Muay Thai Gym - located within the city, the place to learn Muay Thai, Thailand's national sport. 174 m.1 Chaisongkharm Road, Pai, Thailand 58130
  7. Mor Paeng Waterfall - 3-tier waterfall with chance to slide off rocks into the pool...but be very cautious as the 2 tiers are not doable
  8. Nam Yang Kung Fu - study Kung Fu and practise meditation in a retreat format

Pai Cost Index

(US$1 = Thai Baht 35.691 = Php 46.791 as of May 22, 2016)
  • B55 small bottle of Leo beer
  • B40 standard price for a soup noodle or rice topping dish
  • B40 hot coffee in a decent cafe
  • B200 one hour massage
  • B50 bicycle rental, 24 hours
  • B20-30 coin operated laundry
  • B150 van to Chiang Mai, 3 hours
  • B100 dorm room, shared toilet during low season
  • B10 one hour, internet cafe
  • B30 haircut
  • B14 1.5 liter drinking water
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Reader Comments:

Metz Diaz TaerMetz Diaz Taer
(May 23, 2016) Where's the sunset pic?

May 21, 2016

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