3-wheeling from Thailand to Denmark

It’s a 10 year old dream which will come true: To drive one of the polluting, noisy and funny-looking tuk tuks all the way from Thailand to Denmark.
     “We have big expectations to the trip,” Michael B. Pedersen says.
     He has travelled around in Asia, Iran and Turkey for six years and now works as a travel consultant in Jysk Rejsebureau in Aarhus in Denmark.
     “We believe that we can experience a lot of things, which ordinary travellers won’t. When we arrive in this crazy vehicle, we will meet the locals in a new, down-to-earth way where you can’t help smiling. The big adventures are often between the big tourist sights in the middle of nowhere. The journey itself – and not the destinations – will be the adventure.”
     On the journey, the tuk tuk will drive trough 15 countries, and the participants have many plans for the trip.
     “In Thailand we plan to see the bridge over River Kwai, dive outside Phuket, climb at the rocks above the beaches at Krapi and maybe take a one-day-trip to Burma from Ranong. And in Malaysia we hope to drive at Sepang’s Formel 1-track south of Kuala Lumpur and visit Taman Nagara National Park among other things. When we hit Singapore, our only goals are to drink a Singapore Sling and get the tuk tuk on a container ship to India. From here we will continue through Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Germany to Denmark,” tells Michael B. Pedersen.
     The tuk tuk should have left Bangkok February the 1st, but the paper work lasted much longer than expected before the participants could get the right permissions. That’s why the tuk tuk didn’t leave Bangkok before February the 8th. Michael B. Pedersen doesn’t think the delay will have any influence on the expected arrival to Denmark September the 1st.
     “Seven days doesn’t matter much in comparison to the scheduled seven months. We plan to drive 100 km. per day, and that seems reasonable,” says Michael B. Pedersen.
     “Michael and I will be on the tuk tuk all the way from Bangkok to Aarhus, but on the way there will be one to two other participants from joining us on shorter or longer distances,” tells Tina Helen Pedersen. She will write and take photos along the route, and their experiences can be followed at the website http://www.tuktuk.dk.
     “People are more than welcome to contact us through the website, if they can recommend some good sights or others,” Tina continues, who underline that one of the hopes for the trip is to meet Danes who lives in other countries.
     Jysk Rejsebureau’s tuk tuk differs a little from the ordinary ones in Bangkok’s streets. It runs on petrol instead of gas, and this makes the engine sound more or less like a car. The special tuk tuk sound is only vaguely recognisable. And then it is possibly the only tuk tuk with seatbelts.
     Jysk Rejsebureau has just got Guinness’ Book of Records’ approval to participate for “the longest journey by auto-rickshaw”, so if everything goes well, the tuk tuk journey will could be find in a future edition of the book.
     Jysk Rejsebureau started in Aarhus in 1984 and has had a service office in Bangkok since 1987. Since year 2000 the travel agency has had its own hotel with 58 rooms, a service office, a bar and 2 dormitories on Charoen Krung Road – close to the General Post Office.
     There are always 3 to 5 service guides working in Bangkok, and that is a success, tells Mogens Jacobsen, who owns Jysk Rejsebureau.
     “From January last year to the same month this year we have got an increase of 64 percent more travellers to Bangkok. Now almost half of our 24,000 travellers per year have Bangkok as their destination. And more than 60 percent of Jysk Rejsebureau’s costumers travel to Asia. Besides Thailand, we also have many travellers going to Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.”
     Almost all the costumers come from Denmark, but a few Norwegians have started to buy their journeys at Jyske Rejsebureau as well. Jysk Rejsebureau has five divisions in Denmark and five service offices in Asia. Besides the one in Bangkok they are placed in Kathmandu, Delphi, Hanoi and Bali.

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  1. […] “The most exciting has for sure been to meet the local people on the way. We have received a lot of attention and have been met by big smiles and incredible good will everywhere,” says Michael B. Pedersen and Tina Helen Pedersen.      The Danish couple is currently driving a Thai “tuk-tuk” – a motored rickshaw – all the way from Bangkok to Aarhus in Denmark. On the 18,000 kilometre journey they will drive through many different climates, cross deserts and pass mountains. In the course of the 7 month trip the tuk-tuk will pass 15 countries.      ScandAsia.com met Michael B. Pedersen and Tina Helen Pedersen after they reached Singapore – 3,000 kilometres from the starting point and with 15,000 kilometres left.      “It has really been a fantastic experience until now. When we left Bangkok on February 8, the Thai press turned out in large number, and we could watch ourselves on Thai TV Channel 7. On the street there were people who immediate burst into enthusiastic shouts pointing to our picture in their newspapers, when they saw us,” tells Tina Helen Pedersen.      And the attention has continued since.      “It’s kind of disappointing when we don’t have the tuk-tuk nearby. Then we are just ordinary tourists, and do not get this special attention,” she laments with a laugh.      In Singapore they were force to be just that, some “ordinary tourists”…      “When we came to the Singaporean border from Malaysia we were told that we were not allowed to drive into Singapore. It was very disappointing but in some way this seems more right. It would not be Singapore, if we had got permission to drive here,” Michael B. Pedersen says. Instead the tuk-tuk was moved by truck to a terminal waiting to be shipped by container ship to India, where the journey will continue.      On the way from Bangkok to Singapore the tuk-tuk has been at garage four times. Especially the breaks have caused problems.      “Twice it has been necessary to dismantle the front brake and fasten it with sticky tape to the bumper,” Michael B. Pedersen tells. He has been the driver most of the way.      “But also when we had problem with our tuk-tuk, we were overwhelmed by the friendly and helpful attitude of local people. After a really thoroughly check at a garage they did not want any money. As the repair man said: ”My boss has big heart, big as an ocean,”” Michael B. Pedersen says.      “We would like to have visited some Danes living in South-East Asia on our way, but unfortunately we have had no time for that. We hope that we on our further journey will have more time to meet people and spend less time driving on the road,” Tina Helen Pedersen says.      While local people have made the biggest impression so far, the tuk-tuk team also has passed many terrific places.      “To climb up the rocks above the beaches of Krabi was really exciting, not to mention to drive into the Formula One Racing track at Sepang South of Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately we were not allowed to drive on the track, but we drove the tuk-tuk down the pit-lane, and it was absolutely amazing,” Michael B. Pedersen recalls.      “We also visited Genting Highlands a little North of Kuala Lumpur. When we read about the place in a guide book, we did not notice it is actually a modern hill station on top of a hill. It was a challenge to get the tuk-tuk all the way up to the top. When we finally reached our goal we found to our bewilderment not an idyllic pearl – but Malaysia’s second largest hotel with 6,500 rooms which seemed like a Malaysian Disney World with indoor water complexes, amusement arcades and shopping malls. We were shocked,” Tina Helen Pedersen recalls.      The worst experience according to Tina Helen Pedersen was Phuket:      “That is the most disgusting place I have ever been to. Here you find only fat and pale European men surrounded by young Thai girls. I really do not understand, why tourists are travelling to the other site of the earth to experience that,” she says.      Michael B. Pedersen and Tina Helen Pedersen are the only one who drives the tuk-tuk all the way from Bangkok to Aarhus. The Danish travel agency Jysk Rejsebureau is behind the tuk-tuk journey, and Michael B. Pedersen work as a travel consultant in the travel agency, while Tina Helen Pedersen writes and take photos along the route. On the journey many other employees from Jysk Rejsebureau will join the tuk-tuk journey on shorter or longer distances.      “The tuk-tuk has had no empty seats until now. But later we hope to pick up some locals or Danes living abroad and let them drive with us. And maybe it will be broadcasted in Danish television – we already have contacts to a Danish TV-channel about this,” Michael B. Pedersen tells.      The tuk-tuk is expected to arrive to Aarhus in Denmark September the 1st – many more experiences richer. Links Tuktuk.dk – follow the tuk-tuk on it’s journey from Bangkok to Aarhus. In Danish http://www.tuktuk.dk Previous article at ScandAsia.com: 3-wheeling from Thailand to Denmark <http://scandasia.com/viewNews.php?news_id=715&coun_code=dk&gt; […]

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