No self-respecting photo gallery of Bangkok would ever be complete without showing at least one photo of Tuk-Tuks. These 3-wheeled motorbikes are used as a mode of public transportation in major cities throughout Thailand, much like you would use a taxi. Tuk-tuks in Thailand are named so because of the sound that their engine makes.
Designed much like a rickshaw, tuk-tuks in Thailand have the driver’s seat in front and the passenger area at the back. It can fit between 3 to 4 people, maybe more, but there is the possibility of the driver charging extra if that happens.
They can be conveniently faster during really bad traffic, as they can weave in and out easily of traffic jams. Generally Tuk-tuks are not much faster than a regular taxi, maybe even slower. Tuk-tuks can be found scattered all over Bangkok, Chiang Mai and other busy urban areas, however they are not as common in the provinces.
As many drivers of tuk tuks in Thailand have not undergone formal training, tourists should be aware for their own safety and hold on to something when riding on one. As they are fast and open-ended, they don’t offer passengers much protection at all.
Whilst paying for a ride is relatively inexpensive, there is still always room to negotiate!,if you speak a little Thai and roughly know the taxi faresaround the city, you have a chance of getting good value for your money.
Drivers will typically initially quote you a fare considerably higher than the norm, so you should remember to bargain & agree the price BEFORE getting in a tuk-tuk.
Many drivers of tuk-tuks in Thailand also offer “FREE” day tours and can take visitors to the popular attractions in Bangkok like The Grand Palace, Wat Prakao, Wat Arun and many others places of interest.
Usually, the tuk-tuk drivers in these cases can speak English and may act as tour guides. These day tours seem quite convenient, but be careful when the driver starts dropping you off in jewelry shops & other gift stores along the tour as they will be getting paid a percentage of what you buy, which may not always be good quality items.
Tourists are advised that it is much more fun to pay for the tu-tuk tour, and know EXACTLY where you are going before leaving your hotel with one.
Due to its loud noise and the amount of pollution that tuk-tuks in Thailand produce, locals are not too fond of them and there is apparently a ban on new ones in Bangkok, although this is not strictly enforced.
However, these mini-taxis remain popular with the tourists for the novelty value and if not for this, they may have been taken out of the streets a long time ago. As long as the tourists are keen to take a ride in them, the tuk-tuks in Thailand will remain “kings of the city roads”.