Tuk Tuk, Practically The simple Thai tuk tuk is the country’s national symbol, and it is at the core of the country’s real experience for the vast majority of tourists. Of course, the tuk tuk is also a very useful method of transportation for the people who live in Thailand.
There’s nothing quite like the rush of taking a spin through the streets of Bangkok in one of these open-air, three-wheeled vehicles. Tuk tuks are also essential to Expique’s one-of-a-kind excursions and experiences, such as our signature Bangkok tuk tuk tours, which are a great example.
In This Post
- Tuk-tuks are three-wheeled open vehicles that are popular in Thai cities.
- Tuk-tuks are often as costly as or more expensive than metered taxis.
- Tuk-tuks provide a fun and unique travel experience and are an excellent mode of transportation for short distances.
- When traveling by tuk-tuk, it is essential to be cautious of typical scams and to negotiate the price with the driver ahead of time.
Tuk Tuk originally called “Sam Lor” (meaning “three wheels”), Tuk Tuks are the modern-day equivalent of the traditional cycle rickshaw. Sam Lor was first introduced to Thailand in 1933 and has been around ever since. They were, however, prohibited from entering the main streets for security reasons.
Afterward, Thailand began to import motorized auto-rickshaws from Japan starting in 1960. They were created to be a viable alternative to bike rickshaws.
Tuk tuks are said to have gotten their unusual moniker from the sound of their engines, which is a bit of a stretch. When uttered in Thai, the word is pronounced with a soft beginning consonant that is halfway between the letters “t” and “d.”
How Do Locals Use Tuk Tuks?
Many people believe that tuk tuks are just for tourists. This is not always true. In the same way that we regularly see gangs of motorcycle taxis waiting in front of the gates of tourist-oriented sites.
Tuk tuks remain popular for transportation and delivery, even though there are other choices available, particularly in Bangkok, among the local population. Visitors visiting fresh markets should expect to see tuk tuks loaded with fruits and vegetables as they arrive. Vendors make up the majority of their regular consumers. Many children also use tuk tuks to go to school in the early morning hours.
Bangkok Tuk Tuks
The large number of tourists visiting Bangkok are only familiar with the typical yellow-and-blue tuk tuks that may be seen at popular tourist spots. Tuk tuks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they may be found all around the city. Some are bigger, equipped with six-seater miniature trucks, and they patrol the roads in more local, residential neighborhoods.
While most tuk-tuks in tourist areas operate on a private-hire basis, these more local “tuk-tuks” operate on a shared basis, transporting passengers up and down pre-determined, very restricted routes in a shared vehicle. In other circumstances, it’s only a matter of going from the top to the bottom of often very lengthy highways, and then back again.
Even in the most remote parts of the metropolitan Bangkok region, such as the Pak Kret district, you’ll discover the modest rickshaw, also known as the sailor, which was the tuk tuk’s forebear.
These cars are not driven by engines, but rather by the driver pedaling on a bicycle at the rear of the vehicle.
Tuk Tuks Around Thailand
As you go farther out from Bangkok, you’ll see even more differences in tuk tuk design.
The green tuk tuks in Trang and Ayutthaya provinces are among the most well-known of the country’s transportation options. They were given this name because their look is comparable to that of a frog’s head.
Other less-visited provinces, as well as upcountry tourist hubs like as Kanchanaburi, are likely to have a different style of tuk tuk on the road. They look more like modified motorcycles than anything else. Seating is provided on the back or side of the bike and maybe either cushioned or made of wood to seem like a bench.
When you go to famous islands like Phuket and Koh Pha Ngan, you’ll notice that the songtaew-style shared trucks are significantly bigger in size. They can transport a large number of people. Despite this, you will very certainly be charged the same fee as you would have paid for a private tuk tuk trip in Bangkok or anywhere else in Thailand.
How To Take a Tuk Tuk In Bangkok
While tuk tuks are a terrific way to move about Thailand, there are some bad apples among Bangkok’s tuk tuk drivers who defraud passengers.
The main point is to always agree on the price of your journey before boarding the tuk tuk.
Your driver will most likely offer an initially exorbitant rate, expecting that you would bargain with him or her to some extent. Tuk Tuks do not have meters.In general, will cost somewhat more than a cab. It should, however, not be significantly more expensive than the equal charge in a metered taxi.
Finally, take care of your valuables while riding and keep a watch out for bag-snatchers on passing motorcycles. You’re unlikely to become prey, but it’s always a good idea to remain on the lookout.
More information on Bangkok scams and how to avoid them may be found here: Scams In Thailand.
How Much Do Tuk Tuks Charge?
A tuk tuk trip may be the same price as, or considerably more costly than, a taxi ride over the same distance. There are various reasons for this. Cabs’ fees are computed by a meter, and all taxis (appear to) have the same standard. Some may even argue that the meter charge is too low, making it difficult for drivers to make a livelihood. Meanwhile, tuk tuks lack a meter and are charged a fee by the driver
Tuk tuk drivers know to who they can charge excessive charges, particularly first-time tourists who have no notion how much to pay. In general, this indicates there’s room to haggle a little bit, but always ask before you step in. For a short journey, most tuk tuks would charge about 50THB (40THB if you’re fortunate).
In tourist locations, you should also be wary of tuk tuks that promise you an extremely cheap (or even free) rate for a few hours. They will lead you to areas where they will get commissions.
Tuk tuks at regular pricing may be seen in local markets or non-touristy areas.
The Future of the Tuk Tuk
Tuk tuks are a symbol of Thailand and will undoubtedly be there for a long time.
However, the nature of the vehicle may alter, and there is now great discussion about exchanging/converting tuk tuks to electric variants. We’ll have to wait and watch how people respond and accept it.
Useful Tips for Using a Tuk Tuk
- Always settle on a fee before embarking on your tour.
- Keep an eye out for oil surrounding the tuk tuk since it might get on your clothing and never come off.
- When going on and off the tuk tuk, keep an eye out for sharp metal edges that might damage your clothing.
- Make sure you know where you’re going (if you don’t, use Google Maps).
- Never accept a free tuk tuk ride Because they aren’t.
- Designate one person to contact the tuk tuk driver and haggle with him.
- Unless you have no other option, avoid using tuk tuks in the rain.
- Ignore tuk tuk drivers who claim an attraction is closed.