Exploring Northern Thailand by Tuk Tuk is not your ordinary kind of adventure and we're sure you have lots of questions before you decide if this is the right trip for you. Of course we hope the answer is YES, and you're exploring our site we're pretty sure you have an adventurous spirit and will love what The Tuk Tuk Club has to offer. But, just in case, listed below are a few of the most commonly asked questions put to us by intrepid Tuk Tuk Adventurers before they start their engines! And please don't be shy to get in touch with any other questions - just drop us a note on [email protected]!

The Tuk Tuks

Yes! Our Tuk Tuks are custom built with an extra foot (30cm) of leg and head room (so if you’ve been in a traditional Tuk Tuk think of ours as VIP Tuk Tuks – bigger, better and much more comfortable!). Anyone up to around just over 6 feet in height will be able to sit in the back with their legs stretched out comfortably. The seats also have extra padding to give you that extra comfort during the ride.
Our Tuk Tuks are custom built to comfortably fit 3 Adults at a time on our Multi day adventures. This includes the driver, so if you would like to book a Self-Drive trip you can have 3 of you in one Tuk Tuk, or if you book a Chauffeur trip there will be two of you with a member of our team driving. With children it depends on their size, but we generally imagine that 2 Kids will take up the space of 1 Adult. For 1 Day Adventures we also try to stick with that, but if you’d like to book for a larger party we can sometimes fit 3 Adults in the back (as it’s a much shorter and easier route for the Tuk Tuks).
We don’t hire out Tuk Tuks for you to explore the area on your own. Our trips are all carefully planned and researched to make sure you see and visit all the best parts of Northern Thailand using the safest routes possible. If you would prefer not to travel in a  group with others we can also offer private adventures following the same routes as our regular trips but with just you / your family / your friends!

The Adventure Itself

We try to follow the classic Mae Hong Son Loop, but using some smaller back roads for quite a few stretches making it an even quieter and more spectacular journey. The 11 Day Adventure heads through Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces in the North / North West of Thailand, our shorter adventures are all in Chiang Mai province.
Our favourite time of year to travel is July – October. This is the rainy season, but it rarely rains every day or even all day. The forest is usually in full growth and at its greenest during this period and the rice fields and terraces look spectacular. And if you’re a fan of waterfalls then get ready…..If you’re looking for cooler weather, join us between November and February. This is winter in Northern Thailand and temperatures usually range from 25-30 Degrees C and it can get much cooler at night (down to around 12C in some spots on the route!). The rest of the year is then fantastic for anyone looking to enjoy some tropical heat!

Perhaps surprisingly, very good! Most of the main loop we follow consists of ‘main’ roads between some of Northern Thailand’s most major towns and cities (though they are quiet most of the time) and as a result they are resurfaced every few years and kept in fairly good nick, with the exception of a stretch of road on Day 10 of our 11 Day Adventure which is a little bumpy and in need of some resurfacing!

When we stray from the main road the surfaces are still fairly good, you won’t see many potholes or gravelly stretches apart from when we park up at the elephant village.

We try to choose the best accommodation available in every location. Usually this means at least 3-4* with all the amenities you could need, but there are 2 nights in a basic hillside lodge on nights 3 and 4 of the 11 and 5 Day Adventures. All Accommodation has electricity, en suite facilities, air-conditioning (other than nights 3 and 4 where there are fans and air-conditioning isn’t needed – we’re pretty high up on these nights) and hot water. Everywhere also has wi-fi so you can keep in touch with people and post as many stunning photos as you want from the day’s adventure.
We can accommodate almost any dietary requirement you might have. There’s lots of options for Vegans and Vegetarians. Shellfish can be very easily avoided and for those with Gluten Free diets there shouldn’t be an issue either. If you have a more specific condition please get in touch so we can advise further!

More on The Adventure Itself

Our Multi Day Adventures have a maximum of 12 participants, and most trips wo end up fully booked. Usually, people book as a couple / two or more friends, but almost every trip we have does have at least one solo traveller on it (and of course all are welcome!). Our 5 and 11 Day Adventures both travel together for the first 4 Days, splitting off on the morning of Day 5. So while almost every trip starts with 12 people, on some occasions only half the group may be doing the full 11 Day Adventure.
No – very definitely not and any budding Lewis Hamilton’s will be disappointed! Our adventures are taken at a slow and gentle pace, so you can enjoy the scenery and local life. A member of our team always leads the convoy not only to make sure you don’t get lost but also to ensure we head at a suitable, gentle pace. Our absolute maximum speed is 50km/h (30mph) but in reality the average speed over the course of the adventure is much closer to 30km/h (20mph).
Thailand is very well connected these days and there’s free wi-fi in every hotel / accommodation we use and also in pretty much every coffee shop we stop at, restaurant we eat at etc so that you can ‘keep in touch’. And, depending on your mobile provider, there is a phone signal pretty much everywhere on the route – other than a couple short blackspots in a couple of areas. If you’d like to get a local SIM card there are usually excellent deals available to visitors through the main mobile companies – AIS and TRUE – both of which have stands in Bangkok and Chiang Mai airports making it very easy to sort out.
A very simple answer here – YES! Everywhere we stay does have free wi-fi and whilst the signal isn’t super strong it’s pretty much always fine for emails, social media, WhatsApp calls etc etc. From time to time services can go down – particularly when there’s a storm – but as a rule the wi-fi is usually pretty good.
First of all, don’t worry! If your Tuk Tuk starts having issues then signal your lead guide using your walkie-talkie or three toots of your horn and they’ll find a safe space for you to pull over, and with their vast experience with our Tuk Tuks they’ll try to diagnose the problem. Most fixes are fairly simple – these are great ‘old school’ engines – so you’re often back onto the road in no time. In the event that it is a bigger issue there’s always a solution, and in the absolute worst case we can tow the Tuk Tuk to the next mechanic (and we seem to know the best mechanics in the north) and we’ll squeeze into one of our other Tuk Tuks for the rest of the day!

Preparing For The Adventure

Something we’re asked a lot – unsurprisingly – and equally as surprisingly the answer is ‘not as many as you’d think’ and certainly a lot less than the islands and beach areas of Thailand. Whilst there are some mosquitoes in most areas around sunset, there aren’t too many and, if you cover up at sunset and use mosquito repellent (the local brands are very good and very cheap – and of course we have mossie spray in the Tuk Tuks) you shouldn’t get bitten too much, if at all. Of course some people are more tasty than others but as a rule, mosquitoes are not a big issue on our adventures.

We always recommend that our travellers bring Thai Baht cash with them on our adventures and the exact amount is in our detailed trip notes and our welcome mail. This is to cover mountain coffees, snacks, well earned evening drinks and, for the 11 Day Adventure, the handful of meals that aren’t included. There are ATMs available on most – but not all – days of the adventure but please do note that ATM’s in Thailand charge overseas bank cards at least 200 THB per withdrawal. Cards can be used in some locations but not all – and cash is pretty much always preferred.

This is very much up to you – we don’t head anywhere ‘fancy’ or ‘formal’ so please bring whatever clothes you’re comfortable in. Most of the time shorts / t-shirts are more than enough – it’s pretty warm year round – although in the winter (November – February) the evenings and mornings higher in the hills can be pretty cool and we recommend you bring a jumper / jacket / fleece and some trousers. Women do need to have knee length shorts – at least – when visiting Temples to be polite and also tops should not be too revealing! Trainers are perfect for most of the time on the adventures but you might also like to bring some flip flops / sandals for when you walk with the elephants (you cross a river / stream a few times) and for when you go bamboo rafting – they’re also great of course to keep your feet cool. You might like to bring a glove also during the hotter months – March – October – as some travellers find that their right hand (controlling the throttle) can get sweaty and slippy!

Most of the accommodation we use does have a fridge in the room but nights 3 and 4 (on the 11 and 5 Day Adventures) do not have a fridge in the room. However, if you have medication that needs to be kept cold etc you can use the fridge that the family who run where we stay have. Just ask your guide!

Well that’s what makes it an adventure! Our Tuk Tuks are custom built and designed to be able to deal with anything that comes our way. When it rains we have plastic covers that roll down the back and sides to try and keep you as dry as possible and of course the windscreen has a wiper so you can see the way ahead. The plastic covers can also protect against high speed winds, but they are not really an issue when on the road. If it happens to be especially hot then luckily the Tuk Tuks have a permanent roof, and their movement creates their own little breeze so you can stay cool at all times. Whatever happens, the show must go on!

Any Requirements?

Our Tuk Tuks are all automatic, so you just need a regular (automatic or manual) driving licence (for a car) and an international Driving Permit. How you get your IDP varies depending on where you live – in the UK you get them through the Post Office, in most other countries they are issued through the national Automobile Association. Please remember to bring the little grey booklet they give you, we can’t allow you to drive without it.
The only age limit we have is that you must be at least 5 years old to join one of our groups. For private groups though there is no minimum age. Please note – you do have to be 18 to drive in Thailand, so if you have younger teens that can drive back home that’s not necessarily the case here.
There is no fitness requirement for our adventures. As long as you’re ready to get out there and have a good time we’d love to meet you. It certainly helps to be a little active, but it’s no big deal if you’re not. The hike we do is mostly downhill and only around 6 km or so, and if that doesn’t suit you then it’s not compulsory either – you can relax in the mountain village soaking up the views and enjoying some mountain coffee instead!
We understand that every disability is different, and we try to accommodate everyone as best we can. Unfortunately though, the infrastructure of rural Northern Thailand doesn’t always allow for that and our trips would be very challenging or pretty much impossible for full time wheelchair users (much to our disappointment). If you have a disability and are concerned about whether you could join us, please do get in touch so we can discuss your needs and let you know if the trip will be OK for you.

Before And After The Trip

We do not include flights on our adventures. It’s simply outside the scope of what we can do currently. We can, however, help you find the right flights and gives suggestions about the best routings etc  to come and join us if you’d like.

All our multi day trips start and end at The Chiang Mai Gate Hotel (just on the edge of Chiang Mai Old Town). If you’re staying in Chiang Mai just for one night before joining us, or don’t mind the relatively simple amenities at The Chiang Mai Gate Hotel (the rooms are very pleasant – it’s just not a ‘destination’ / ‘resort’ style hotel – then we absolutely recommend staying here. It’s in a good location and the easiest possible place to meet our team. If you have a few days to spare though you may like to stay somewhere within the Old City walls, along the river or in the more modern Nimman district. There are hundreds of options in Chiang Mai and if you’d like some advice then do get in touch.

Other 'Bits and Bobs'

On most of our trips (11, 7, 5 and 1 Day) you’ll spend time with a lovely small family of elephants; seeing them close up, following them down to the river and watching them play in the river. This is the main wildlife moment on our adventures, but if you join us for a multi day adventure then you are quite likely to see some other stuff too. Northern Thailand is home to wide range of diverse bird species so if you keep your eyes peeled and look up you may see something interesting, gibbons can be heard from time to time with their howling from the canopy, and on some occasions you can even see colourful treesnakes hanging out on branches. There are of course herds of cattle / water buffalo to be seen everywhere too, and there are friendly dogs in almost every village as well.
Whilst we’re not doctors and as such can’t give out specific medical information (and would always suggest you consult your local doctor / clinic / well trusted website) you don’t actually have to have any jabs to travel to Thailand unless you’re travelling from a Yellow Fever area. Most doctors are likely to recommend that you make sure your Tetanus is up to date, and some will also recommend Hep A and Hep B vaccinations – others may also recommend Typhoid jabs but of course it’s totally up to you. Malaria can be an issue in some parts of Thailand, but nowhere that we visit and the best safety measure is to load up on repellent and cover up around sunset.
Frankly, it depends! There are currently 64 nations that are VISA exempt from Thailand. The UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland are all on this list. If you are coming from elsewhere please check with your local embassy or government website, or get in touch with us and we may be able to find out for you.
Everyone who travels with us must have travel insurance but the amount you are covered for is completely up to you. If you are driving your own Tuk Tuk then your insurance must cover you to do so. There are lots of companies that can do this depending on where you’re coming from, but one that will cover you no matter where you’re coming from is Global Rescue. If your insurance company requires more details (engine size, for example) please feel free to get in touch.
Our travelers are always surprised by just how much luggage we can carry on the adventures. As a rule we’d say a maximum of one suitcase / large soft bag per traveler and then one day bag is about right and in terms of weight, we’re fine up to 20-23kg’s, so pretty much around the standard airline allowance. And the choice between hard vs soft is totally up to you – no issues at all getting them into the Tuk Tuks. If it turns out you have overpacked a little then don’t worry, we can leave extra luggage in our local office while you head into the hills on Day 3 and then it can be picked up at the end of the adventure.
'This was one of the best, if not the best holiday, we have been on. It's very exciting travelling on the Tuk Tuks. We had a great group of like minded people too and there was a lot of laughter'
11 Day Adventurers

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