11-Day Northern Thailand Self-drive Tuk Tuk Adventure

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Tour type

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 11 Days

tour highlights

Tour highlight:

  • An amazing 11 days/10 nights guided adventure tour through Northern Thailand driving your very own Tuk Tuk!
  • 2 x experienced guides accompanying the group
  • Support vehicle for bags, spare parts etc.
  • Trekking in Doi Inthanon and Mae Hong Son
  • Time spent at an Elephant home leading the way in elephant / human interaction
  • 3-4* accommodation throughout (except on nights 3 and 4 for the Doi Inthanon trekking)
  • A unique and exciting opportunity for everyone with an adventurous spirit
  • a trip for people who still love 'travel'

tour details

From Doi Inthanon to Mae Sariang and Mae Hong Son to Pai explore the very best of northern Thailand by driving your very own tuk tuk! These iconic three-wheeled rickshaws offer a classic Thai experience but with a unique twist – instead of being driven around, you’re going to do the driving. Fully insured and meeting Diethelm’s high standards for quality and safety this is the ultimate Northern Thailand adventure! Don’t forget to bring your driving license from home and spend eleven fun-filled days on winding mountain roads, past towering forests and cascading waterfalls. This adventure is driving holiday like no other!

Starting with a 10:00hrs pickup from Chiang Mai Gate Hotel in Chiang Mai city, the experience begins by transferring to the tuk tuk training base in Mae Wang. Upon arrival, check into the night's accommodation, meet the rest of the group and enjoy lunch together before beginning driver training. After everyone is comfortable with the basics, head out on your first real drive to a local temple to receive a special blessing for the journey ahead. In the evening, spend more time practising driving your tuk tuk before tucking into a delicious buffet dinner of Northern Thai cuisine.

Overnight at Khum Khun Wang Resort

Meals included: Lunch
Dinner
After a filling breakfast, run through some additional driver training, expanding on the skills learned yesterday, and go over the plan for the trip. Drive in a convoy along quiet country roads for about 20 kilometres to a charming elephant home. Learn more about the significance of these incredible creatures in Thai culture and the work the home is doing to support ethical elephant treatment (no elephant rides here!) before getting to interact with them one on one. Help the mahouts (elephant trainers) with feeding time then walk the elephants to the local river for a lively bath.

After saying goodbye to your new animal friends, get in some more driving practice as you head back to base camp. Savour a satisfying dinner then rest up for tomorrow!

Overnight at Khum Khun Wang Resort

Meals included: Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Rise early and after a quick breakfast hit the road! In a convoy of tuk tuks with a lead guide vehicle in front and support vehicle in back, drive along rural roads toward Thailand's highest mountain, Doi Inthanon. While the first 20-30 kilometres of the route has gentle curves, as we get closer to Doi Inthanon National Park we'll come across some incredible naturally scenery, hairpin turns and remote Karen hilltribe villages. With frequent stops along the way to take in stunning views, explore different villages and taste-test some of Thailand's finest coffee, you'll soon realise not only how strong your trusty tuk tuk can be but also how novel it is for locals to see tuk tuks this high up - and with tourists driving!

After a simple northern Thai lunch at a local roadside snack hut, try driving to the top of Doi Inthanon - the tuk tuk can make it! - and then head to our homestay accommodation.

Overnight at Doi Inthanon 'Homestay'

Meals included: Breakfast
Dinner
Stretch your legs today by exploring Doi Inthanon National Park on foot. With the help of an expert guide, trek 8-9 kilometres through the forest on an exclusive trail to some of the park's greatest vistas and waterfalls. Enjoy lunch along the way and feel free to ask the guide any questions - they hold a wealth of knowledge on the area's nature, history, wildlife and people! After arriving back at the homestay in the afternoon, take some time to rest and relax before indulging in a Thai feast for dinner.

NOTE: This gentle trek is suitable for anyone who can walk 8-10 kilometres. It does include some inclines and declines.

Meals included: Breakfast
Today, it's time to get back on the road. Leave Doi Inthanon National Park and start driving toward Mae Sariang, a remote town close to the Thailand-Myanmar border. The route winds through sensational scenery and rural roads for the first part of the day before joining the main road for the last hour or two leading into Mae Sariang.

Get your cameras ready because there will be plenty of photo opportunities throughout the day as we drive through forests of towering trees, up steep hills and around sharp curves that offer awesome views. With frequent stops to simply enjoy the area - as well as to let the tuk tuk cool down and allow traffic to pass - arrive in Mae Sariang for the night in the late afternoon and check in to a lovely riverside room. Enjoy time to explore at your leisure on foot. Known for being home to a large community of Burmese Muslims, Mae Sariang is a unique town with an interesting mix of Thai and Burmese culture on display. Wander around then savour a cold drink on the river terrace while watching the sun go down.

Overnight at River House Resort

Meals included: Breakfast
The Mae Hong Son province is famous for its jungle-covered mountains and windy roads and today we'll drive on one of Thailand most incredible roads to reach the town of Mae Hong Son. As always, we'll make plenty of stops along the way to marvel at the scenery, take plenty of photos (today is a great day to have the GoPro out) and chat with locals who will be just as mesmerised by you driving a tuk tuk as you are of the scenery!

Overnight at Fern Resort

Meals included: Breakfast


Arrive at the accommodation in the mid-afternoon for plenty of time to unwind, take a dip in the pool and get cosy at the incredible bar set in the middle of the rice fields to watch the sunset - this is northern Thailand at its finest!
Spend today at your leisure to explore Mae Hong Son. Trek through the forest starting right from the resort grounds, lounge by the swimming pool, head into town (about 10-15 minutes by minivan) or simply recover from the night before. This is your day to relax and recharge.

Inclusions:
Optional trek - one of our team will accompany you

Overnight at Fern Resort

Meals included: Breakfast
After breakfast, get ready for a wild ride traversing hundreds of turns and some of the steepest roads of the journey as we make our way toward Pai. Today enjoy more incredible mountain views along with a stop in Soppong for a local lunch of Shan cuisine. In the afternoon, we'll make our descent into the charming Pai valley for the night. This rural town is a welcome retreat for all types of visitors who come to enjoy its laidback lifestyle, wide selection of local and international dining options, natural attractions and welcoming vibe. After getting into town, relax at Phu Pai Art Resort, a boutique hotel about five kilometres outside of town amongst the rice fields. Jump in the pool to wash away the day's driving then wander into town to see what's cooking.

Overnight at Phu Pai Art Resort

Meals included: Breakfast
Pai is the perfect place to unwind, so today we'll give the tuk tuks a rest and have the opportunity to explore at leisure. Discover the local caves, hot springs, waterfalls and temples, visit nearby villages, or sit back with a good book and sweeping views of the tranquil rice fields. Our guides are available to help arrange any activities - enjoy!

Overnight at Phu Pai Art Resort

Meals included: Breakfast
After an early breakfast, take the tuk tuk for one last spin, driving the final few hundred bends back toward Chiang Mai and the tuk tuk base camp. With plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way, we'll move at an easy pace and arrive in Mae Wang in the mid- to late afternoon. Freshen up and enjoy a final group dinner, swapping stories of our shared adventures and enjoying the last special moments with your tuk tuk.

Overnight at Khum Khun Wang Resort

Meals included: Breakfast
Dinner
Indulge in a little lie in then transfer back to Chiang Mai Gate Hotel via minivan arriving around 12:30hrs.

Meals included: Breakfast

includes

Services included:

  • Support vehicle
  • Minimum of 2 x guide staff accompanying the tour throughout
  • Tuk Tuk fuel included
  • Transfer from Chiang Mai Gate Hotel to Mae Wang (10:00am). Tuk Tuk training, Temple visit and blessing
  • Tuk Tuk training, visit to Mae Wang Elephant Home
  • Tuk Tuk convoy to Doi Inthanon (peak) and then to the 'homestay'.
  • National Park Entry fees
  • Day trek with trekking guide
  • Transfer from Doi Inthanon accommodation to Chiang Mai Gate Hotel arriving +/
  • 12:00
  • Twin / Triple Accommodation with breakfast as specified
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Service charges, Government taxes and 7% VAT

excludes

Services excluded:

  • International airfare to / from Thailand
  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if you require)
  • Travel to and from Chiang Mai Gate Hotel at the start and end of the trip
  • Optional tours
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as meals, drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Snacks / alcohol
  • Activities not listed in the itinerary
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme.

notes

  • This is a fully insured & legal experience

  • The Tuk Tuks themselves are registered as private vehicles (not taxi's) and have 'car' insurance.

  • All travellers who wish to drive a tuk tuk must have a driving license from their own country (manual gear) and ideally an International Driving Permit as well
    (particularly for those whose driving license is not in English).

  • Tuk Tuks are relatively simple to drive, however training and experience is also provided during the driver training session.

  • Training takes place on private land and not a public road

  • No traveller is allowed to drive a Tuk Tuk on a public road until the team are satisfied that they have the requisite skills to be able to do so safely and there is a check list that must be completed for each and every driver.

  • The tuk tuk driving is on quiet roads in the hills surrounding Chiang Mai and the excursion includes transport to/from Chiang Mai. There is no tuk tuk driving in Chiang Mai.

  • All trips are limited to never exceeding 50kmh.

  • Driving is done in convoy. This is managed by the lead Tuk Tuk always being driven by a staff member who therefore sets the speed of all, and the rear of the convoy is followed by a support vehicle meaning that all participants are, in effect, cocooned from other road users.

  • The maximum group size for each trip is 18 people total
Tour code: CNXTCANT11

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