It is often said that Pai Canyon is Asia’s answer to the Grand Canyon (though it looks more like the Red Rock Canyon) and well though I have never seen the latter but I have to say that the one here in Pai is definitely a “MUST-VISIT” attraction and one of the best around Pai.
It won’t be unfair to call it the most impressive attraction of Pai and you have to see it to believe it. Known as Kong Lan in Thai, the canyon is located 8 km outside Pai on the road to Chiang Mai, on route 1095 not too far from the World War II Memorial Bridge. The canyon can be easily located as the entrance is right off the main road. You can drive a motorbike or moped to the canyon or take a tuktuk if you aren’t feeling like the extra physical exercise. You also want to be wearing proper shoes for the canyon as the temptation of walking around the canyon is too high to pass.
The entrance is free and I guess it is open all the time as I did’t really see any barriers. This is also a great spot for watching the sunset and the sunrise, in fact, one of the best spots ever in Northern Thailand.
I personally suggest it is a good idea to start early in the morning so you have the place all to yourself and it is also a good time if you are up for some fantastic hiking opportunities. The later you go in the day, the hotter it may get.
The landscape around the canyon is breathtaking and it is amazing how nature has carved the canyon to give you a 360 degree view of the whole area. You can literally walk around the canyon in a full circle. There are of course wooden platforms where you can sit and relax but the best spot to take in the beauty of this natural wonder are the many edges of the canyon, but be careful if you kids along with you as some of the rocks are a bit slippery at times. The canyon is almost 30 metres deep and the spectacular geographical features of the canyon have been formed as a result of erosion which have been taking place over decades. The narrow walkways formed around the canyon almost look as if they are man-made.
A walk around the canyon is not for the faint-hearted and gets quite dangerous every now and then, but if you are up for the thrill, the best way to see the whole area is to trek. Although be aware that there are no rails to hold on to even at the areas which are really narrow and dangerous and it is 30 meters deep either side of the trail so you do it at your own risk. Keep your head calm when you decide to do the trail. It can take up to a couple of hours to finish the whole walk.
DO NOT forget to bring along your camera as this is one of the best photo opportunities that you will get around the town.
The canyon is located 8 km outside Pai on the road to Chiang Mai, on route 1095 not too far from the World War II Memorial Bridge. The canyon can be easily located as the entrance is right off the main road. You can drive a motorbike or moped to the canyon or take a tuktuk if you aren't feeling like the extra physical exercise.