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SAI NGAM HOT SPRING
What do you do when it’s around 33 degrees celsius outside? In Pai it is very normal that you visit the Sai Ngam Hot Spring! From the center of Pai (Walking Street) it’s about 40 minutes to drive to this warm tropical surprise. However, keep in mind that there are some pretty big hills that you have to drive up and down. Another thing to keep in mind are the rather high costs to be able to jump into the Sai Ngam Hot Spring. And because this natural hot spring is not only known and loved by tourists, but also by locals, it can be quite busy at the hot spring.
Go out as early as possible if you want the hot spring for yourself. At least try to be ahead of the tourist busses.
Route to the Sai Ngam Hot Spring
From Pai center the ride to the Sai Ngam Hot Spring takes about 40 minutes by scooter. Take Route 1095 to the north and Mae Hong Son. After about 12 kilometers on the 1095 you will see a blue sign on your right with Sai Ngam Hot Spring on it. Here you turn right and continue for a few kilometers. Then you arrive at a house with a barrier where you have to pay to enter the Pai Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. We paid 20 baht per person + 20 baht for our scooter. Now we are there we thought … that was not quite the case because what followed was an incredibly beautiful but also steep road towards the hot spring. One hill even steeper than the other and sometimes it seemed as if the horizon was disappearing. Especially with two persons on a scooter you have to take into account the speed you have to have when you have to ride up a steep hill again. That’s what we call driving in style… After about four kilometers we were finally at the parking lot of the hot spring where we could park our scooter for free.
With a 125cc scooter and two persons some hills are almost impossible to drive on. We saw several people that the co-driver had to step off/ jump to get on the hill. We had this problem ourselves at the first hill on the way up. That’s not nice, especially not with flip-flops! If you have little scooter experience this route can be quite a challenge. Make enough speed and rent a more powerful scooter of at least 150cc. Also take a wet road after rain into account, it can be slippery. But if you drive carefully it is doable.
At the Sai Ngam Hot Spring
When you arrive at the Sai Ngam Hot Spring you can buy some food and/or drinks at the restaurant and shop opposite the entrance before you pay your entrance fee. Next to the entrance there is a stall where you have to buy tickets before you can take a bath. You have to buy your tickets before you can take a bath. Only the entrance is 200 baht per person. So together we paid 460 baht. (and hadn’t felt a drop of hot water yet). In perspective, 2 days scooter rental in Pai costs 400 baht. Through a large sign we were also pointed out some obvious rules, such as no smoking and no alcohol at the hot spring. Also you are not allowed to do the laundry and not to argue. Just so you know! After hearing these rules we walked on and ended up at the hot spring where the changing rooms and toilets are. The locker rooms do their job but were quite primitive. What we noticed was that we didn’t smoke any unpleasant sulfur smell at all. Often this is the case with hot springs, a plus!
Also bring some extra clothing and a towel, if you don’t feel like driving around with wet swimwear. The surroundings of the hot spring are shady so your swimwear will not dry quickly.
The Sai Ngam Hot Spring
With a water temperature between 30 and 40 degrees, the Sai Ngam Hot Spring is really lovely to stay in. When we were there it started raining very hard, which made the difference between temperature above and underwater even bigger. A crazy experience! The area is lush and feels more like a forest than a jungle. You can relax here and enjoy the ambient sounds like birds, cicadas and other insects. We stayed at least three hours (partly due to the long downpour). Despite the hustle and bustle, the people here are quite calm except for a few playing children. It seems that everyone comes here mainly to relax. Except for the somewhat high price, we found Sai Ngam Hot Spring a nice experience and as far as we’re concerned it’s highly recommended if you’re in Pai.
DID YOU KNOW?
After your visit to the Sai Ngam Hot Spring you don’t have to drive back immediately but you can also choose to drive on. You’ll end up in a small “authentic” village Mae Na Toeng. Possibly nice to take some pictures. When you are ready you turn around again and take the same way back as you came.
Information Sai Ngam Hot Spring
Open: Daily from 08:00 to 18:00
Entrance fee: Per person 220 baht + additional cost of 20 baht for car and/or scooter.
Address: Sai Ngam Hot Spring, U-Mong, Tambon Mae Na Toeng, Amphoe Pai, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand
Route: From downtown Pai to the Sai Ngam Hot Spring