Northern Thailand Self-drive Tuk Tuk: Group Adventure

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day tour

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: All day

tour highlights

  • Tuk Tuk driving training
  • A real rural drive your Tuk Tuk through farming villages and hamlets
  • A visit to a local elephant home where no giants riding is allowed
  • Lunch with elephants
  • Bamboo rafting along the local river

tour details

Get behind the wheel of 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 then explore the rural outskirts of Chiang Mai, bathe with local elephants, savour a traditional Thai lunch, float down the river on a bamboo raft, and ride around some more as you discover northern Thailand the way few foreigners ever had.

tour description

7:45 Meet the rest of the day's group at the Chiang Mai Gate Hotel at 07:45, or get picked up from your hotel between 08:00 - 08:30 and transfer by minivan to our base for the day in the Mae Wang valley. (Please note that hotel pick-up can only be provided for hotels inside the Chiang Mai 'middle ring road'.)

9:30 (Approx.) Upon arrival in Mae Wang, our team will introduce you to your tuk tuk for the day and begin driving training. If you don't want to drive a tuk tuk yourself, don't worry, there's also the option to enjoy the scenery - and a nice breeze - by simply riding in the back.

NOTE: All drivers must be 18 or older and hold a valid manual driving license from their home country.

10:30 (Approx.) Once everyone has mastered the art of driving, begin the journey driving along rural roads, snaking through farming villages and passing traditional temples. A guide will lead the group making sure that you don't get lost and making frequent stops along the way to further explore the charms of northern Thailand.

11:30 (Approx.) In the late morning, arrive at an elephant home to learn more about the significance of these incredible creatures in Thai culture as well as interact with them one on one. After being introduced to these gentle giants, help the mahouts (elephant trainers) with feeding time before sitting down to a Thai feast yourself right next to your new animal friends.

13:00 (Approx.) After lunch, walk with the mahouts and their elephants through the local countryside to the river to help bathe the elephants - get read for some photos opps!

NOTE: No elephant riding is allowed.

15:00 (Approx.) It's hard to say good-bye to the elephants, but there's even more fun to be had. After leaving the elephant camp we'll trade the tuk tuks in for bamboo rafts to float lazily down the river. While you won't find any rapids here, you will get to see a different side of the local surroundings while manoeuvring the river's twists and turns.

16:00 (Approx.) After rafting, it's time to jump back into your tuk tuk and wind your way back through the valley enjoying your last moments behind the wheel. As the road curves and sweeps gently down the hill, be sure to have your camera out to catch the surprised look of local villagers when they see you driving your very own tuk tuk!

16:45 (Approx.) Upon reaching the tuk tuk headquarters, transfer back to Chiang Mai via minivan.

18:00 (Approx.) Arrive back in Chiang Mai city at your initial pick-up point.

Meals included: Lunch at the elephant home

Note: The minimum age for travellers on this day trip is 7 years old.



  • Transfers to and from Chiang Mai city
  • 7:45 at the meeting point (Chiang Mai Gate Hotel) or between 8:00
  • 8:30 from your city centre hotel
  • A tuk tuk (up to 3 travellers per vehicle)
  • Tuk tuk driving training
  • A visit to a local elephant home
  • Lunch at the elephant home
  • Bamboo rafting along the local river
  • Water throughout the day
  • Passionate and professional tour guides looking after you every step of the way


  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditures, such as meals, drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities, etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals


  • 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

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