Tuk-tucks are an exciting form of transportation found in Thailand.
They’re three-wheeled, open-air vehicles that can seat two people at once. The basic model has only one opening window, but newer versions come with side curtains which provide more protection from sun exposure while still allowing some light inside.
Tuk Tuk is cheap taxis in Thailand and the only way to get around some places.
If you’re traveling on a budget, Tuk-tucks are the best choice for you.
They’re also popular among tourists because they allow them to take in all of the beautiful sights while saving money that would’ve otherwise been used on taxis or other forms of transportation.
Common Scams to Avoid
When you’re looking for a ride from one place to the other, you’ll often come across drivers who offer excessive pricing because they think that tourists are unaware or simply want it done quick. Locals, on the other hand, understand this isn’t always accurate!
If you’re ever unsure, negotiate the price before getting in the tuk-tuk.
It’s a common fraud for drivers to mislead tourists by claiming that their hotel is located in a particular zone and thus needs to be paid an inflated price.
Another common scam is for drivers to pretend that they have no change. If paying with a hefty bill, make sure you get all your change back!
Benefits of using Tuk-Tuks
There are many benefits to using tuk-tuks for taxis in Thailand. One of the biggest is price.
Tuk-tuks are much cheaper than other forms of transportation, so they can be a great way to get around when you don’t want to spend money on something like a taxi or Uber.
Also, they are great for getting around in heavy traffic.
Tuk-tuks are perfect for short trips, but they generally aren’t very comfortable for longer.
Lastly, tuk-tuks are a fun and unique way to get around if you’re traveling solo.
Meeting other people who share the same interest is easy when you can talk about your common means of transportation!
Downsides of using Tuk-Tuks
Although tuk-tuks are incredibly cheap and a great way to get around, there are some significant downsides.
The first is comfort.
Even if the ride only lasts 5 minutes, it can feel like an eternity in a tuk-tuk as they’re not comfortable for long periods.
Another downside is how loud they are.
Tuk-tuks tend to make quite a lot of noise, so you might want to bring earplugs if you’re sensitive to noise!
Also, like many modes of transportation in Thailand, tuk-tuks can be incredibly dangerous. Ensure that the driver is experienced and has good reviews before hopping into the car.
Last, there is no AC inside the tuk-tuk, so if you’re traveling in the summer, it can get hot pretty quickly.
Cost of Tuk-Tuks
A tuk-tuk ride can be as cheap as 100 baht, but like many other forms of transportation in Thailand, the accurate price is open to negotiation.
As a foreigner, they might try to rip you off, so it’s good to know roughly what the fair price is before getting in.
If it seems too high a price, you can always walk away and find another tuk-tuk. Usually, they’ll come chasing after you offering a lower price than your last offer!
The average fare for a short trip is around 200 baht, but the exact price will depend on your bartering skills and how much you’re willing to spend.
Tuk-Tuks vs private cars
Private cars are much more comfortable than tuk-tuks, but also much pricier.
If you’re looking for something cheaper, tuk-tuks are the way to go. If comfort is your priority, then a private car is probably better.
Remember that tuk-tuks are plentiful for short trips whereas private cars are better for long ones.
If you’re going somewhere far, a private car might be better for you. If going somewhere nearby, a tuk-tuk is probably the way to go!
How to Get a Cheap Tuk Ride?
The best way to get a cheap tuk ride is by haggling your price.
Even if you don’t think the tuk-tuk driver will lower the cost, it’s always worth trying! It doesn’t hurt to ask for a better deal, and who knows, they might decide to take pity on you and leave with a lower fare!
Also, walking away can be a good tactic as well.
While most tuk-tuk drivers won’t lower their price for being turned down once before, they might if you walk away and then come back to them later with a lower offer!
A fair price to cross town in Bangkok is about 200 baht.
How did the Thai tuk-tuk get its name?
The Thai version of the tuk-tuk is a modified version of a Japanese three-wheeler called an auto-rickshaw. The name “tuk-tuk” is a Thai language combination of the words for three (“tuck”) and engine (“tohk”).
From there, tuk-tuks became famous for carrying tourists around the city since they are cheap and fun to ride in. Tuk Tuks evolved into a three-wheel taxi found all over Thailand, no matter your destination.
The tuk-tuk is now an iconic symbol of Thailand, and the country wouldn’t be the same without it!
Other countries also use this unique form of transport: in Cambodia, it’s called remorque-moto, in Laos, a two-wheeled tractor.
Tuk Tuks alternatives in Thailand
When considering transport methods in Thailand, many visitors tend to think of tuk-tuks first.
But there are plenty of other options to get around the Kingdom these days!
It’s time you got acquainted with all your transportation options in Thailand! If you think tuk-tuks are the only non-tourist mode of transportation in town, think again!
Motorbike taxi/motorcycle taxi
For both short and long distances, motorcycle taxis are another great option. They are more reasonably priced than tuk-tuks, even though they cost a little more than songthaews.
The average price for a motorcycle taxi is 10 to 20 baht. A few tips for taking a motorcycle taxi:
- Sit behind the driver, not on the passenger seat
- Don’t wear a skirt or dress
A driving license is not always adhered to by all drivers. If you want to be safe, make sure the driver has his full driving license visible.
Motorbike taxis are permitted to drive on the sidewalk, especially when oncoming traffic, so watch out!
But they are not allowed to ride in bus lanes or on the same roadside as buses.
Songthaews (red truck)
Songthaews are public transport vehicles that look like pickup trucks with benches in the back.
They transport people in rural areas, but you can also find them in towns and even on busy city roads.
A songthaew has two rows of seats opposite each other, facing the direction opposite to that in which the vehicle moves (thus enabling passengers to enjoy views not available to the driver).
Songthaews are more comfortable than tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis, but they cover fewer city districts.
Long-distance buses are probably the best way to get to places not served by trains or flights. You can also find minibusses that travel between towns in the countryside, but these are much slower than songthaews and public transit vans.
Train travel in Thailand is relatively slow, but it sure is the most eco-friendly option. The State Railway of Thailand operates intercity train routes reasonably priced, considering how slowly they move.
A Bangkok to Chiang Mai ticket costs around 25$ and takes almost 13 hours!
Rent a Motorbike
Renting one is an option for those who feel confident enough to drive a motorbike. (Here is my article about Renting a scooter in Thailand)
You can rent them from locations all over town, and the average price is 200 baht per day for 125 cc bikes or 250 – 300 baht for 150 cc motorbikes.
Just make sure your travel insurance covers riding a motorcycle.
Renting a car is another alternative, but it’s not recommended because of the traffic situation in Thailand. The best way to explore this country is on two wheels!
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