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This is a fantastic tuk tuk adventure through the mountains of Northern Thailand. Join The Tuk Tuk Club for a unique way to explore and experience the highlights of Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces. You head into the mountains taking winding rural back roads, passing through fascinating hill-tribe communities, and experiencing some of the best that this region has to offer with the added adventure of being in your very own tuk tuk. You're always accompanied by two fantastic guides full of local knowledge and information and there is a support vehicle with you all the way to transfer your luggage allowing you to focus on the enjoyment of driving.
You stay at five different accommodations during the adventure.
Night 1, 2, and 10 are based at Khum Khun Wang, a lovely rural colonial-style house that's been converted into a resort / hotel. Rooms are on a twin share basis, en-suite (with hot water), air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi.
Night 3 and 4 are in a rustic guest house with wooden bungalows, each with their own terrace overlooking the rice paddies and surrounded by forested mountains. The rooms are basic but clean and the location makes up for the simple rooms. All rooms are twin sharing, en-suite (hot water), fan-cooled (no need for air-conditioning this high up), and have Wi-Fi.
Night 5 is in a great riverside hotel in Mae Sariang. With very smart twin rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms (hot water), air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, and a great swimming pool in the gardens.
Night 6 and 7 are at the go-to resort for all in the know in Mae Hong Son, Fern Resort. With bungalows and rooms set in among the rice fields on the edge of a forest, this is pretty much the perfect location and Fern has what must be one of the best sunset bars in this part of the world. All rooms are twin sharing with en-suite bathrooms (hot water), and air-conditioning, and the resort has Wi-Fi. There is also a great swimming pool and, for the winter months, fire pits.
Night 8 and 9 are spent at Phu Pai Art Resort around five kilometers outside the mountain town of Pai. Set among rice fields with great views of the surrounding mountains, this is a very relaxed resort made up of large, well laid out bungalows. Each room is on a twin sharing basis and rooms are en-suite (hot water), have air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. The resort also has a fantastic infinity pool overlooking the rice paddies.
You will be picked up at 10:00 from the Chiang Mai Gate Hotel in Chiang Mai city and transferred to The Tuk Tuk Club's training base for the adventure ahead.
On arrival at the 'base camp' in Mae Wang at around 11:00, you'll check in to your accommodation, have lunch together, and then begin your driver training. Once everyone has got to grips with the basics, you'll head on your first test drive to a local temple where the journey ahead will be blessed.
In the evening, it's time to spend more time getting to know your tuk tuk and enjoying a great Northern Thai buffet dinner.
After breakfast, you'll go through more driver training, building on what you learned yesterday, and run through all the nitty-gritty of the trip ahead.
Then, it's time to venture a little further afield with a test drive through small country roads to a fantastic elephant home that is leading the way in taking elephants away from a life of trekking and instead creating an environment where people can learn about and spend time with elephants on their terms, not ours.
You'll head slowly in convoy for the 20 kilometers or so to the elephant home giving all the opportunity to get some 'road time' and confidence. On arrival, the inspiration behind the home will talk about the history of the elephants, what he and his team are doing and then, after a great lunch at the home, it's time to enjoy the company of these wonderful animals. You'll be able to feed them, get to know them, and then walk with them (no riding allowed!) to the local river where you'll bathe with them.
In the late afternoon, you'll have more drive practice as you head back to the base camp for dinner and getting ready for an adventurous day tomorrow.
After an early breakfast, you're hitting the road and heading along small country roads towards Thailand's highest mountain, Doi Inthanon. Your guide will be in the lead tuk tuk and you'll travel in convoy with the support vehicle at the rear. The first 20 to 30 kilometers of the route are simple with gentle curving roads but you soon hit stunning switch backbends, incredible scenery, and tiny Karen hill tribe villages as you make your 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 The Tuk Tuk Club, novelty does 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. Lunch will be in a roadside snack bar, real Northern Thai style.
If you're feeling confident, you can go up to the top of Doi Inthanon, your trusty tuk tuk can make it, and around mid-afternoon, you'll arrive at your accommodation for the next two nights.
You're giving the tuk tuks a well-deserved rest today and exploring the national park on foot. Accompanied by an expert trekking guide, you'll explore the stunning forest around the area on a trek of around 8 to 9 kilometers (but with some hills) which takes in great vistas and the obligatory waterfall.
Lunch is provided on the trek and your trekking guide is a mine of information on both the people and wildlife inhabiting the area all around you.
Note: This trek is suitable for all as long as you're able to walk for 8 to 10 kilometers. The pace is gentle but there are some up and downhill sections as you'd expect in the mountains. This isn't a trek done by thousands each year, rather it's been researched and developed just for The Tuk Tuk Club.
You'll arrive back at the accommodation around mid-late afternoon, just in time to rest up, relax, and then enjoy a great countryside Thai feast.
Time to get back on the road and today, you head out of Doi Inthanon National Park towards your final destination of Mae Sariang, close to the Burmese / Myanmar border.
Your route winds through incredible scenery and some very quiet roads for the first section of the day and you 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 you'll, as always, take frequent stops to enjoy the area, let the tuk tuk cool down and to allow traffic to pass (and see all taking photos of you as yet again everyone is stunned by the site to tuk tuks up here).
You'll arrive in Mae Sariang around mid-late afternoon and check into your superb 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, have a cold beer on the terrace over the river watching the sun go down.
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 there. 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. This is most definitely a day for your camera (and GoPro).
You'll arrive at your accommodation around mid-afternoon giving you enough time to check in, have a quick swim (yes, there's a pool), and settle into the amazing sunset bar nestled right among the rice fields. Cold beer has never tasted so good.
It is another day off for your tuk tuks and some time to do as you please. There's a fantastic eight-kilometer 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 to 15 minutes by minivan).
Recharge your batteries, recover from the sunset bar last night, or stretch your legs in the forest, it's up to you.
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, incredible views, and a stop in Sop Pong for lunch to try local Shan food, this is a great day and towards mid / late afternoon, you'll drop down into the valley where Pai sits.
Your accommodation is four to five kilometers outside the town sitting among rice fields and great views wherever you look. There's also a lovely swimming pool to wash away the day's travel.
It is another day to let the tuk tuks rest and give you the opportunity to do some exploring on your own. From caves 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 why not sit back and take in the great views from this fantastic resort (or lend a hand servicing and making sure your tuk tuk is in fine form for the final leg of the journey tomorrow).
Setting off in the early morning, you negotiate the final few hundred bends as you drop back down towards Chiang Mai and then your initial base camp of day1 and 2. You'll notice a huge change in the villages, people, and temperature as you head lower and lower and then through a number of small villages and towns on your route.
With plenty of opportunities to stop and explore, you take today pretty easy and will arrive back in Mae Wang towards mid / late afternoon. Then, it's time to freshen up before you have a group final dinner, sharing the adventures of the last 10 days and enjoying your last moments with your very own tuk tuk.
After a lie in, it will have been a late night last night, you'll be transferred back to Chiang Mai Gate Hotel arriving around 12:30. You are now a fully-fledged member of The Tuk Tuk Club.
The Tuk Tuk Club will pick you up on the start day of your trip from the Chiang Mai Gate Hotel, Chiang Mai city at 10:00. The Chiang Mai Gate Hotel is easy to find and to get to from anywhere in the city.
Passionate and knowledgeable about Northern Thailand, tuk-tuks, and making sure all travelers get the absolute most out of their time in the country, Smith has a never-ending energy to make sure you have an awesome time. He is also an expert tuk-tuk driver trainer making sure you get comfortable behind the wheel as quickly as possible. He is one of life's good guys and a pleasure to spend time with on any adventure.
If there is a more knowledgeable guide anywhere in Northern Thailand, you are yet to meet them. With a huge passion for his country, Buddhism, and getting off the beaten track, Tony is also dedicated to making sure everyone gets what they want from their travels.
This adventure will take place in five different locations including Mae Wang, around 60 minutes outside of Chiang Mai city; the small community of Ban Mae Klang Luang, a fascinating Karen community in the foothills of Doi Inthanon; the small town of Mae Sariang; outside Mae Hong Son town; and Pai.
A large number of meals are included in this adventure. Breakfast is included every day from day 2 through to day 11 and with a range of options from rice soup (delicious and a great start to any day), bread, fruit, and tea / coffee. Lunch is included on day 1, 2, and 4, and consists of a selection of simple local hearty dishes. Dinner is included on day 1, 2, 4, and 10, and on each evening, you visit a great local restaurant to tuck into delicious Northern Thai food. Water is included throughout the adventure.
On day 7, you can have an optional trek accompanied by one of The Tuk Tuk Club's team.
Chiang Mai International Airport
Transfer not provided
Please book your flight to arrive at Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX).
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