So you’ve heard about The Tuk Tuk Club and our fantastic adventures and are keen to explore Northern Thailand.
You’re looking to do something a little different on your next trip overseas and don’t want to be in a busy beach resort or a crowded city.
But, is a Tuk Tuk Adventure for you?
And a very sensible question to ask. After all, not every trip is right for everyone and you work incredibly hard to then enjoy time exploring and experiencing another part of the world and the last thing you want to do is to end up doing something that’s just not right for you.
And, to be honest, the last thing we’d want is that as well. All of the team at The Tuk Tuk Club are incredibly aware of just how precious everyone’s time travelling is – and if nothing else the COVID pandemic has made that even more relevant – and how important it is that every second of every day on your travels hit’s the spot.
We take our responsibility for your enjoyment very seriously (beneath the smiles and fun we like to have along the way) and our mission is to help all our travellers have the holiday of a lifetime and, hopefully, to fall in love with Northern Thailand like we all have.
As a team we’ve put our heads together to try and help you work out if a Tuk Tuk Adventure in Northern Thailand is the right holiday for you. We’d love to say ‘yes, it’s the best choice for anyone and everyone’ (and in our hearts we do believe this – we defy anyone not so smile when exploring the mountain backroads in a bright orange Tuk Tuk), we do recognise that everyone has different dreams and goals for their precious travel time.
First some simple questions to ask yourself – if you answer yes to even one of them then we’re pretty sure you’ll love a Tuk Tuk Adventure.
Then some longer answers for those of you who are still not sure
- Would you like to explore the most beautiful part of Thailand, and to do so in a unique and immersive way?
The mountains, the culture, the adventure – Northern Thailand really does have it all and to explore by Tuk Tuk is nothing if not unique and immersive!
- Are you keen to be part of the country whilst you’re travelling, rather than just heading from site to site with your camera out?
You simply can’t avoid being part of everything when you’re travelling by Tuk Tuk. There’s no barrier between you and the countryside, the people and the distinctive Northern Thailand vibe. Simply the best way to travel!
- Do you like a bit of adventure, but adventure delivered by professionals who want to make sure you have the best travel experience of your life?
We call all our trips adventures as they are adventures! But they aren’t the ‘hacking your way through the jungle, sleeping rough’ kind of adventures. They are adventures through the culture and atmosphere of Northern Thailand. And whilst we aren’t staying in 5* luxury, we see no reason why not to provide 5* service and that’s what our team of awesome guides and support crew deliver.
- Do you think it sounds fun to explore amazing mountain back roads by Tuk Tuk, rather than cut off from the world in a minivan?
There’s something very special about being able to sense absolutely everything as you explore a region like Northern Thailand. From the smells of cooking as you enter a village to the air high up in the mountains. Being open to the road just gives you that extra sense that all great travel journeys should have – and something that’s simply not possible to replicate by most other forms of transport. And we can guarantee that the smiles are much bigger when travelling by Tuk Tuk!
- Do you enjoy meeting people, exploring new places, trying new food and having lots of laughs long the way?
Our travellers tend to be warm, open and friendly people (isn’t everyone?!) all keen to experience and enjoy new things. The magic of The Tuk Tuk Club is the way in which all our travellers relax, smile, chat and enjoy life – and that’s matched by our team and the people we meet all along the route.
- Do you have a sense of humour – surely everyone does. And if so, then a Tuk Tuk Club Adventure may just be for everyone!
What’s life without a sense of humour after all. We defy anyone to take part in a Tuk Tuk Adventure without a trip full of laughs along the way. Even the most stressed / hard working executives soon have a grin on their faces when they’re with The Tuk Tuk Club.
What sort of person travels with The Tuk Tuk Club
Since we launched in 2017 we’ve been very lucky in welcoming a wide range of people of all ages and backgrounds from all over the world to our very special ‘club’. When we set up the business we did have an ‘idea’ of who we thought may choose to travel with us and we were right and wrong. Wrong in the way that our appeal seems to be have been much broader than we’d ever hoped for and that we have attracted travellers from every corner of the globe.
But, surely there must be a main ‘core’ of travellers who enjoy a Tuk Tuk Adventure?
You’d think so wouldn’t you but we have met everyone from early 20 year olds looking for something very different from the ‘party on the beach’ experience so may opt for to people in their 80’s determined to show everyone else that the 80’s are the new 20’s. And everything in between. We’ve had plenty of families travel with us, on both our ‘join in’ and private trips and we’ve even had company groups enjoying a very different sort of travel reward and telling us it’s the best ever company trip they’ve done (of course we’d agree with that).
We pick up travellers from the full range of places in Chiang Mai – from the swankest luxury hotels to the cheapest hostels on a regular basis.
So you can see that the appeal of a Tuk Tuk Adventure is rather broad.
What we have noticed, however, in this broad range of people with a thirst for something different, is a real and genuine desire to experience Northern Thailand. Not just to take photos and head off to the next destination but to really get under the skin of the region. To learn about the lives of the people we come across, to learn about the culture of the region, to get to know our guides who are such a part of our adventures and, of course, to throw themselves right into Northern Thailand. From our youngest traveller to our eldest, this theme has been consistent. The desire to really experience Thailand from the inside and to feel a part of the country.
Although the majority of our travellers come from English speaking countries – perhaps down to our marketing more than anything else – we have been lucky enough to be joined by intrepid adventurers from South America, from West Africa, throughout Europe and from China. And the characters have been the same – a desire to do something a little different, a little adventurous and to really experience this amazing part of the world.
An honourable mention must go to our first Chinese traveller who did a 5 day adventure with us. With no spoken English he arrived with a superb translation app meaning he could chat with not only our guides but also others on the trip and fast become a key part of the group he was with. The open adventurous spirit he travelled with was matched by the same spirit from his fellow travellers and all enjoyed sharing the stories of the day over a well earned cold beer in the evening.
But what’s the accommodation like? I do enjoy a good nights sleep!
A brilliant question that’s asked by many of our travellers before they join an adventure. And the good news is that we enjoy a good nights sleep to and aren’t keen on staying in a grotty guest house / hotel. Throughout our multi-day adventures we follow a simple policy as to how we choose our accommodation:
- Locally owned and staffed – making sure that not only do you get the flavour of where we’re staying but that our adventures directly benefit the communities / towns where we stay
- The vest best – subject to the above – accommodation in the area. This doesn’t always mean the most ‘stars’ but takes into account the ‘atmosphere’ of the accommodation and staff. There are many super fancy hotels around the world where the staff can seem scared to be themselves – that’s not what we’re looking for. We look for the best facilities in the area, the nicest staff (warmth and friendliness being the key factors), the best beds (we’ve even supplied ‘toppers’ to a couple of places to help soften the hard Thai mattresses!) and the best views.
- Room to park the Tuk Tuks – obviously!
Whilst we do stay in a mountain Hill Tribe village on our 3, 5 and 11 day adventures – so the accommodation there is best described as simple but clean, but 5* in terns of views and friendliness, everywhere we stay in 3* or above. There simply aren’t 5 star hotels in all our locations and probably never will be. But when we factor in all of the other elements such as the staff, the environment, the views etc we’d like to award a 5* to everywhere we stay.
Our 3 day adventure is however a little different with one night camping (not glamping!). But, even here we provide mattresses, super comfy blankets (keeping you warm in the mountains), pillows and access to a warm shower and ‘western’ style toilets. And the fun of sitting around the campfire with the local Karen villagers high in the mountains is worth one night in a tent surely!
Our motto with regards to accommodation on our adventures is that ‘no-one ever said an adventure has to be uncomfortable’ and that’s what we’ll always follow. The beds won’t always be a luxurious as The Four Seasons, the sheets won’t always be unique Egyptian cotton woven in a remote hideaway but they will be clean and suitable.
Unless you’re someone who ‘needs’ 5 star Western style luxury with a butler outside your room every night – and if you do, that’s no problem, up to you – then you’ll be absolutely fine with everywhere we stay. And, like most of our travellers you’ll end the adventure feeling you’ve got really close to the people and the community you’ve been spending time in thanks to the places we stay.
And, finally, on at least 4 nights of the trip our accommodation has fantastic swimming pools to enjoy – not something you can say for every adventure….
Am I too old / too young?
Another question we’re asked relatively frequently and one that we take great pleasure in answering.
No is the simple answer. Although we do have a minimum age requirement to drive – 18 – and for families we ask that no children under 5 come on the trip (it’s not fair to the little ones really) we are open to all ages. And don’t worry, our experience over the last 4 years has shown that all age groups seem to get on like a house on fire on our adventures. Perhaps it’s the power of the Tuk Tuk or perhaps it’s just the wonderful regions we’re exploring but the number of great friendships across generations we’ve seen develop on our adventures makes us certain that it’s no fluke.
I really don’t like organised tours
Another common question – showing to us that many of our travellers have adventurous and independent spirits – and one we understand totally. We can only imagine that there’s nothing worse than being herded from site to site and chivvied along to the next place just as you’re getting settled. But our adventures are very different. Yes, the majority of our adventures are open to all. We keep our groups small, the maximum on any trip is 15 but more commonly 12 people, and our staff to traveller ratio is always high.
But perhaps more importantly is to note that you’re amongst like minded travellers. People with a sense of adventure and a sense of humour (you have to be a little special to head off into the mountains by Tuk Tuk don’t you). You’re all in the same boat – we’ve not yet come across anyone who’d previously driven a Thai Tuk Tuk through the mountains so everyone is starting at the same point – there’s no-one showing off their prior skills!
And, a key point to note. When we’re on the road, you’re not all crammed together in a minivan or bus. You’re in a Tuk Tuk – either with your family, your friends or with another solo traveller – meaning that whilst this is a group adventure, much of your travelling time is also very personal and unique to you. The sense of space that travelling by Tuk Tuk gives you can’t be underestimated. And, when we stop (we never drive more than around 45-60 minutes without a break) you all get the opportunity to go ‘wow’ together and share experiences amongst the group. We’d love to say that this was all part of the plan but it’s actually been a very lucky by product of our obsession with Tuk Tuks
And if you are still 100% opposed to ‘organised tours’, then don’t give up on us. We run a number of private family and friends trips every year along the same routes as our standard trips (or even new bespoke routes). Just get in touch and we’ll start working with you to put the perfect private Tuk Tuk Adventure together.
Isn’t it really hot travelling by Tuk Tuk? Do they have air-conditioning?
Think of Thailand and we all think of hot sunshine and pretty humid conditions. And of course you’re not far wrong, compared to most places in the world Thailand is pretty warm – although it must be said that the North is much less humid that Bangkok and the beaches.
Yes, it can be hot at times travelling by Tuk Tuk but mainly only when you stop. When we’re on the road we do have air-conditioning – not the machine provided sort but natures breezes blowing through the Tuk Tuk. There’s no better way to keep cool and in fact the bigger challenge is, in the winter months, keeping warm in the mornings and late afternoons in the Tuk Tuks. But don’t worry, we provide lovely fluffy blankets for you if needed and a fleece of sweater will do an equally good job.
So, don’t let the worries of it being too hot put you off. Whilst we can’t turn down the temperature we think you’ll find it’s pretty much perfect weather your in the drivers seat of the comfortable back seats.
Do we get free time or are we always with the group?
Whilst our adventures are a great way of meeting and making new friends we don’t want anyone to ever feel pressured to do anything they don’t want to do. Whilst we include many meals on our trips – and in the Thai way meals are a sociable affair sharing a nice variety of dishes – our 11 Day Adventure does have a couple of free days and some evenings where dinner isn’t included. This is intentional to give our travellers time to do ‘something different’ if they wish. To head out on their own for dinner or to explore and even just to sit back and relax.
Whilst we’ve found that our groups tend to bond very quickly, we do think it’s important that all have this time without the ‘pressure’ of missing out on a group meal – after all, it might be a group adventure but it is ‘your’ holiday.
What about our guides? Are they going to drag us from place to place on set timetable and be really boring?
A worry for anyone who’s not a fan of organised group travel and an area where we hope we can put your mind at rest. Our guides – in fact our whole team – are hired not only for their professional skills but also their huge and very genuine passion for Northern Thailand, for Tuk Tuks and for people. They are all obsessed with helping travellers experience the very best of their country. They are all fanatical about looking after ever traveller. And, whilst it’s a cliché, they all think nothing of going the extra mile to make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime. Whether that’s hunting out the last can of tonic water in a small country town to arranging a traditional Thai massage after a busy day exploring. Remembering your favourite Thai dishes – and importantly your preferred spice levels – to giving you an extra hour Tuk Tuk training on Day 1 or Day 2.
We’re super proud of our guide team and in many ways they are the ‘X’ factor of our adventures. Warm hearted, full of energy, full of love for adventures and with huge lust for life. You really couldn’t wish for better travel companions to lead you on our adventures and may well end up making friends for life.
We hope that the above has given a better sense of whether a Tuk Tuk Club Adventure is right for you. We make no apologies about being so passionate about what we do. Simply put, we love helping people have the best travel experience in Thailand and that’s what gets us up every morning with a smile on our faces.
To sum things up, people who travel with The Tuk Tuk Club always seem to be:
- Friendly, adventurous and warm hearted people keen to experience Thailand at it’s best
- Open to new experiences and doing things a little differently
- Young at heart – no matter what the age says on the birth certificate we’ve yet to meet anyone who was ‘old’
- Real people who understand that Thailand is a real country, not a playground for travellers. Empathetic and friendly to people they meet, kind and generous in spirit to the team who look after them
- Full of humour – laughter, after the sound of a Tuk Tuk engine, is the most common sound on any Tuk Tuk Adventure. That’s the way it’s been since we launched and that’s the way we intend to keep it. After all, travel should be fun and full of smiles.
If this sounds like you then what are you waiting for, get your space booked for Northern Thailand’s greatest travel adventures here