Choose your swing.

The Road To I Love U Pai Café, Thailand

There’s this famous mountain village in the Mae Hong Soon Province of northern Thailand, about three to four hours via bus from Chiang Mai. Travelers describe it as a bohemian paradise or hippie town. It’s a popular pitstop for backpackers doing the Mae Song Loop, a 600-km motorbiking journey that takes you through the most scenic routes of the Mae Hong Son province. Welcome to Pai.

Formerly known as The Container, I Love U Pai Cafe is one of the best spots to chill in Pai, Thailand.
One of the many spots in town with the permutation of “I love Pai”

Whether you’re just stopping by or staying a while, there are plenty of things to see and do in Pai, laid-back style. For starters, Walking Street in the center of Pai has an abundance of cafés, restaurants, boho bars, and shops while being close to untouched nature and temples.

One thing I noticed here is that there’s a lot of reverence for this quaint town. Most establishments are named after declarations of love, such as House of Love at Pai, Sweet Memories at Pai, The Moon at Pai, Lucky Pai, Coffee in Love, Love Strawberry Pai, I Love You Pai, and of course, I Love U Pai Café.

This cafe is located in Pai, a small town in Mae Hong Son Province near the Myanmar border.
Can you spot my sticker on the mailbox?


Choose your swing.

For the outdoorsy type, there are waterfalls, caves, and canyons that are best to reach by renting your own motorbike, which is what I did. In between, there are quirky accommodations and even more cafés begging to be Instagrammed.

One that stood out for me was I Love U Pai Café, formerly known as The Container @Pai. Overlooking the mountains and rice paddies, it’s located along the main road in Thung Yao, Pai. Like many of the sights in this area, it’s hard to miss.

The toilet that looks like an artsy bar

It’s like visiting your hippie grandma’s home.
Reception area

Resembling a container van house (hence, the former name) but with a more garden vibe, this two-floor open-air café has plenty of nooks for you to explore. At the cashier, a sign says, “Don’t touch the cat.” For crazy dog-cat ladies like myself, that’s an open invite to find the cat in question, which, during my visit, was taking a nap beside the red mailbox at the entrance. I did not dare touch her majesty.

The lush property is full of upcycled and artsy items, from handpainted trash bins to refurbished furniture. Vintage gadgets and potted plants are aplenty. Heck, even the toilet looks like an artsy dive-in bar from the outside.

Left: The sign about the cat
Right: The cat

Kate was here.
The menu

Pick your spot from the dozens of swings and tables where you can sip your choice of coffee, tea, or fruit juice for as long as you want before closing time at 5pm, just before sunset, as most travelers are already headed to the famous Pai Canyon by this time.

I Love U Pai is located at Thung Yao, Pai District, Mae Hong Son, Thailand. Open from 8am-5pm daily.