Northern Thailand has been bussed, cycled, trekked and moped’ed but has it ever been ‘Tuk Tuk’d’? Release your inner cab driver and join us on a trip that puts you in charge of Thailand’s most iconic form of transport. Well, apart from an elephant and that wouldn’t be right, would it. We can guarantee numb bums, shaky arms, ringing ears, huge amounts of fun, more than a touch of luxury and a travel story to bore your friends with for years…
Start and end in Chiang Mai, with this 11 day Tuk Tuk Adventure.
Included are accommodation, expert guides, meals, transport and lots of adventure.
Starting and finishing in the beautiful Mae Wang valley The Fast & Furious Trip takes you on a journey through some of South East Asia’s most spectacular scenery, we let you stay in some of the coolest small hotels in the region and brings you in touch with local communities like you’ve never known before. Ever rocked up to a market in your own Tuk Tuk? If not, you’ve never really seen Thai hospitality at it’s best.
Places You Will Visit
Our base camp in a stunning valley an hour outside Chiang Mai. This is where you’ll learn how to drive your Tuk Tuk, have a Temple blessing for the journey ahead and spend some time with elephants at a local elephant home.
Doi Inthanon National Park
Wind your way up tiny roads and through mountain communities before arriving at Thailand’s highest mountain at over 2,500m. The National Park is our base for two nights while we explore the area, find beautiful waterfalls and trek through the forest.
Surrounded by forests, mountains and rivers and inhabited by Shan and other Hill Tribe groups, Mae Sariang is a lovely small town with fascinating temples, friendly people and the perfect river to sit by having a cold beer.
Mae Hong Son
Forests, rice paddies, trekking and a mighty cool sunset bar the best location in Thailand, if not the world! If it was good enough for Brad and Angelina, then it’s certainly good enough for us.
Once the ultimate ‘travellers’ hideaway, now the location of your ultimate boutique hotel. Winding up and down mountains we arrive in the outskirts of Pai to spend a couple of nights in a fantastic small resort. Chill by the pool, explore local temples and forests or indulge your ‘hippy’ side and buy some tie-dye…
Day to day Itinerary
- Day 1: Pick up from Chiang Mai, transfer to Mae Wang. Tuk Tuk training and Temple blessing!
- Day 2: More Tuk Tuk training and visit to an elephant ‘home’ with the chance to walk with and bathe the elephants.
- Day 3: This is when real excitement begins: Driving your Tuk Tuk through mountain roads and passes to Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain at over 2,500m.
- Day 4: Trekking in National Park with stunning scenery and waterfalls.
- Day 5: Winding our way through rural lanes and roads and then over mountains to Mae Sariang. A stunning riverside town.
- Day 6: Journey through up and over more mountains and twisty roads to Mae Hong Son. Spend the evening in Thailand’s most beautiful bar (or chilling by the pool).
- Day 7: A free day to relax by the pool, explore local trekking trails (with your guide) or venture into Mae Hong Son village. It’s up to you.
- Day 8: More mountains, more great coffee shops and incredible vistas as we wind our way to Pai and our stunning hotel for the next two nights.
- Day 9: A free day to explore Pai, chill by the pool or explore temples, waterfalls and the local village.
- Day 10: We descend from the mountains back towards Chiang Mai city and then weave through small communities and villages on our way back to Mae Wang.
- Day 11: All good things come to an end. We’ll transfer you back to Chiang Mai city around mid-morning, f you can tear yourself away from your Tuk Tuk.
Honestly, the accommodation is fantastic and so it should be – there’s nothing better than having a great day out and about and then having somewhere really nice to relax and sleep. the accommodation is Twin shared and we’ve chosen the accommodation very carefully aiming to have a balance between high-quality places but with character and none of the ‘stuffiness’ one can get in 5* resorts. We’re travelling by Tuk Tuk after all! Location to us is vital – so each resort has fantastic views and, most importantly, brilliant places to sit and have sundowner or three.
Mae Wang – we stay at a really interesting old style house that’s been converted into a beautiful small hotel. We’re in the countryside so don’t expect Ritz style service but the staff are lovely, the rooms very pleasant and it’s a fantastic base for the Tuk Tuk training and getting to know each other in the group.
Doi Inthanon – this is the most basic of our accommodation but that’s more than made up for by it’s incredible location and where we start our trek. Rooms are simple huts on the edge of rice fields in the heart of the mountains. All rooms do have their own bathrooms but the accommodation is basic. Having said that, most of our time here is spent out and about exploring the forest and the incredible scenery and the base here is a fun place to be. This is the only place where there is no air-conditioning BUT it is much cooler here in the evenings and there are plenty of fans.
Mae Sariang – we’re back to 3-4* lovely accommodation from here on in. With a great Riverside location, this accommodation is a great place to rest and relax after the drive. Riverside beers, a riverside restaurant, great staff – it doesn’t get much better.
Mae Hong Son – another very special place to stay. Lovely ‘bungalows’ on the edge of the forest, surrounded by rice paddies and with the best mountain views (and the best sunset bar, ever). Streams run through the property, there’s a pool and a great restaurant. What more could you want and if it was good enough for Brad Pitt then we reckon it’s good enough for us (and if you’re very nice we might even let you know which room he stayed in, although as the sheets are cleaned very regularly we’re not sure there’s too much left of him there!)
Pai – a relatively new resort with a number of really nice ‘bungalows’ spread across the resort area. With a tiny village to one side, rice fields all around and mountain view, this is an awesome base for the two nights we’re here. There’s a great pool – right next to the rice paddies – and very pleasant restaurant.
Trip Frequently Asked Questions
Yes – as long as you’ve got a sense of adventure and flexibility, of course, you can. Also, you must have a valid driving license from their own country (manual not automatic).
You do have to agree to the Tuk Tuk behaviour rules – ie no drinking and driving (including ‘morning after’), the Tuk Tuk teams decision on whether someone is able to drive is always final (safety comes first) and that they agree to follow the rules of the convoy – ie speed limits, no overtaking, no dangerous driving etc.
Anyone who wants to see the ‘real’ Thailand from a different perspective and be amongst the first people to take part in this sort of travel in Thailand. NOTE: Other than nights 3 and 4 the accommodation is at a high 3* / 4 * level. Nights 3 and 4 are simple and ‘rustic’.
A sense of humour, casual relaxed clothing and some spending money (around GBP 250-300 will be fine).
Nights 3 and 4 in the National Park are in ‘rustic’ accommodation – taking advantage of the stunning surroundings. All other accommodation is of a very high standard (4*) with air-conditioning and even swimming pools (nights 6,7,8 and 9).
This trip is the perfect trip to join alone or with a friend. If you travel alone it’s the best way to make friends. You can share a Tuk Tuk and will ‘room’ with another solo traveller throughout the tour. If you travel with a friend you can share accommodation and a Tuk Tuk between you.
We will pick you up at 10:00 am at the HOTEL in Chiang Mai City. If you’re not staying there the night before your tour starts please make your own way to the hotel which is just on the South side of the old city walls. All details will be in the pre departure information provided upon booking.
We will transfer you back to the Hotel in Chiang Mai on the final day of your tour, arriving around 12:30 pm. If you are flying out of Chiang Mai on the same day, please don’t book flights leaving earlier than around 3-4pm. NOTE: If you require any special transfers (i.e. the day before, early morning) please do contact us as we may be able to arrange a separate transfer to Chiang Mai for a small additional cost.
Getting to Chiang Mai is very easy these days. If you’re travelling from overseas to join the tour then you can get connecting flights from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai – although do check which airport your flight is from. Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways use Suvannabhumi (BKK) which is the main international airport hub, most of the ‘low cost’ airlines such as Air Asia, Thai Lion air etc, use Don Muang airport (DMK) and you should always allow at least 2 hours to get between the two.Chiang Mai airport is located very centrally and it’s easy to get a taxi to anywhere in the city from there.If you’re already in Thailand you can head to Chiang Mai by plane – low-cost airlines fly the route many times a day and prices start at around 1,100THB one way – which takes around an hour.Alternatively the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a ‘classic’ journey and a very pleasant way to get up to the North. Overnight sleepers (2nd Class, air-conditioning) are less than 1,000THB and a fun way to feel part of the country!
The simple answer is yes! If you can drive a manual (stick shift) car then you won’t have any problems driving a Tuk Tuk. It takes a little bit of practice to get used to things – that’s what our training sessions are for – but they’re pretty simple beasts and a lot of fun. Just don’t think you’re Lewis Hamilton and try to take corners too fast……
Why wouldn’t you want to? But seriously, this is no problem at all. If you’re travelling with friends you can sit back and let them be your chauffeur or if you’re travelling solo, the others in your Tuk Tuk are going to love you as they’ll get more driving time. Of course, you can also take a seat with our lead Tuk Tuk which is driven by one of The Tuk Tuk Club team.
If you drive at home we honestly don’t think you’ll have a problem with the training course BUT, if you do, don’t worry. Our team will work with you throughout the trip until you feel confident and pass any elements of the training course you struggled with (they’ll give you extra training when we arrive in new locations and keep working with you as long as you want). Once you’ve passed the course then you’re up and away and will be able to drive on the tour.
One of the few things we can’t control! Weather patterns in Thailand seem to be changing quite a lot at the moment but as a rule of thumb, November through to February is lovely and cool with blue skies and very little rain. Expect day time temperatures of mid to high 20’s (sometimes a touch warmer) and evening temperatures of teen’s or, when we’re in the mountains, around 8-10C. March through to June / July gets quite hot and day time highs can be in the mid to high 30C’s (but don’t forget you’ve got the natural air-conditioning of the Tuk Tuk!) and evening temperatures of low to mid 20’s C. Don’t forget though that up in the mountains it always feels a bit cooler and there’s a lot less humidity up here than in Bangkok. From around July through to October it’s the rainy season – it’s still nice and warm (even hot!) – and you can expect some heavy rain from time to time. It’s rare that it rains all day however, far more common are very heavy downpours which then dry up incredibly quickly. All seasons are fun to travel in and offer different experiences – the weather is the weather so don’t let it put you off!
Thai food is awesome – at least 65,000,000 Thai’s think so – and you haven’t really had Thai food until you’ve eaten in Thailand and well away from the ‘tourist trail’. All the food that’s included in the trip is intentionally ordered to give a great introduction to Thai food and it isn’t as spicy as some may think (although you can of course add your own chillies if that’s your thing). Lunch stops are always in very ‘local’ areas but the food is always freshly prepared and cooked and probably far more healthy than most places around the world. Where food isn’t included in the evening our team will always be on hand to recommend the best places – be it a restaurant style meal you’re looking for or some fantastic ‘street food’.There are always options for vegetarian’s and please let us know in advance if you have any other dietary needs / preferences.
- Your Tuk Tuk (of course) and all the fuel required.
- Tuk Tuk driver training.
- A professional guide and a tour leader with you the whole way – knowledgeable, fun and passionate about Northern Thailand.
- Stunning, twin-share accommodation throughout the trip.
- Transfers to and from Chiang Mai city.
- A Temple blessing, elephant home experience and an awesome trek in Doi Inthanon National Park.
- Breakfast (11), lunches (3) and dinners (4).
- A support vehicle taking all your luggage, leaving you to focus on having fun.
- The best adventure you’ve ever had!
- Travel Insurance
- Airport Transfer
- Some meals