Tuk Tuk Travel in Thailand

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Tuk TukTuk-tuks have become one of Thailand’s most recognisable transportation features, and can be found in most of the larger cities and tourist destinations like Phuket and Chiang Mai. So named because of the sound of their engine, these are motorized rickshaws and are popular amongst tourists for their novelty value. They are occasionally faster than taxis in heavy traffic as weaving in and out is easier, but generally about the same or slower.

Just like taxi drivers, the tuk-tuk drivers mostly come from Thailand’s poor Isaan (northeast) region and don’t have to undergo any training (some will not even have passed a driving test), so don’t be surprised if they sometimes have no idea where your destination is.

Here are some tips to keep in mind before you jump in a Tuk Tuk:

  • Be careful of the tuk-tuks ‘mafia’ around touristy areas, who often offer sightseeing tours and unsolicited help to take you places. The same rule applies to taxis.
  • Do take note that some of the tuks tuks driver will make a detour to some jewellery/gem shops along the way so that they can earn a voucher for free gas.
  • It’s essential to bargain the price with tuk-tuks before getting in. If you only ask after the ride, it’s likely to end in a request for an ridiculous fare which can obviously lead to an unpleasant situation.
  • Avoid taking a tuk-tuk during peak traffic hours. You don’t want to be stuck in traffic for hours, breathing in the hazardous exhaust fumes.
  • If possible, get your hotel to write in Thai the name and location of your destination on a slip of paper which you can give the driver.
  • Have a map written in both Thai and English, and point to the place on the map.
  • If one tuk tuk seems to not understand, then say never mind and try the next one.

When in Bangkok it’s worthwhile taking a tuk tuk – but only once and only for the experience.  Taxis, especially when the meter is used will always work out a cheaper option.

Tuk Tuks in Thailand



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Updated: December 16, 2010 by admin

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