How to get to the Kung Fu Retreat
You will need to arrive in Thailand, head for Chiang Mai, the capitol of the North, then on to the town of Pai.
I. To Thailand
The best way arrive in Thailand is to fly to Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is much nearer to the Kung Fu Retreat but Bangkok has more flights and is usually cheaper. There is an abundance of hotels, guest houses etc in Bangkok to suit all budgets, should you need to arrange an overnight stay. There are usually a lot of good deals available at www.ebookers.com and similar budget airfare sites. Otherwise, search individual airlines and check what deals they are offering.
II. To Chiang Mai
For flights, check www.bangkokair.com they should come in at 1000-2000 Baht each way and take about 1 hour 15 minutes. You could get an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok’s central station, Hua Lam Pong, for a little over 1000 Baht each way. Booking in advance is recommended.
Please be aware that trains in Thailand often run very late. The trains are very comfortable and afford great views of the Thai countryside. If you are on a very tight budget, you can go to Kao San Road in Bangkok and get an overnight coach for about 300 Baht or so. This is the least comfortable way to travel. We recommend the flight, especially if you have not spent much time in Thailand before.
III. To Pai
You have a choice between taking a minibus, taxi or flight.
Minibus – The minibus trip from Chiang Mai is about 150 Baht and has awesome views. It takes about three and a half hours, most of which is spent on amazing winding roads through mountains the like of which you have probably never seen before. The views are breathtaking and the journey is an adventure in itself so we recommend that you travel during daylight. We suggest taking a minibus with the provider Prempracha Transport: https://premprachatransports.com/ To get there from the airport, simply take a taxi with a meter or a Tuk Tuk to Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station. It should take 15 – 30 minutes depending on traffic and cost very little.
On Prempracha Transport website, you can book your seat in advanced and pick up your bus ticket once you arrive to the Bus Station. Once you arrive, if you didn’t book your seat in advanced, you will need to book on to the next available minibus.
Minibuses run between about 6.30 am and 5.30pm. If you arrive in Chiang Mai later than about 3.30pm you are likely to need to either stay overnight in Chiang Mai or get a taxi to the Kung Fu Retreat. If staying overnight, which is the cheapest option, we recommend that you still go to the Prempracha office when you arrive and book on to a minibus for the next day. Then look for a guesthouse. You should be able to get a nice room near the centre of Chiang Mai with fan for 400 – 500 Baht. If in doubt try looking on tripadvisor.
If there are no minibuses available through Prempracha, you could try getting a minibus with Aya Service: http://www.ayaservice.com/ Although, you can only get a seat with Aya Service in person.
Taxi – We can arrange for a taxi from Pai to come to the airport to meet you. Alternatively you could speak with drivers in the taxi rank outside the airport. Recently taxis have been charging about 4,200 Baht for the trip. This does vary and will likely be higher if late at night or in December / January. If we arrange a taxi for you we will need to pay in advance so please do not pay the driver otherwise he will think that he has just got the best tip of his life and likely take a week off! If you do want to give a tip, 100 – 250 Baht would be about right.
Flight – Wisdom Airlines has recently started providing flights from Chiang Mai to Pai for 1790 Baht per flight for 1 person. Currently, you can book tickets in person, online, through a booking agency or by phone. We suggest doing this in person or through a booking agency though as sometimes the website does not always work. Wisdom Airlines is the only carrier that flies from Chiang Mai to Pai. http://www.wisdomairways.com/
IV. Pai to the Kung Fu Retreat
When you first arrive in Pai the easiest way to get to us is simply to book a taxi. The taxis are a little way up the main street. Motorcycle is the cheapest taxi and should cost less than 100 Baht. For a minibus / car 200 – 250. Ask for Kung Fu or Kun Iain / Kun Pu. If in doubt, ask the driver to call 0864286739 for directions in Thai. Alternatively, hire a moped and ride to the Kung fu Retreat. It will take about 10 minutes.
Directions: Head out of town towards the airport / Mae Hong Son. On the far side of the airport turn right, parallel to the runway. We are the first turn on the left, about 400m down the road, on a sharp right hand bend. We have a prominent sign. A little way before our sign is a flashing orange sign signalling sharp bend / left hand turn.
Video showing the route from Pai to the Kung fu Retreat:
If you need help planning your journey, please contact us.