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

Join this adventure and you won’t just see Northern Thailand, you’ll feel it right into the heart of your soul. And all from behind the wheel of your very own Tuk Tuk! Over the course of 11 days you’ll experience the true North - a side of the country few travellers ever really get to know. You’ll trek 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 surrounding mountains. You’ll travel along incredible winding mountain roads where few Westerners ever go. And when the adventure is over for the day, you’ll spend the tropical evenings swapping stories and kicking back in some of the North’s very best places to hang out. So if you’re looking for a true Thai adventure… it starts here.

What do you get?

Available Dates

Can't see a date that works for you? Don't worry, just get in touch at [email protected] and we'll do our best to set up a new trip date just for you!

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 around an hour from Chiang Mai. This is where you’ll meet your Tuk Tuk, receive a Temple blessing for the adventure ahead and spend some time with elephants at a local elephant home. The perfect location to get you used to your Tuk Tuk and to get the adventure started.

Doi Inthanon National Park

Wind your way up back country mountain roads and catch up with remote mountain communities before arriving at the towering Doi Inthanon - Thailand’s highest mountain at over 2,500m. A Karen Hill Tribe village near the National Park is our base for two nights while we explore the area, trek through the stunning forest and swim under beautiful waterfalls.

Mae Sariang

Surrounded by forests, mountains and rivers and inhabited by Lawa, Karen and other Hill Tribe groups, Mae Sariang is a fantastic little town where we stay for one night. With fascinating Temples, friendly people and the untouched river to sit by having a well-deserved cold beer it really is a superb overnight destination.

Mae Hong Son

Lush forests, rice paddies, jungle trekking, the most spectacular mountain roads and views and South East Asia's very best sunset bar. Mae Hong Son is a hidden treasure of Northern Thailand and the prefect base for two nights of the adventure. WIth a free day to explore remote Hill Tribe villages, to relax by the infinity pool or to to hike in the forest , Mae Hong Son is a real highlight of any trip to Northern Thailand.

Pai

Once the ultimate ‘travellers’ hide away, now the location of one of our favourite boutique hotel in Thailand. After winding through the incredible mountains you’ll arrive in the outskirts of Pai to spend a couple of nights in a wonderful, small resort. You can chill by the pool, explore local Temples, do a bit of trekking or just kick back and take in all the scenery. And in the evenings why not head out and explore Pai's famous night market.

Itinerary

Day 1: Tuk Tuk Driver Training, Tiny Roads and a 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 training base for the adventure ahead.

On arrival at our ‘base camp’ in Mae Wang, at around 11:00, you’ll check into your super accommodation for the next two nights, have a tasty Thai lunch together and then begin the all important Tuk Tuk driver training. Don’t worry, they aren’t hard to drive and our expert team take everything nice and slowly giving you the chance to feel super comfortable behind the wheel. Once everyone has got to grips with the Tuk Tuks (and passed the driver test) you’ll head on your first real drive along small country lanes to a local mountain Temple where we will receive a blessing for the adventure ahead!

In the evening it’s time for another great Thai feast as you head to a superb local restaurant for the best food around. 

What's included?

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

After breakfast you’ll enjoy more driver training, building on what you learned yesterday, a, to make sure you’re in tip top Tuk Tuk driving form! You’ll head out in convoy (your guide always leads the way in their Tuk Tuk  so you don’t need to worry about getting lost!) to 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 more driving practice 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 breakfast you’re hitting the road and heading along spectacular mountain roads towards Thailand’s highest peak, Doi Inthanon.

As always your guide will be in the lead Tuk Tuk and you’ll travel in convoy with the support vehicle (carrying your luggage, water and all sorts of goodies) at the rear. The first 20-30km of the route are simple with gentle curving roads but you soon arrive at stunning switch back bends, incredible scenery and tiny Karen Hill Tribe villages as we 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, take in the views and of course to sample some of the great coffee and snacks along the way. 

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.

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 yet more incredible scenery and some very quiet, remote roads for the first section of the day and you then join the ‘main’ road for the last hour or two into Mae Sariang itself.

Towering trees, steep hills and more than a few winding curves are the order of the day and you’ll, as always, take frequent stops to enjoy the area, let the Tuk Tuk cool down and generally enjoy the amazing region you’re travelling through.

You’ll arrive in Mae Sariang around mid-late afternoon and check into the 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 and watch the sun go down over the river. Or a combination of all of the above!

What's included?

Day 6: Over the Mountains to Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son is your destination today and you’ll head up, over and around the mountains on one of Thailand’s most stunning roads to reach your accommodation for the night.

With plenty of stops to change drivers, go ‘wow’ at the scenery and chat to all and sundry wondering how on earth you’re driving a Tuk Tuk up in the mountains, this is most definitely a day to keep your camera handy and dust off the ‘Go-Pro’!

You’ll arrive at your accommodation by around mid-afternoon giving you enough time to check in, have a quick swim in the resort’s super infinity pool (overlooking rice fields and the hills) and settle into the amazing sunset bar nestled that forms the heart of this wonderful small resort. An ice cold Singha beer, or even a cheeky G+T,  has never tasted so good!

What's included?

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

Another day off for the Tuk Tuks and some time for you to do as you please.

And you’re not short of options (and of course our guide team will help arrange anything you’d like to do). From hiking through the forest behind the resort (there’s a fantastic 8km trail to follow) to taking a boat trip to explore remote Hill Tribe communities. Head into the town to take in the small streets and stunning Temples or alternatively enjoy some quiet time by the pool luxuriating in the wonderful natural surroundings of the resort.

In the evening it’s well worth going into the town to enjoy a street food extravaganza – there are stall set up all around the lake in the town and the food is unbelievable with a great mixture of Burmese and Thai influence everywhere. Your guide can of course help you arrange everything and be with you to guide you through the huge array of food on display.

 

What's included?

Day 8: Destination 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 deep forest and incredible views across mountains rolling into the far distance this is one of those days where ‘wow’ is the most common word. You’ll stop at the very best viewpoints and have the opportunity for a coffee or two and you’ll also stop to explore the magical Lod caves.

You’ll arrive into Pai by late afternoon and the accommodation is 5km outside the town nestled amongst rice fields and with great views wherever you look. There’s also yet another lovely swimming pool to relax in and reflect on the incredible journey so far.

What's included?

Day 9: Time to Explore Pai

A final day of rest for your Tuk Tuk and to give you the opportunity to do some exploring on your own, soak up the atmosphere of Pai or why not book a traditional Thai massage at the resort and have a relaxing day enjoying the surroundings and relaxing grounds of the resort.  

You guide of course can help you arrange to go and visit anything you’d like and it’s well worth heading into the centre of Pai in the evening to explore the famous night market and all the fantastic food on offer.

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 could have been a late night last night! – you’ll transfer back to Chiang Mai Gate Hotel arriving around 11:30am. Say your goodbyes but don’t be sad – you are now a fully-fledged member of The Tuk Tuk Club!

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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