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Thailand Tuk Tuk Adventure

13th Nov 2021 - 25th Nov 2021

13 days/Thailand /Moderate

Overview

An exciting new offering for 2021, we are delighted to introduce our Thailand Tuk Tuk Adventure!

After some initial tuk tuk driver training you embark on our three-wheeled discovery of this colourful country. This 12-day challenge takes in temples, forests, traditional minority villages in the hills, national parks and waterfalls as you ride to the awe-inspiring destination of Chiang Mai. This adventure holiday features the very best that Thailand has to offer for those prepared to step away from tourist trails and travel like the locals. It isn’t just fantastic sights that you’ll enjoy along the way, but also wonderful experiences – rafting downstream on bamboo rafts, a jungle trek, trying street food, swimming in waterfall pools, staying in homestays with local families and helping local villagers make a traditional forest feast in a traditional Karen village. This isn’t just dipping a toe in the water, it’s total immersion in the wonderful and exciting culture of this South-East Asian gem.

This trip is graded as moderately challenging. Although most of your journey will be in the tuk tuks, some days feature treks, walks and other activities. A good level of fitness will enhance your enjoyment of the trip.

In addition to your Different Travel Tour Manager* who will be accompanying the trip throughout (usually from London), there will be a local English-speaking guide who will lead you through this fantastic journey. There will also be a mechanic to assist with any tuk tuk related issues along the way.

*In the case of a particularly small group, a Tour Manager may be replaced with a local guide.

November is considered the ‘cool’ season in Thailand however you can still expect highs of 32˚C during the day, dropping down to 24˚C at night. Weather conditions vary and may be unpredictable but in general you can expect hot, cloudy days with a 35% chance of rain and moderate humidity. Although, for the majority of the time, you will be in the tuk tuks, as they are open sided, it is important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures.  Ensure you have suitable lightweight clothes which keep your skin protected from the sun. When the sun comes out it can feel very hot so wearing sunglasses, a hat and keeping well hydrated is crucial.

Please note: the above climate details are based on historical averages and may differ due to climate change and the unpredictable nature of the weather. We cannot be held responsible for weather conditions which differ to this. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimate safety of the group.

Thai food is one of the world’s most popular cuisines and it’s easy to understand why. You will enjoy a range of traditional meals, which are all freshly prepared and delicious.

Thai cooking is complex with the intention to engage at least three of the five fundamental food tastes in every dish; sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as meat, fish and vegetables are paired with aromatic spices and herbs to create astonishing meals. These dishes are usually served with steamed vegetables and rice or noodles to form a typical meal. The distinct flavours of Thai food come primarily from coriander, lemon grass, coconut, lime, shrimp, fish sauce, ginger, black pepper, garlic and basil. Northern Thai cuisine (Lanna) is slightly different in style to that which is found in the rest of the country. Some popular dishes include Khao Soi curry, Sai Oua (Thai sausage), Kaeng Hang Lei (pork curry), Miang Kham (leaf wrapped snacks) and much more. Thai food isn’t always spicy but if you like your food with a kick, chilli or chilli sauce is often available if you ask.

Special dietary requirements can be catered for upon request. Please let us know about these at the time of booking.

During the trip you will mainly stay in hotels/resorts on a shared basis with en-suite bathrooms. There will be one night of camping and one homestay with locals. 

The main houses are laid out over one upstairs level, with one large living/sleeping area and a kitchen in an adjoining room or at the end of the living area. Underneath the main house, between the house stilts, is where you will be served your breakfast and evening meals. The area you will sleep in is very large, occasionally accommodating up to 25 people, so the entire group will share one room. You are strongly recommended to bring ear plugs (which you have tried out and are comfortable using) so you can block out the inevitable snoring which will otherwise disturb your sleep. A mattress, pillow, blanket and mosquito net are provided for you, however you are advised to bring a lightweight silk or cotton sleeping bag liner for your comfort.

At the hotel accommodation you will have hot showers. While camping and at the homestay there will be basic shower facilities. We recommend that you take quick showers, turning off the water when lathering up, so warm water (if there is any) can be shared. You will need to bring your own towel and basic toiletries (please don’t pack too much!). Microfibre towels are highly absorbent but lightweight and fast-drying; do not bring cotton towels. You may wish to carry a small pack of baby wipes for your general hygiene during the trek day (e.g. to clean your hands before you eat lunch).

Thai toilets are generally of the squat variety, although Western toilets are often found in hotels, guesthouses and restaurants catering to foreign visitors. You should always carry toilet paper with you as it is rarely provided in public toilets. Always put used toilet paper into the bin provided – never put it in the toilet. If you need to use the toilet whilst out driving the tuk tuks or on a walk, while you are away from the accommodation, you will need to utilise a private place along the road. Never leave toilet paper on the ground; you must put it in a sanitary disposal bag (e.g. nappy sack) and carry it to the accommodation for proper disposal in the bin. Please bring your own nappy sacks with you.

Anyone who would like to drive the tuk tuks needs to have a driving licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). An ideal candidate for the trip would be someone who enjoys being out of their comfort zone and trying something new. Adventure travel involves an element of the unexpected so do not expect standards to be the same as you are used to at home. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable (be it because of group pace, weather conditions, local bureaucracy, or other factors) and itineraries may be altered to allow for this. For you to get the most out of your challenge it is important that you are flexible, positive, and eager to take on all the challenges that arise. Suitable fitness preparation before departure forms part of this.

Although this is not essentially a physical challenge, there are walks and other activities so a good level of fitness will greatly enhance the enjoyment of this trip.

This trip is graded as moderately challenging. Although most of your journey will be in the tuk tuks, some days feature treks, walks and other activities. A good level of fitness will enhance your enjoyment of the trip. The Different Travel Company has the right to refuse anyone who they feel is not fit enough for the challenge for the health and safety of the individual, and the group.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.

Essentials

E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport & copy
Thai visa (if required)
Insurance policy details
Pen for immigration forms
Cash (£) /+ Credit + ATM card(s)
LED head torch + spare batteries
Adaptor (multi-prong option)
Sunglasses
Mobile phone + charger
Camera + spare batteries

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Casual footwear for evenings/travel
Socks & underwear
Non-cotton long sleeve shirt/top
Non-cotton t-shirt
Long sleeved light warm layer
Lightweight trek trousers
Lightweight poncho
Change of clothes for evenings
Sun hat
Buff www.buffwear.co.uk
Cooling neck wrap (e.g. Cobber)
Scarf/pashmina (for use at temples)
Casual clothes for sightseeing

Hygiene

Shampoo + conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant deodorant*
Biodegradable shower gel*
Wet wipes*
Toilet paper* (1-2 rolls)
Sun cream (SPF 30+)
Hand sanitizer
Feminine hygiene products*
Nappy sacks* (for used toilet paper)
Hair brush or comb

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters + blister plasters
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Decongestant (optional)
Scissors/tweezers
Zinc oxide tape (optional)
Spare glasses/contact lenses

Optional

Portable power bank charger
Video Camera + charger
iPod/MP3 player
Walking pole(s)
Notebook/diary
Books/playing cards

Luggage

Holdall or kit bag (60-70 Litres)
Daypack (25 litres)
Combination padlock(s)
Combination cable lock (optional)

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
2 x 1-litre water bottle(s) OR
2-litre water bottle (e.g. CamelBak) + 1-litre bottle
Water purification
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)

Sleeping

Ear plugs (essential)
Pyjamas

Please note: This list is just a guideline and is not exhaustive. The items on this list do not take into account your personal preferences based on your previous trekking experience, or individual requirements. For information about items on this list please refer to the trip dossier or contact The Different Travel Company on info@different-travel.com

*Please ensure you pack your hiking boots into your hand baggage in the unlikely event your checked luggage goes missing or is delayed.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

Itinerary

Day 1-2 (Saturday 13 November to Sunday 14 November 2021):

London to Chiang Mai
Depart on an overnight flight to Chiang Mai. On arrival you will be met and transferred to a central hotel where you will have time to freshen up before meeting for a briefing and welcome dinner.
Meals: Dinner

Day 3 (Monday 15 November 2021):

Chiang Mai to Mae Wang
Depart after breakfast for the tuk tuk training base, at Mae Wang.  After checking into Khun Khum Wang resort you will start you driver training. This will involve getting up to speed on the surrounding small back roads, leading to a small temple and with great views of the surrounding countryside. Late afternoon you finish by rafting downstream on local bamboo rafts, a great end to your first day. This evening you will head out to what’s best described as the Thai version of a ‘country pub’.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Driving: Approx. 1-1.5 hours training followed by 2 hours (for around 30mins each time)

Day 4 (Tuesday 16 November 2021):

Mae Wang to Ban Long Lom Leng
After breakfast you will explore more small rural roads and head to Wat Doi Sapanyoo temple with stunning 360 degree views from the Pagoda and towering Buddha statues. You then head off into the mountains getting off the beaten track into the Hill Tribe territory. You’ll stop to explore the Mae Sapok valley, stopping to enjoy a short jungle trek along the way.  By mid-afternoon you’ll arrive at Ban Long Lom Leng, a traditional Karen village. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the Karen people. This evening you camp in the foothills of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain. You’ll learn how to cook a traditional forest feast, working alongside the locals to prepare the meal, and then eat with them around the campfire.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Driving: Approx. 3 hours (spread over approx. 5 hours. Longest stretch is approx. 30 minutes)

Day 5 (Wednesday 17 November 2021):

Ban Long Lom Leng to Mae Sariang
Hitting the road again you head towards the Thai/Myanmar border, passing some incredible scenery along the way.  Mae Sariang is well worth exploring with friendly people, a fascinating mix of Thai and Burmese culture and some interesting temples. Tonight’s accommodation is in a riverside lodge, where there is a chance to cool off in the pool.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Driving: Approx. 5 hours (spread over the whole day)

Day 6 (Thursday 18 November 2021):

Mae Sariang to Ban Lay Oop
Today you head along more tiny mountain back roads through several small rural communities before heading up onto a mountain ridge, eventually arriving at tonight’s destination, the Lawa Hill Tribe village of Ban Lay Oop. This village has only recently opened their community to overnight visitors and is a small settlement of around 200 houses. You will have the chance to learn about how they are changing their farming practices to preserve the local environment. The area is famous for silversmiths and you will also get the chance to visit them during your stay. You will spend the night in homestays with local families sleeping in traditional Lewa houses.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Driving: Approx. 3 hours (spread over 4.5-5 hours)

Day 7 (Friday 19 November 2021):

Ban Lay Oop to Mae Hong Son
After some time exploring the village you head down the winding mountain roads, back to the valley floor, and stop off to visit a remote cave complex famous for their beautiful formations and location. You continue north, parallel to the border with Myanmar to Mae Hong Son. You will spend the night at Fern Resort nestled in the forest, surrounded by paddy fields, about 10km outside the main town.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Driving: Approx. 4-5 hours (spread over the day)

Day 8 (Saturday 20 November 2021):

Mae Hong Son Trek – Loy Krathong festival
You’ll give the tuk tuks a rest today as you set off on foot from the resort to explore the forests and national parks of Mae Hong Son.  Maybe stop off and take a dip at one of the waterfalls you’ll encounter along the way and enjoy a picnic lunch in a beautiful setting.  In total you will walk for around 10km (about 4 hours), before returning to the hotel. This evening you will head into the middle of town where the Loy Krathong festival will be celebrated around the lake. There will be superb street food, lanterns and all sorts of local competitions going on from Thai boxing to dance.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 (Sunday 21 November 2021):

Mae Hong Son to Pai
It’s back in the tuk tuks today as you follow the stunning mountain road towards the town of Pai. The road takes you up and over several mountain passes, through deep forests and past a number of different ethnic communities including the Kuomintang who settled in this area after fleeing China in the late 1940s. You’ll also stop to explore Thailand’s largest cave system, the Lod Caves.  You’ll stay in a small resort about 5km outside the town, and perhaps take the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Thai massage this afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Driving: Approx. 5 hours (spread over the day)

Day 10 (Monday 22 November 2021):

Pai to Mae Wang
It’s time to say a fond farewell to your tuk tuk today as you return to base camp. Negotiating your final mountain bends you drop back towards the lowlands, passing through several small towns and villages before reaching Mae Wang in the late afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Driving: Approx. 6 hours (spread over the day)

Day 11 (Tuesday 23 November 2021):

Mae Wang to Chiang Mai
Today you head back to Chiang Mai, stopping to take in fabulous views of the city below from the famous Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. After checking into your central hotel, you can relax and enjoy a free afternoon before meeting up for your farewell dinner at a lively riverside restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12-13 (Wednesday 24 – Thursday 25 November 2021):

Chiang Mai to London
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to London.
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. While we do not anticipate changes, this itinerary may be subject to alteration due to flight schedules, hotel availability and other factors outside our control. During the trip itself the itinerary will depend on the group ability, weather and the daily circumstances. Any changes in the itinerary will be made in the interest of group safety and enjoyment. In-country, your guide and tour manager will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £295
and then either…

Self-funded: £1975

or

Sponsorship: £3950

or

Flexi: £1975 trip costs and £1975 sponsorship for a charity of your choice

SELF-FUNDED

This trip offers an exciting opportunity to have a adventure holiday whilst challenging yourself to the various activities involved. We therefore offer the option for you to pay the full trip costs yourself (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) like a normal holiday. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel ten weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

SPONSORSHIP

As this trip still involves a challenge (learning to drive a tuk tuk and navigating Thai roads is no mean feat!), we also offer an option for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to your chosen charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount your chosen charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.

FLEXI

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

What's included

  • Return flights from London
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Local transport and transfers in Thailand
  • All accommodation as mentioned
  • All meals as mentioned
  • Use of tuk tuk, driver training and mechanic
  • National park entrance fees
  • English-speaking guides and tuk tuk support crew
  • UK Different Travel Company Tour Manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Drinks, laundry and personal expenses
  • Spending money (tips and gratuities, souvenirs)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Personal trek kit
  • Travel insurance

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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