Tuktuk , an exotic method of transportation in Bangkok as well as all across Thailand, is a three-wheeler motor-powered rickshaw pretty much similar to the ones one can see in other parts of Southeast Asia. Thai tuktuks are normally more spacious and cleaner than their counterparts from India or Cambodia, for example. They accommodate three people without luggage, but in practice, fitting thrice as much is possible.
Tuk-tuk got its funny name thanks to the sound its engine produces. The noisiest of all Bangkok vehicles, it is surviving mostly on its fame with tourists craving for a novelty experience. Locals rarely use them, preferring more convenient ways to get around. But most Thailand visitors, especially first-timers, consider them as a must-try, not intimidated by the notorious reputation this transport has got over the past decade.
Since tuktuk is an open-cab type of vehicle, it offers no pollution and heat protection, and is potentially dangerous in comparison with a taxi. Its speed capacity is quite limited, too, but occasionally, they can be faster than taxis due to their ability to weave in and out between bigger vehicles, stuck in heavy traffic. Generally, they are a good alternative for short trips, but anybody, intending to travel in a three wheeled ride the whole day, should be prepared for quite a tiring experience.
They are normally concentrated in popular tourist areas, especially the ones unreachable by metro or Bangkok skytrain – around big temples, in China Town, Pahurat Indian market, etc. Since all of them are unmetered, it is essential to negotiate the price of the trip before, and bargaining hard is almost always a must. Agreeing to the initial price will mean paying much more than a taxi fare would be. Bringing the price down is not difficult and a couple of basic Thai phrases can really be helpful as most tuktuk drivers can't speak English.
It is also important to make sure that the driver knows the destination; many tuktuk drivers in Bangkok Thailand came from provinces and still don't know the city well. Not uncommon are the cases when the passengers were taken to wrong destinations deliberately – usually, in attempt to pressure them into visiting gem, handicraft and silk shops, or certain restaurants, where the overpriced goods include the driver's commission for bringing a new customer. Visitors should avoid offers of cheap sightseeing as it will invariably mean waste of time hopping from one shop to another.
Normally, the negotiated price is all the passenger is expected to pay, meaning that tuktuk drivers are not tipped. However, it depends on each client's satisfaction with the service he/she has got, and a little extra to the agreed fare is always welcome.
With all the disadvantages of this three-wheeled ride, there are still plenty of tourists who find a ride in a highly noisy and bumpy vehicle a fun experience, even if it means breathing polluted Bangkok air, sweating in the heat, and getting lost in labyrinths of narrow sois. Traveling by a tuktuk does add a pinch of adventure to the whole Bangkok experience and is definitely something to write home about.
Taxis in Bangkok Affordable and Convenient
Bangkok Skytrain A Combination of Convenience and Efficiency
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