The Valley Of Mae Wang

'The world’s best driving holiday‘, ‘full beam exotic Asia‘ and ‘a journey into a nation’s soul‘ The Sunday Times

1 Day Tuk Tuk Tour of Northern Thailand

Just an hour outside of the ancient city walls of Chiang Mai, you’ll visit rural communities and temples to get a glimpse of true Northern Thailand. You’ll learn about the future of Thailand’s elephants at a fantastic small elephant home, float gently downriver on a bamboo raft and travel remote country roads in your very own bright orange Tuk Tuk. So if you’re looking for to get out of the city and off the beaten track… look no further.

What do you get?

  • Chiang Mai city pick up and drop off at the start and end of the day
  • Your own driver and Tuk Tuk to travel the stunning rural lanes of Chiang Mai
  • Learning about, feeding and bathing elephants
  • Bamboo rafting
  • A hearty Thai lunch
  • Drinking water throughout the day
  • An experienced local tour guide

Available Dates

Our 1 Day Adventure runs every day of the year but spaces fill up quickly so make sure you don’t miss out by booking now

£105 Per Person (18+)
£55 Per Person (ages 5-17)

Where you'll go

Mae Wang

Our base camp is in a stunning valley about an hour from Chiang Mai. This is where you’ll head out in your Tuk Tuk, raft down the river, and spend some time with elephants at a local home.

Temples and Villages

Our first stop is the imposing and very remote Temple of Wat Doi Sapanyoo. With a truly stunning pagoda on the top of a hill (giving incredible 360 degree views) and a towering Buddha, this is an incredible place to visit that few foreign travellers ever get to see. And if local legends are to be believed, it contains holy relics from Buddha himself. We then pass through numerous small farming communities as we wind our way through the fields. Well and truly off the tourist trail, these are villages going about their business as they have for generations and giving you a glimpse into how life is for regular rural folk in Northern Thailand. One thing you’ll notice is that they are hugely welcoming, and they don’t get to see to many foreign travellers around these parts, so don’t be surprised to see whole families rushing out to say hello and talk about the convoy of bright orange Tuk Tuks passing through – it’s the kind of experience that put Thailand on the travel map all those years ago.

Mae Sapok

Located in a stunning small valley with rice terraces, palm trees, water buffalo… this is a classic South East Asian ‘paradise’. We hike for around 10 minutes through the forest to a beautiful waterfall (bring your swimmers because this is a great opportunity to cool down) and then head back along the valley stopping to meet the Karen community of Mae Sapok Nua. This small community offer you a chance too get a genuinely unique insight into real life in the mountains and a rare opportunity to see how Karen communities live.

Elephants

A real favourite with our travellers, this small elephant home has led the way in taking their elephant out of the riding industry and instead provides a relaxed and comfortable life where they’re treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. You’ll learn about the history of the home and their elephants, help the mahouts feed them and then head out on a walk through the countryside together. The end of the walk is at the local river where you’ll help the mahouts bathe them, and watch them play around in the water. It’s a great experience that’s helping to ensure a sustainable future for the elephants, and the community who have lived with them for generations.

Rafting

Climb aboard a bamboo raft and enjoy the local scenery from a different perspective. Expertly steered by the guys from a nearby village, all you need to do is sit back, relax and watch the world go by as the river winds it’s way through the local countryside. You will get wet (but don’t worry - there are no huge rapids!) but it’s a lovely way of keeping cool in the heat of the afternoon.

Itinerary

08.00 - Chiang Mai Gate Hotel Pick Up
The day starts with our team picking you up from your hotel / guest house in Chiang Mai city to get the adventure started. Once you let us know where you are staying we’ll be able to confirm the pick up time for you. You will transfer by private vehicle to the Tuk Tuk base around 45-60 minutes South West of the city in the beautiful district of Mae Wang.
09:30 - Arrive at Mae Wang
On arrival in Mae Wang, our team will introduce you to your Tuk Tuk and your driver. Then it’s time to take in the scenery and the cool breeze from the comfy seats in the back!
10:30 - On The Road
Once everyone’s ready, we’ll head off in a convoy of wonderful Tuk Tuks through the Mae Wang valley. You’ll drive through small farming villages and through winding roads, until you reach the remote and rarely visited temple of Wat Doi Sapanyoo. Huge Buddha statues look out across the valley and offer stunning 360 degree views across the country. Then it’s back into the Tuk Tuks and an off the beaten track drive up the valley towards Mae Sapok: it’s a stunning picture postcard valley with rice terraces, water buffalo and often elephants hanging out by the local stream. You’ll take a short walk through the forest to a beautiful waterfall and then explore the local Hill Tribe village.
1:00pm - Lunch with the elephants
We’ll arrive at the elephant home just in time for lunch. It’s a chance to not only learn about the past, present and future of the Thai Elephant but also have the opportunity to interact with them. Once you’ve been introduced to the elephants – who have been taken out of a life of trekking and can now relax and enjoy their time more naturally – you’ll be able to help the mahouts feed them. After you’ve fed the elephants it’s time to sit down to a hearty Thai lunch. You’ll eat close to the elephants, so you’ll get a chance to watch them in their natural surroundings.
2:00pm Bath time
After lunch you’ll walk with the mahouts and their elephants through the local countryside to the river where you’ll help with elephant bath time – a fantastic experience for you and the elephants!
3:00pm River rafting
Now it’s time to enjoy some water activities of a different kind as you float lazily along the local river on a traditional bamboo raft. Don’t worry, there are no rapids along the way, rather this is a great opportunity to see the local surroundings from a different angle and have a huge amount of fun negotiating the twists and turns of the river.
4:OOpm Tuk Tuk back down the valley
It’s time to jump back into your Tuk Tuk and wind your way back down the valley enjoying you final back-road trips in your Tuk Tuk. The road curves and sweeps gently down the valley. Be sure to have your camera out to catch the surprise on the faces of the locals when they see you driving a Tuk Tuk!
5.00pm Minivan to Chiang Mai
On reaching The Tuk Tuk Club HQ you’ll transfer back into a minivan and we’ll take you back to your hotel, arriving around 6:00PM giving you plenty of time in the evening to reflect on the incredible day you’ve had and the fact that you’re now a member of The Tuk Tuk Club!
6:00pm
Arrive back in Chiang Mai City.
"This one day tour has the lot...the super fun Tuk Tuk experience, bucket list experience walking the elephants to the river to swim and then river rafting. Well recommended"
1 day tour
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