Tuk Tuks in Bangkok
5 Tips to Ride a Tuk Tuk in Bangkok
Tuk tuks or sam lor (3-wheeled) used to be everyone's favourite way of getting around Bangkok before the BTS, MRT and colourful taxis took over. Originating from the old-fashioned rickshaws, someone had the bright idea of saving themselves all the legwork by fitting a 2-stroke engine, creating a motorised rickshaw. The name 'tuk tuk' comes from the spluttering sound of those early engines.
Tuk tuks have become one of Bangkok's most recognisable transportation features and are still popular among tourists and visitors. Riding a tuk tuk is more of an experience than a practical way to get around. So, if it's your first time in The Big Mango, there's no harm in giving it a go.
How much does it cost?
Fares vary, depending on the distance travelled, the time of the day, the traffic, and the mood of the drivers. A very short trip starts from 30 baht but increases quickly for longer journies. To cross town will cost you at least 200 baht.
Fare negotiating and haggling is a must because the price named by the driver is always an 'inflated rate' (especially if you're a tourist). The trick is to not accept the first offer and try to reach a fair compromise.
Be wary of scams
Be careful of the scammy tuk tuks around touristy areas, which often boasts privileged knowledge of 'secret' or 'special' shopping places and things. Some of them may offer sightseeing tours and unsolicited help to take you places. A short and sweet "no, thanks" will save you from their scams. The same rule applies to taxis.
Don't ride during rush hour
Avoid taking a tuk-tuk during peak hours (7am to 9am or 5pm to 7pm). You don't want to be stuck in traffic for hours, sweating and breathing in the hazardous fumes from engines all around you.
Take short trips
Tuk-tuks are best suited to short trips. Often it would cost the same (or even be cheaper) to take a cab to the same destination, but the smaller and more nimble tuk tuk will go a lot faster.