BANGKOK, 20 July 2017: Diethelm Travel Group has unveiled for the first time a self-drive tuk tuk tour that features in one-day to 11-day tour options in the northern city of Chiang Mai.
Usually tourists sit in the back of the three-wheel vehicles and the driver-cum guide conducts an impromptu city tour.
In Diethelm’s latest tour version, the visitor drives their very own hired tuk tuk with two other paying guests sitting in the rear seat.
Diethelm Travel says its self-drive tuk tuk experience has never been offered as a travel option in North Thailand. The noisy ‘samlor’ (three wheels) is usually powered by a two-stroke engine and has minimum suspension resulting in a very uncomfortable ride. But its fun.
The better more expensive versions of the tuk tuk come with four-stroke 600cc engines and are quieter, but considered less authentic.
Diethelm Travel is using them for adventure trips to visit rural villages and ‘ethical’ elephant homes, with a stop for a traditional Thai lunch and even bamboo river rafting.
The tour company will have to use a black plate tuk tuk as opposed to the green plate vehicles that are used as taxis.
All drivers must be 18 years old or older and hold a valid manual driving licence from their home country. Diethelm Travel needs to clarify this claims as the law states drivers of three wheel vehicles need an appropriate licence issued by Thailand’s Land Transport Department.
Once everyone has mastered the art of driving through a safety briefing and tuk tuk driving lesson, the journey begins in earnest with a convoy of tuk tuks following the lead guide along rustic roads, through farming villages and past traditional temples.
Travellers can also choose extended group programmes for five or even 11 days. In addition to visiting the elephants and driving around the outskirts of Chiang Mai, the five-day Northern Thailand Self-Drive Tuk Tuk Adventure experience also takes travellers to the top of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest peak, with overnights in homestays and a day spent trekking.
The 11-day Northern Thailand Self-Drive Tuk Tuk Adventure itinerary builds on the five-day option giving travellers even more opportunities to drive through the mountainous north, plus plenty of time to explore at leisure, lounge by hotel pools and spend time in the charming town of Pai in Mae Hong Son province.
“We’re continually seeking immersive experiences that showcase more authentic insights for curious travellers,” said, Diethelm Travel Group product and contracting director Oscar Lopera. “With this in mind, we’re proud to be the only tour operator offering this product. Not only are these self-drive tuk tuk adventures completely unique, but they are also simply just fun – who ever thought they could visit Thailand and actually drive one of the country’s famous tuk tuks?”
Drivers of the iconic tuk tuk must have a valid type 3 licence for a private three-wheel vehicle issued by the Land Transport Department.