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Next Step Thailand (Travel with Joe) Cycling and Hiking Private Day Tours
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Private Day-Trip: Cycling and Trekking in Chiang Mai Countryside
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Next Step Thailand, previously known as Travel with Joe, was founded by Samart (Joe), a native of Chiang Mai who has 10 years experience in Thailand's tourism industry. With licensed, English-speaking local staff we provide a wide range of adventure and cultural enrichment to meet your travel needs. Each one of our staff holds special knowledge or skills in areas such as Thai cooking, ethnic hilltribe customs, Buddhist beliefs and more. We can customize your tour package to include exposure to any of our unique experiences. At Next Step Thailand, all activities and tours support the local communities by visiting only locally owned businesses (such as elephant villages or hilltribes), ensuring that your investment benefits the local people. We also donate 15% of all profits to support community projects, such as Share the Dream Project, which brings educational programs to hilltribe villages. Next Step Thailand supports the three strands of sustainability - social, economic and environmental. By supporting fair-trade practices in the community and paying our staff fairly, we have built a friendly, reliable and knowledgeable team who will go the extra mile to make your visit special. We also aim to be as environmentally responsible as possible and do everything in our power to ensure our operations do not have a detrimental impact on the environment.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
“Bend over backwards”
Reviewed March 2, 2014 via mobile

I was looking for a custom tour with a specific and unusual focus...I wanted to do home stays and arrange for local musicians to perform traditional Thai and hilltribe folk music.

I first contacted the top rated village home stay tour provider on Trip Advisor: Thailand Hilltribe Holidays. I don't know how they've earned their rating, but they were curt and unhelpful, completely disinterested in any actual customization to my interest. They told me arranging music performances would be next to impossible, but I got the sense they just didn't want to do any extra work beyond their pre-arranged tours to cater to my goals.

Then I tried Next Step Thailand and had the opposite experience. Samart bent over backwards to quickly arrange exactly the tour I wanted. He started with my priority, musical performances, and even though this had not been requested before, he managed to leverage his local contacts to arrange a private concert for every night of my tour (all of which were high quality, wonderful performances). And he arranged the entire thing in less than 48 hours of my initial request. My guide, Wasan, was extremely helpful and a fun tour companion. He translated conversations with the musicians, and even arranged for me to take a lesson with one of them, mixing up our itinerary last minute to accommodate an extra detour.

Next Step deserves the top rank IMO, and if you have any unusual interests you're pursuing you should certainly use them over Thailand Hilltribe Holidays.

Thank Mister_Opinions
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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168 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
“Spicy Good Time”
Reviewed February 28, 2014

Staying at Spicy Villas was, for me, the highlight of an unforgettable trip. Surrounded by the incredible mountains & by such welcoming & friendly people, it's the perfect place to relax & really absorb this beautiful culture. Not only was the food the best food I had in Thailand, but being a part of the cooking process made it that much better. The waterfall trek was long but so worth it; & the elephant riding was an exhilarating experience of a lifetime. I learned so much & laughed so much more. I really can't say enough good things about Samart & the rest of the Spicy family! My only regret is that I didn't stay longer. Spicy is such a special place & I can't wait to go back!

Visited February 2014
Thank Liz B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Spicy Villa Excursions”
Reviewed February 26, 2014

During my stay at Spicy Villa, I chose two of the excursions offered: the Elephant Experience and the Waterfall/Karen Village Trek. I was disappointed that the elephant experience was neither informative nor particularly bond-building as the website had suggested. I’d like to have had a scrub brush and bucket to properly “bathe” my elephant as I’d seen others doing, and been given the opportunity to do some of the fun poses I had seen in photos. As Spicy Villa partners with local mahouts, this is not completely in their control; however, I think expectations could be better managed.
Guide extraordinaire Boon, escorted myself and one other guest to a local Karen Village and to the site of a spectacular waterfall. Throughout the day he would point out interesting plants or insects. The Karen village was fascinating and held a few surprises for one who is not familiar with the culture. Despite the language barrier, it was fun to interact with the Karen women and their craftsmanship is superb. A delicious lunch was prepared at the waterfall over an open fire by Boon and a local villager.
Boon is quite handy with a machete and spied the perfect sling shot nestled in a bamboo tree. He whacked the stalk off the tree and whittled as we walked. By the time we got back to Spicy Villa, I had myself a sling shot--minus the rubber parts. A different guide was able to obtain the missing parts from the village the following day, which enabled Boon to finish it for me. It’s my favorite souvenir!

Visited January 2014
Thank QuinnTripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
spicypumpkin79, Owner at Next Step Thailand (Travel with Joe) Cycling and Hiking Private Day Tours, responded to this review, February 28, 2014
It makes me happy to see our guides getting positive feedback. We always try to make the experience of learning about hill-tribes and northern Thailand personal and unique for each guest.

I thought this review gives me a great chance to write something about elephant experience we offer.
Firstly it's good to point out that any interaction with animals greatly depends on the animals themselves. The elephants are not always playful and in a mood for tricks, they have their good and not so good days, same as humans.
We work with local mahouts because we like the way they spend the time with elephants, and know how they are feeling. If they see that an elephant is not in the best of moods, or not interested in doing something, they will not force him/her, but instead do something else.
There are a lot of camps where treatment of elephants is not good or even very bad, mahout there will not listen to their elephants, but to tourists instead, and they will force the animals to do what tourists want.
It is true that this gives the tourists a more uniform experience, but we chose not to cooperate with camps like this.
Maybe this leads to our guests not getting the same experience each time, and they should be aware of it.
That is why I am grateful for our guest to pointing this out in her review. It is something our future guests should be aware of, and we will also make sure to mention it on our websites.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 16, 2014

Samart and his crew have built something special here. My wife and I were hoping for an adventure to experience rural Thailand - and Spicy Villa delivered! The bike/hike tour up to the Spicy Villa was epic. The river tour and elephant riding was exhilarating. And the food at Spicy Villa was the best we had on our entire adventure through Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Railay Beach, and Koh Lanta. Hands down the best part of our trip.

Visited December 2013
Thank toowheels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beautiful Colorado
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Best. Week. Ever!”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

We are so very lucky to have found Spicy Villas, Samart, Tong and all the wonderful caring people of Spicy. Our group of 7 had the most incredible time - we trekked, helped at a school, rode elephants (twice!!), helped cook, relaxed, ate AMAZING food, played games in the evening, rafted, tubed, hiked, "helped" weave, visited temples, and in general had a blast!! Samart is so talented - not only has he created this paradise in the beautiful hills, but he cultivates gardens, coordinates volunteers, cooks, knows a million riddles, answers emails promptly, organizes trips and entertained us every step of the way!
We definitely fell completely in love with the entire Spicy experience...thank you!! We miss you already.

Visited December 2013
Thank Mtns4Sale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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