What is GetVanGo?
GetVanGo helps travellers to connect directly with independent minivan drivers.
What are minivans / minibuses?
The minivans in Thailand are typically made by Toyota (though there are also Hyundai and Nissan vehicles on the road). They're designed for carrying small groups of people (maximum 6-10) and their luggage, and offer a good degree of comfort. They are normally hired privately by the day complete with driver.
Why are minivans / minibuses a good way to get around Thailand?
Like hiring a self-drive vehicle, hiring a minivan with driver gives you the freedom to go where you want when you want, and to change your plan at will. Unlike self-drive, though, you don't have to worry about doing the driving - route-finding, parking, traffic regulations, accidents are no longer your problem. Instead you're free to relax as you move. (And you don't need to worry about that extra drink with lunch, either).
The drivers are locals who drive professionally - they have the local knowledge to help ensure you have a safe and comfortable journey. You'll probably find you can get a lot more done each day - whether it be tourism or business - than if you were driving yourself.
Finally, with a fairly low fixed cost (not much more than a mid-range car), this is one of the best deals in Thai travel. Especially as a group grows.
What area does GetVanGo service?
GetVanGo is a new operation based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We're piloting our service here. Pickups can be arranged in and around Chiang Mai city, and you can travel anywhere in North and North-Central Thailand. We'll soon be expanding to other provinces in Thailand - next up will likely be Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya.
Can you take us to Bangkok / Phuket?
No. Our service covers North Thailand, We can take you to provinces around North Thailand, but we cannot take you to Bangkok (Central Thailand) or Phuket (the South) and this time.
How do I book?
Fill in the booking form on our website. You'll tell us how many vans you want and for how many days, along with the time and place you wish to be picked up. You can also add any special requests you might have. Finally, you'll need to give us a valid credit card. We don't charge this until two days before your trip departs.
If this is your first time booking, we'll ask that you create an account too. You can do this using Facebook to login or with an email address and password. This is important so we can keep you updated about your booking.
We're only 2 or 3 people? Is this good for us? Isn't a van too big for a couple or small family?
This service is great even for a small group. It's not unusual for couples (even individuals with lots of luggage) to rent minivans. You'll have plenty of space to spread out, so should have a very comfortable journey.
Can I use this for a one-way trip from Chiang Mai to Pai? How does the fuel surcharge work for that?
Yes, you can use our service to get from Chiang Mai to Pai - the driver will take you there and then return to Chiang Mai alone. Simply book a van for one day. When you get to Pai, the driver will refuel. You'll pay two times the fuel cost - to cover the fuel used on the journey there and the fuel for the driver's trip back to Chiang Mai. Costs vary, but you should expect the fuel to be no more than 1,500 - 2,000 Baht.
Fuel for one-way trips: regardless of where your trip starts and ends, the van will originate in Chiang Mai with a full tank of fuel, and the tank must again be full when the van returns to Chiang Mai after service.
Can you provide an airport transfer at the start/end of my trip? Can you pick us up at the airport?
There are numerous options for airport transfers. Airport transfers are quite easy and cheap to arrange when you arrive at Chiang Mai airport. Costs are a few hundred baht per taxi for most destinations in downtown. Many hotels will also offer to pick you up if you are staying with them (sometimes for a fee).
If you would like the additional convenience of using our service to get from the airport to your hotel (or vice-versa) then you can book your van for an extra day. You can request an airport pickup straight from your flight.
What happens after I book?
Once you book, we'll show you your booking on screen and also email you confirmation of your booking. We'll then start looking for an available driver to service your trip. Depending on supply and demand (and the current time in Thailand) this can take anywehere from a few minutes to a day or so.
When a driver is found, your booking record will be updated with the driver's details. We'll also send you an email about this.
Around 72 hours before your pickup, we'll email you a reminder about your pickup details, and notification that we'll be charging your card soon.
Two days before pickup, we'll attempt to charge your credit card. Assuming this is successful, we'll email you confirmation. If the charge fails, we'll contact you to arrange payment by some other channel. Note that your trip cannot be confirmed until we have received payment.
You can check our website at any time to see the latest updates to your booking - just login and visit the Your Bookings section.
When do I pay?
We'll automatically charge the credit card you provided two days before pickup for the per-day charge. This is typically 48 hours before the agreed pickup time, but may vary a little.
Extras (petrol/gasoline, driver-overtime) should be paid directlty to the driver at the end of the trip (or as agreed during the trip).
How much does fuel cost?
You will pay the actual cost of the fuel used. If your trip ends in another city (for example Pai or Chiang Rai), you'll also need to cover the cost of fuel to get the van back to Chiang Mai.
How much you can expect to pay depends on how far you go, how hilly the journey is, and how much load is in the van. As a rough guideline, and to help you budget, we've prepared a table listing typical fuel prices for journeys around Northern Thailand.
Is this service secure? Is my credit card secure?
Yes. All communication between your browser and our website is encrypted using SSL. Your credit card details are transmitted directly from your computer to our payment processor (Omise) who are fully PCI-DSS compliant to keep your data safe. We never see or store your credit card details.
How do I communicate with the driver without a guide to help? Do the drivers speak English?
We don't make any guarantees about the foreign language abilities of the drivers. But as full-time professional drivers, they are very familiar with servicing visitors from all over the world. They typically have at least some basic English skills, but more importantly they are very familiar with all the places you are likely to visit and the routes you will take. So you don't need to worry too much about communicating your plans.
Can you provide us with a guide?
No - we don't currently offer this service. We believe that for many people a guide isn't necessary to have a great trip around Chiang Mai and North Thailand. If you'd prefer a guide, then there are plenty of companies who are offering quality guided tours.
Can I get the driver's phone number?
In case you need to get in touch with your driver, you'll have his number 1 day before your trip starts. You can check it in Your booking page. It will show under the driver's picture.
What happens if no driver accepts my booking?
While we do our best to facilitate finding you a driver it can't always work out. If no driver is found by 24 hours before departure we'll let you know and cancel your booking. You won't be charged - and we'll be feeling pretty bad about the whole situation. We're doing our best to make sure this doesn't happen often.
Can I cancel?
You can cancel at any time. Cancellations before we charge your card (so, typically, more than 48 hours before pickup) are free of charge. You can cancel via the website.
Can I get a quotation and/or invoice?
Sure. Your booking page on the website includes a link to a printable quotation (before payment) and invoice (after payment).