11 Day Tuk Tuk Tour of Northern Thailand

The True North

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

11 Day Tuk Tuk Tour of Northern Thailand

Take this trip and you won’t just see Northern Thailand, you’ll feel it in your soul. Over the course of 11 days you’ll experience the true heart of Thailand - a side of the country few travellers are lucky enough to get to know. You’ll hike in towering forests and float down rivers to villages where the old ways still hold sway. You’ll stay in some of the coolest boutique hotels and connect with remote Hill Tribe communities untouched by the tourist dollar. You’ll eat authentic Northern Thai food every day and drink the best coffee of your life straight from the mountains. You’ll travel winding mountain roads where few Westerners ever go. And when the adventure is over for the day, you’ll spend lovely tropical evenings swapping stories and kicking back in some of the North’s very best places to be. So if you’re looking for a true Thailand adventure and want to be fully immersed in this wonderful region… it starts here.

What do you get?

Available Dates

From £1395 Per Person
(reserve your place with a deposit of just £50 pp)

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 meet your Tuk Tuk, get to know your guide, drivers and fellow travellers, receive a Temple blessing for the journey ahead and also spend some time with elephants at a local elephant home. The perfect location to get your Tuk Tuk Adventure underway.

Doi Inthanon National Park

Enjoy the amazing views and tiny villages as you wind your way up back country roads and catch up with remote mountain communities before arriving at the towering Doi Inthanon - Thailand’s highest mountain at over 2,500m. A authentic hill tribe village near the National Park is your base for two nights while you explore the area, swim under beautiful waterfalls and trek through the untouched forest.

Mae Sariang

Surrounded by forests, mountains and rivers and inhabited by Lawa, Karen and other Hill Tribe groups, Mae Sariang is a lovely little town with fascinating Temples, friendly people and the untouched river to sit next to having a well-deserved cold beer.

Mae Hong Son

Lush forests, rice paddies, jungle trekking and dinner and drinks in a bar with the greatest sunset view (in our humble opinion) in the whole of South East Asia. This place was a favourite haunt of Brad and Angelina when they wanted to get away from the paparazzi, and you can see why, it’s the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle.

Pai

Once the ultimate ‘travellers’ hide away, now the location of one of our favourite boutique hotel in Thailand. After winding through mountains you’ll arrive in the outskirts of Pai to spend a couple of nights in this fantastic small resort. You can chill by the pool, explore local Temples, do a bit of trekking, or take in the scenery. The choice is yours...

Itinerary

Day 1: Tuk Tuk Introductions And Temple Blessing

Our team will pick you up at 10:00am from the Chiang Mai Gate Hotel in Chiang Mai City and transfer you to our basecamp to prepare for the adventure ahead. 

On arrival in Mae Wang at around 11:30am you’ll check you in to your accommodation (in our opinion, it’s the coolest hotel in the area) and have a delicious local lunch together. Then it’s time to jump into the back of your Tuk Tuk with your driver and head off to explore winding rural lanes, rarely visited villages and off the beaten tourist track Temples with stunning views of the country. At one of the Temples you’ll receive a blessing for the adventures ahead and get a real insight into how local communities live and their relationship with their Temple and the monks who live there.

You’ll arrive back at basecamp in the late afternoon in time to freshen up and head out for a night a local ‘country–pub’. Think proper Thai food, a few drinks and live music…  it’s a very special place to us, and a great place to kick off your adventure.

What's included?

Day 2: Tuk Tuks, Amazing Roads, Elephants and a spot of Bamboo Rafting

After breakfast you’ll enjoy more fantastic Tuk Tuk adventures on small country lanes. You’ll head out in convoyto explore yet more tiny backroads through  charming villages with superb views of the mountains you’ll be heading up later in the trip.

Then you’ll drive up through the valley to a fantastic, small and very private elephant home that is leading the way in taking these wonderful animals away from a life of trekking and instead creating an environment where you can learn about and spend time with the elephants on their terms, not ours! The pace of the Tuk Tuk convoy is always nice and gentle (we never travel at over 50kmh and often quite a bit more slowly) meaning that you can enjoy the amazing surroundings  when you’re on the road!

When you arrive at the elephant home you’ll learn about the history of the elephants, what the team at the home are doing and then, after a tasty lunch sitting right next to the elephants it’s time to enjoy the company of these wonderful animals. You’ll be able to help feed them, get to know them and then walk with them (no riding allowed!) to the local river where you’ll have the opportunity to watch them enjoying their  bath time.

In the late afternoon there is a new mode of transport as you float gently downstream on bamboo rafts, perfectly steered by local villagers. Then there’s time for one more Tuk Tuk drive as you head back to the base camp for another delicious dinner and to get ready for an amazing adventurous day tomorrow.

What's included?

Day 3: The Road To Doi Inthanon

After an early breakfast you’re hitting the road and heading along small country roads towards Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon. The first 20-30km of the route is simple with gentle curving roads but you soon hit stunning switch back bends, incredible scenery and tiny Karen hill tribe villages as you make our way towards the National Park.

Enjoy the look of complete surprise from everyone as they see Tuk Tuks this far up in the mountains – trust us, novelty doesn’t not even begin to cover it – and you’ll stop frequently to have a look at different villages / views and of course to sample some of the great coffee and snacks in small villages. 

You’ll arrive at your accommodation, the fantastic village of Mae Khlang Luang, and have a late lunch before jumping in another classic Thai mode of transport – a ‘Songtaew’. A ‘taxi’ adapted from a pick up truck, which takes us to explore the summit of the mountain.

In the evening it’s time to enjoy a classic Thai mountain BBQ overlooking the rice fields. The perfect end to an awesome day.

What's included?

Day 4: Hiking and Waterfalls

You’re giving your Tuk Tuk a well deserved rest today and exploring the surrounding forest and countryside on foot. Accompanied by an expert local trekking guide (and your Tuk Tuk Club guide of course) you’ll explore the stunning forest around the area on a hike of around 6km, taking in wonderful views and incredible waterfalls. The hike is suitable for all (it’s mostly flat or downhill!) and you’ll hike at a nice gentle pace meaning it’s all about enjoyment than just trying to keep up!

You’ll have a packed lunch in a clearing in the forest before descending down into rice terraces and then back into the village where you’re staying. And before you get back to the accommodation, there’s the chance to enjoy a cup of the local mountain coffee brewed up the traditional Karen way.

You’ll arrive back at the accommodation around mid afternoon, giving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the views, before another great country Thai feast in the evening.

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What's included?

Day 5: On The Road Again

Time to get back on the road and today you head out of Doi Inthanon National Park towards our destination of Mae Sariang, close to the Burmese border.

Our route winds through incredible scenery and some very quiet roads for the first section of the day and we then join the main road for the last hour or two into Mae Sariang. Towering trees, steep hills and more than a few sharp curves are the order of the day and we’ll, as always, take frequent stops to enjoy the area, let the Tuk Tuk cool down and to allow traffic to pass.

You’ll arrive in Mae Sariang around mid-late afternoon and check into our lovely riverside accommodation for the night.

Mae Sariang is well worth exploring with friendly people, a fascinating mix of Thai and Burmese culture (Mae Sariang is home to many Burmese Muslims) and some interesting temples. Alternatively, cool off in the pool, have a cold beer on the terrace over the river watching the sun go down, or all of the aboveT

What's included?

Day 6: More Bends and More Mountains

Mae Hong Son is our destination today and you’ll head up, over and around the mountains on one of Thailand’s most stunning roads to reach your accommodation. With plenty of stops to take in the scenery and chat to all and sundry wondering how on earth you’re travelling by Tuk Tuk… this is most definitely a day to keep you camera handy and dust off the go-pro!

You’ll arrive at your accommodation around mid-afternoon giving you enough time to check in, have a quick swim in the resort’s lovely pool and settle into the amazing sunset bar nestled right amongst the rice fields. An ice cold Singha beer has never tasted so good!

What's included?

Day 7: Time to Explore Mae Song - or Enjoy Relaxing Time by The Pool

A day off for your Tuk Tuk and some time to do as you please. There’s a fantastic 8km trek through the forest right from the resort grounds, a swimming pool to hang out by or you can head into Mae Hong Son town to explore (around 10-15 mins by minivan)

What's included?

Day 8: Over The Mountains To Pai

Pai, one of the most famous of all mountain towns in Thailand, is your destination today but before you get there you need to negotiate several hundred bends and some of the steepest roads on the trip. With great forest and incredible views this is a great day and you’ll stop at the very best viewpoints and have the opportunity for a coffee or two. You’ll also have time to explore the magical Lod caves before you head down into the valley where the town of Pai sits.

Your accommodation is 5km outside the town sitting amongst rice fields and great views wherever you look. There’s also a lovely swimming pool to relax, enjoy the stunning scenery and reflect on the incredible journey so far.

What's included?

Day 9: Time to Explore Pai

Another day to let the Tuk Tuks rest and give you the opportunity to do some exploring on your own. From hot springs and temples to hanging out by the pool or exploring the local villages, your guides are on hand to help arrange all sorts of activities. Or you can just kick back and take in the stunning views from your stylish boutique resort.

What's included?

Day 10: Through the mountains back to Mae Wang

Today is another magical day of stunning mountain roads and incredible Hill Tribe communities we you head gently back to where the adventure started in Mae Wang.

You take the rarely travelled back roads for the whole day where even a car can be a novelty, let alone a Tuk Tuk. You’ll stop plenty of times to explore, to boil eggs in a remote hot spring (!), to explore an ancient teak Temple and also just to enjoy the wonderful mountains and the people who live in them,

By late afternoon you’ll drop back down from the high mountains – you’ll notice how everything is a couple of degrees warmer – and arrive back in Mae Wang ready for a quick  shower, sundowner and a final feast of authentic country Thai food at a lovely local family run restaurant. The perfect location to share your travel stories from the last 10 days.

 

What's included?

Day 11: A Fond Farewell

After a lie in – it will have been a late night last night! – you’ll transfer back to Chiang Mai Gate Hotel arriving around 11:30am. You are now a fully-fledged member of The Tuk Tuk Club and have just completed Northern Thailand’s greatest adventure!

What's included?

Get your Thailand adventure started
"Above and beyond expectations. Whoever wants a unique experience should try this tour. Every single day is a new experience, a new adventure.You simply can't wait until the morning to jump into the driving seat to the next adventure. You learn so much about the tribes, habits, nature, history, religion and food from this region. Thai people are most probably the kindest and most welcoming people you will ever meet. The whole trip is fun, safe and relaxing. "
11 day tour

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