Here at Rickshaw, we’re all about you.
Whoever you are, you most definitely will come in all manner of different shapes, sizes, and abilities – but nothing should get in the way of seeing the world. Now, we can’t do it all but what we can do is offer you as much freedom and flexibility as possible to personalise your travels so that your dodgy knee, delicate diet, or long-standing health condition needn’t stand in your way.
So, we do.
Earlier this year, I myself took Rickshaw up on that offer, along with my fiancée Rebecca, we set about planning our trip to Thailand.
Now I’ve spent the past ten years gallivanting all over the place from the temples of Bagan to rowing down the Ganges, but for Rebecca, things have been a little different. Since childhood, she has lived with M.E – a chronic health condition that amongst other things can leave her severely fatigued, in great pain, and at times with restricted mobility.
The impact not just on her health but on her lifestyle has been huge but with an itch to travel in need of scratching and a strong will at her disposal this was all set to change – and safely in the hands of Rickshaw.
“Having never been to Asia before, I was really keen for as big a variety of experiences as possible but I knew that if we weren’t smart with how we planned our time each day, that I could end up becoming really unwell and that could have a real impact later into our holidays.”
Rebecca needn’t have worried. Not only does having a travel specialist as a partner come in super handy at times, but travelling the Rickshaw Way was all she needed.
The Rickshaw Way
“Paul explained to me that of all of the bite-size trips to choose from, we could extend and upgrade the majority of them, so we picked out the ones we liked the best and decide how long we’d give ourselves in each place.
This was such a relief to me as we could plan what travelling we had to do to get around, bring a few ideas together about what we may want to do when we arrived, and then also factor in time to relax before moving on.
We gave ourselves an extra night in Bangkok and in Ayutthaya and I’m so glad we did. The two of us went out exploring but I was also able to rest, leaving Paul to wander out for a few hours by himself a day. The places we stayed in were great to spend time at and it was a nice balance of action and relaxation.”
Here at Rickshaw you set the pace, you choose what you do, and you decide how to travel – and we’re all on hand to provide you with expert advice to help you make such informed decisions. Whether it’s travelling by sleeper train along the Reunification Express in Vietnam, driving classic cars in Cuba, or jungle-lodging in the rainforests of Borneo – you can be brave knowing we’ve got your back.
For the two of us, we preferred to keep flying to a minimum and sample a few rail journeys instead. This meant more time on the ground, where the action is happening, and far easier on the energy levels. Railway stations can be fascinating places to witness local life too, as the world buzzes by around you.
“Whilst we were waiting to depart from Ayutthaya for the national park we were playing cards and befriended a lovely elderly man sat on the bench behind us. He spoke not a word of English and yet we just had a great laugh with him until our train arrived. It’s amazing how something so simple can leave such lasting memories.”
With all of the tickets pre-booked and drivers on standby, we effortlessly went on our journey. Having started with the bright lights of the capital Bangkok, we took a short train ride to Ayutthaya – the rather different former capital – to explore its ancient temples.
Ethical animal encounters? Elephantastic!
With the past and present taken care of, it was on again by rail to Khao Yai National Park for a taste of Thailand’s sprawling forestland and a glimpse of wildlife in its natural environment.
Elephants, monkeys, birds and butterflies if you’re lucky.
Which we were.
Now it’s not just her own health and wellbeing that’s of importance to Rebecca but that of all living creatures and critters around her. Fortunately, everyone here at Rickshaw is on the same page.
“Animal welfare is really, really important to me. There are so many issues that still require tackling in Thailand, especially around the treatment of elephants, and so not only was it absolutely amazing to witness an entire family herd in the wild but it was fantastic to have done so safe in the knowledge that it was done so in an ethical manner.”
Wildlife encounters can be exciting and intrinsic parts of experiencing a destination, but there is also a real need to ensure these experiences are carefully monitored to make sure animals, local communities, and travellers stay safe and happy.
Food for thought – travelling with dietary needs
Heading away to a foreign land can also be a challenge to your diet. What is gluten-free in Chinese? Lots of us have special requirements when it comes to what we eat whether down to taste, tolerance, or doctor’s orders.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, lactose-intolerant, wheat/gluten-free, or just have kids that prefer pizza – we’re here to listen and carry that message to all of your hotels, guides, and our team on the ground so that they can be accommodated as closely as possible.
For anyone with M.E, diet is especially integral to maintaining overall health and so it was hugely important to Rebecca that she could travel and eat with confidence.
“All of the places we stayed at knew before we arrived that I can’t eat wheat and I had plenty of choice for all of the meals that were provided to us. My favourite meal time was definitely breakfast as there were some really interesting traditional Thai dishes to try! In Ayutthaya, I was eating glazed pork and hot rice every morning.
I was a little worried before we left because I can’t eat wheat or potato and what I eat plays a big part in how I feel the rest of the day. However, once we were away it was clear that I needn’t have panicked as there was so much choice! Lots of rice and noodle dishes, incredible street food, and fresh fruit and vegetables everywhere.”
Variety, the spice of life!
Having felt the buzz of city life in Bangkok, taken a journey back in time to the ancient site of Ayutthaya, and gone in search of wild elephants deep within Khao Yai, we ended our holidays on the shores of Koh Chang – a relatively small island densely clad in mountainous forestry and located a few hours’ drive from the national park.
We’d upgraded our stay to a beach cabana and slept a stone’s throw from the white sands. We had also thrown in an extra couple of nights. After all, we were on holiday.
“First and foremost, I want my holiday to leave me feeling rejuvenated, both mentally and physically. As brilliant as the adventure had been up until that point, I couldn’t wait to simply unwind and recharge and what better way than on a tropical paradise island! I could just read, snooze, bathe and swim at my own leisure and occasionally I’d find the time for a massage or a decent cocktail. Absolute bliss!”