Day 1: ARRIVAL, DRIVER TRAINING AND TEMPLE BLESSING
We’ll pick you up at 10:00am from the CHIANG MAI GATE HOTEL in Chiang Mai city and transfer you to our training base for the adventure ahead.
On arrival at our ‘base camp’ in Mae Wang at around 11:30 we’ll check you in to your accommodation, have lunch together and then begin your driver training. Once everyone has got to grips with the basics we’ll head on your first test drive to a local Temple where the journey ahead will be blessed!
In the evening it’s time to spend more time getting to know your Tuk Tuk and enjoying a great Thai feast for dinner.
Day 2: MORE TRAINING AND ELEPHANTS
After breakfast we’ll go through more driver training, building on what you learned yesterday, and run through all the nitty-gritty of the trip ahead.
Then it’s time to venture a little further afield with a test drive through small country roads to a fantastic elephant home that is leading the way in taking elephants away from a life of trekking and instead creating an environment where people can learn about and spend time with elephants on their terms, not ours!
We’ll head slowly in convoy for the 20km or so to the elephant home giving all the opportunity to get some ‘road time’ and confidence. On arrival the inspiration behind the home will talk about the history of the elephants, what he and his team are doing and then, after a great lunch at the home, it’s time to enjoy the company of these wonderful animals. You’ll be able to feed them, get to know them and then walk with them (no riding allowed!) to the local river where you’ll bathe with them.
In the late afternoon we’ll have more driving practice as we head back to the base camp for dinner and getting ready for an adventurous day tomorrow.
Day 3: AND WE’RE OFF – DOI INTHANON HERE WE COME
After an early breakfast we’re hitting the road and heading along small country roads towards Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon. Your guide will be in the lead Tuk Tuk and we’ll travel in convoy with the support vehicle at the rear. The first 20-30km of the route is simple with gentle curving roads but we soon hit stunning switch back bends, incredible scenery and tiny Karen hill tribe villages as we make our way towards the National Park.
Enjoy the look of complete surprise from everyone as they see Tuk Tuks this far up in the mountains – trust us, novelty doesn’t not even begin to cover it – and we’ll stop frequently to have a look at different villages / views and of course to sample some of the great coffee and snacks in small villages. Lunch will be in a roadside snack bar – real Northern Thai style.
If you’re feeling confident we can go up to the top of Doi Inthanon – your trusty Tuk Tuk can make it! – and around mid afternoon we’ll arrive at your accommodation for the next two nights.
Day 4: TREKKING
We’re giving the Tuk Tuks a well deserved rest today and exploring the National Park on foot. Accompanied by an expert trekking guide we’ll explore the stunning forest around the area on a trek of around 8-9km (but with some hills!) which takes in great vista’s and the obligatory waterfall.
Lunch is provided on the trek and your trekking guide is a mine of information on both the people and wildlife inhabiting the area all around you.
NOTE: This trek is suitable for all as long as you’re able to walk 8-10km. The pace is gentle but there are some up and downhill sections as you’d expect in the mountains. This isn’t a trek done by thousands each year – rather it’s been researched and developed just for The Tuk Tuk Club!
We’ll arrive back at the accommodation around mid – late afternoon, just in time to rest up, relax and then enjoy a great countryside Thai feast.
Day 5: ON THE ROAD AGAIN….
Time to get back on the road and today we head out of Doi Inthanon National Park towards our final destination of Mae Sariang, close to the Burmese / Myanmar border.
Our route winds through incredible scenery and some very quiet roads for the first section of the day and we then join the main road for the last hour or two into Mae Sariang. Towering trees, steep hills and more than a few sharp curves are the order of the day and we’ll, as always, take frequent stops to enjoy the area, let the Tuk Tuk cool down and to allow traffic to pass (and see all taking photos of you as yet again everyone is stunned by the site to Tuk Tuks up here).
We’ll arrive in Mae Sariang around mid-late afternoon and check into our superb riverside accommodation for the night.
Mae Sariang is well worth exploring with friendly people, a fascinating mix of Thai and Burmese culture (Mae Sariang is home to many Burmese Muslims) and some interesting temples. Alternatively, have a cold beer on the terrace over the river watching the sun go down!
Day 6: MORE BENDS AND MOUNTAINS
Mae Hong Son is our destination today and we’ll head up, over and around the mountains on one of Thailand’s most stunning roads to reach our accommodation. With plenty of stops to change drivers, go ‘wow’ at the scenery and chat to all and sundry wondering how on earth you’re driving a Tuk Tuk this is most definitely a day for your camera (and Go Pro!).
We’ll arrive at your accommodation around mid-afternoon giving you enough time to check in, have a quick swim in the resort’s lovely pool and to settle into the amazing sunset bar nestled right amongst the rice fields. Cold beer has never tasted so good!
Day 7: FREE DAY TO EXPLORE
A day off for your Tuk Tuks and some time to do as you please. There’s a fantastic 8km trek through the forest right from the resort grounds, a swimming pool to hang out by or you can head into Mae Hong Son town to explore (around 10-15 mins by minivan).
Re-charge your batteries, re-cover from the sunset bar last night or stretch your legs in the forest, it’s up to you.
Day 8: MOUNTAIN ROADS TO PAI
Pai, one of the most famous of all mountain towns in Thailand, is our destination today but before we get there we need to negotiate several hundred bends and some of the steepest roads on the trip. With great forest, incredible views and a stop in Soppong for lunch to try local Shan food this is a great day and towards mid / late afternoon we’ll drop down into the valley where Pai sits.
Your accommodation is 4-5km outside the town sitting amongst rice fields and great views wherever you look. There’s also a lovely swimming pool to relax, enjoy the stunning scenery and reflect on the incredible journey so far.
Day 9: ENJOY PAI AND THE SURROUNDING AREA
Another day to let the Tuk Tuks rest and give you the opportunity to do some exploring on your own. From caves and temples, to hanging out by the pool or exploring the local villages, our guides are on hand to help arrange all sorts of activities. Alternatively why not sit back and take in the great views from this fantastic resort (or lend a hand helping service and making sure your Tuk Tuk is in fine form for the final leg of the journey tomorrow!)
Day 10: THE FINAL LEG
Setting off in the early morning we negotiate the final few hundred bends as we drop back down towards Chiang Mai and then to our initial base camp of days 1 and 2. You’ll notice a huge change in the villages, people and temperature (!) as we head lower and lower and then through a number of small villages and towns on our route.
With plenty of opportunities to stop and explore we take today pretty easy and will arrive back in Mae Wang towards mid / late afternoon. Then it’s time to freshen up before we have a final group dinner, sharing the adventures of the last 10 days and enjoying your last moments with your very own Tuk Tuk.
Day 11: FAREWELL
After a lie in – it will have been a late night last night! – we’ll transfer back to Chiang Mai Gate Hotel arriving around 12:30pm. You are now a fully-fledged member of The Tuk Tuk Club!
11 days / 10 nights
|Tour type||Group tour|
|Your group size||Min 1, max 15|
|Duration||11 days / 10 nights|
|Food options||Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free|
Transportation. Tuk Tuks!, great accommodation. all activities listed in the itinerary, fantastic tour guides, water throughout the adventure, the most fun you've ever had in Thailand!
Some meals, soft drinks (other than water), alcoholic drinks, travel insurance
By it’s very nature this trip is an ‘adventure’ – when it’s hot….it’s hot and when it’s cold….it’s cold (and it does get cold in the mountains between November and February). And as with any trip of this nature there is some inherent risk which must be accepted by all travellers – without a small amount of risk there is no adventure! However, all routes and roads have been extensively researched (in Tuk Tuks of course), there is plenty of training and practice of driving before we hit the winding roads heading up into the mountains and your guides will always set a sensible pace for the conditions for each different day.
If you are planning to drive one of the Tuk Tuks it’s essential that you bring your home driving license with you and an International Driving Permit (IDP).
It's also essential that you have comprehensive travel insurance that will cover you for the adventure.
Finally, and most importantly, pack your sense of fun and adventure!