Off the Beaten Track – Northern Thailand Adventure

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…

Starting and finishing in the beautiful Mae Wang valley this tuk tuk adventure takes you on a journey through some of South East Asia’s most spectacular scenery, lets 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.

Tour highlights: 

  • 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’ 

Price breakdown

SUGGESTED ITINERARY:

DAY 01: ARRIVAL – DRIVER TRAINING AND TEMPLE BLESSING (LUNCH, DINNER) 

Starting with a 10h00 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 practicing driving your tuk tuk before tucking into a delicious buffet dinner of Northern Thai cuisine. 

Overnight at Khum Khun Wang Resort 

DAY 02: MORE TRAINING AND ELEPHANTS (BREAKFAST, 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 kilometers 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. Savor a satisfying dinner then rest up for tomorrow! 

Overnight at Khum Khun Wang Resort 

DAY 03: DOI INTHANON (BREAKFAST, 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 kilometers 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 realize 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’ 

DAY 04: TREKKING (BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER) 

Stretch your legs today by exploring Doi Inthanon National Park on foot. With the help of an expert guide, trek 8-9 kilometers 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 kilometers. It does include some inclines and declines. 

DAY 05: ON THE ROAD AGAIN (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 savor a cold drink on the river terrace while watching the sun go down. 

Overnight at River House Resort 

DAY 06: MORE BENDS AND MOUNTAINS (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 mesmerized by you driving a tuk tuk as you are of the scenery! 

Overnight at Fern Resort 

DAY 07: FREE DAY TO EXPLORE (BREAKFAST) 

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 

DAY 08: MOUNTAIN ROADS TO PAI (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 kilometers 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 

DAY 09: ENJOY PAI AND THE SURROUNDING AREA (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 delightful 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 

DAY 10: THE FINAL LEG (BREAKFAST, DINNER) 

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 

DAY 11: FAREWELL (BREAKFAST) 

Indulge in a little lie in then transfer back to Chiang Mai Gate Hotel via minivan arriving around 12h30. 


Price and Package Inclusions

TRAVEL PERIOD: 01 Nov 2018 - 28 Feb 2019
from R39’825 pps
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
TRAVEL PERIOD: 01 Mar 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
from R34’495 pps
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

Services excluded: 

  • International airfare to / from Thailand 
  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if required) 
  • 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 
  • Minimum age 7 years old (allowed to join as non-rider only)

Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability