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Bizarre roadtrip: Belg gaat van Thailand naar België in een TukTuk

Roadtrip van Thailand naar België in een TukTuk

Bizarre roadtrip: Belg gaat van Thailand naar België in een TukTuk

Roadtrip van Thailand naar België in een TukTuk


Reizen, dat is voor de Belgische Sylvain Tihon zeker weggelegd. Hij heeft al in veel verschillende landen gewoond en veel reiservaring opgegaan, maar heeft nu wel een heel bizar idee. Hij wil namelijk in een TukTuk van Thailand naar België reizen. Een hele bijzondere roadtrip, vind je ook niet? Wij van Liefde voor Reizen mochten hem interviewen en wilden graag weten hoe het idee is ontstaan, waar hij naar uitkijkt en hoe het proces tot nu toe gaat?

Can you introduce yourself, who is Sylvain?

My name is Sylvain Tihon and i come from Belgium.. at least thats what it says on my passport. Belgian blood, but born in Zambia, then lived in South Africa, Rwanda, backpack through South America in 2012, and finally Belgium and Japan for architecture studies. I am passionate about the DIVERSITY of the world we live in and what it has to offer; the costumes, the culture, the people, and the notion of what we call “HOME”. Everyone has their own version of HAPPINESS, what they value, and how to live a fulfilling life.

Sylvain Tihon
Sylvain Tihon

I share two main passions; travel, architecture, mmh and maybe food.

– You want to drive from Bangkok to Brussel with a TukTuk, how did the idea come about?

Yes ! that is my vision ! The idea actually came from the melding of architecture creative thinking, and traveling. A reflection on what are the different ways of traveling (going from point A to point B), and what they bring to the overall experience.

I don’t want to just drive, I would like to meet, to engage, and to get a better grasp of the reality of daily life; I would like to spend time. To do so, I looked at all the different mediums one can use to travel and what they would bring to the experience socially, mentally and physically.

I wanted something challenging, exciting, and fresh.  Something that corresponded to my values.

– Why do you choose for a TukTuk and no other vehicle?

Walking was too slow. The car, while bringing the element of comfort, goes way too fast, and gives the feeling of being in a metal box (a spectator to the context). The feeling of freedom of the motorbike was something that fascinated me. The speed of the bicycle seemed ideal, it would give the opportunity to meet local people on the way, but solo would be mentally too difficult. Finally, using local transportation lost the aspect of being independent.

Ironically, I realised one day that the TukTuk combined most the elements I was looking for. It brought the sense of comfort, at an enjoyable speed (70km/hr) to engage with the local population, and also brought the sensation of freedom. I was still very dreamy and naïve at this moment, not realising the amount of organization and preparation that would later take months to put together. The tuktuk is basically not made for long distances and crossing boarders.

– When do you start this amazing journey?

The tuktuk is almost primed and ready to go, just needs a few finishing touches to go. Heading out December!

– Can you tell us more about the TukTuk, is it yours?

The Tuktuk is indeed all mine 🙂 Through careful research, I found a small reliable Tuktuk Factory located South of Bangkok that had some experience in this. They are the guru’s of Tuktuks. Once i got in contact with them back in Belgium, that’s when the adventure really started. Negotiations were tough, and it wasn’t until i booked a flight and arrived at the factory in the main office that he believed i would really do it. Surprised at my conviction, he was bluffed, and after many drinks and fine dining we finally came to a decision of making it happen. It is interesting how a cold one can bring two people together.

– How long did the preparation take?

You wont believe the amount of research, calls, and set backs that went into the preparation, not to mention the ongoing battle to get it on the road. To give a small idea, it took around 5months before even arriving in Thailand, and little did i know, it would take another 3 whole months to get the wheels turning.

– Did you have issues during the process?

A lot, the idea seems simple; driving a tuktuk from Thailand to Belgium, but in order to make it a reality it is not easy. It was kind of a Utopique dream in search of freedom, but this freedom would have to have margins. This is just not possible, there are regulations and laws that govern each country and make it very difficult to do so.

– Why do you start in Bangkok, is there a reason behind it?

Living in Japan for one year as an exchange student was my first taste of Asian culture. It made me realize that there is so much more to experience in this world. There was something about South East Asia that really caught my attention. It is distinct to anywhere around the world and seemed to correspond to some important values I shared. It is also where you can find a huge amount of Tuktuks ! and that was the final selling point !

A SYMBOL of Thailand, this three-wheeler machine is as if it came from a DREAM. It is the fusion of a car and a motorcycle; best of both worlds. Seduced by the TukTuk and what it could bring to the trip I decided I had to build one and drive it from Bangkok all the way back to Belgium (home) in 18 countries for around 8 months.

Hearing about Thailand for many years, it seemed right to start here in South East Asia. It is an incredibly beautiful country with its serene islands and lush vegetation of the north. Masse tourism is not really my thing though, i am curious to uncover some hidden areas of the country.

– What do you look forward to the most?

Camping into the wild, the unknown, getting to know the animal hidden inside of me, meeting incredible people, hopefully sleeping at their houses, and simply observing and living the incredible landscapes of this world. After all, we only live once, why not make it an awesome one !

Goede voorbereiding voor de TukTuk trip
Goede voorbereiding voor de TukTuk trip

– Which setbacks are you most afraid of?

Not keeping up with my social media. Haha

It is hard to pin point what i am most afraid of, but when it all comes down, THE UNKNOWN is probably the scariest as well as most enriching part of the trip.

– How much time do you have for the TukTuk journey?

I expect to be on the road for around 7-8months to fully accomplish the trip.

– How long will you stay at one place?

No one knows, and thats the incredible part of this journey.

– Where can we follow you during the trip?

On Facebook or Instagram

Zou jij trouwens zo’n roadtrip kunnen maken?

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