If you’re on a holiday in Thailand and visit its capital, Bangkok, you’ll find an abundance of unique activities to undertake. Among the many exciting adventures awaiting you in the city affectionately known as “The Big Mango” is a tuk-tuk ride. Sometimes called sam-lor, tuk-tuks were once the favoured mode of transport in Bangkok before the colourful cabs crept in. But they are still in operation today. An evolution of the traditional rickshaw, the tuk-tuk takes the same concept but saves on legwork with the installation of a 2-stroke engine. These motorised rickshaws earned the name ‘tuk-tuk’ from the sound of the spluttering engines on early models.
Perhaps Bangkok’s most easily recognisable transport, tuk-tuks are exceptionally popular with city visitors. While riding in a tuk-tuk may be impractical, it offers an unforgettable and authentic Bangkok experience. Read on for some useful information to ensure you make the most of your urban adventure.
Cost and haggling
Tuk-Tuk fares vary wildly depending on the distances travelled, traffic, the time of day and even the mood of your driver.
Haggling and negotiating the price of a fare is essential when you’re a tourist, as drivers always start at an inflated rate. Never accept the first offer, and keep haggling until you’re happy.
Avoid scams by turning down tuk-tuk rides that promise “special” or “secret” tourist opportunities. Always answer simply with “no, thanks” in such instances.
Avoid rush hour rides
Riding during peak times like 7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 7 pm is unwise. Because you can quickly get caught in traffic during these times.
Not only will you pay more and get overheated, but you’ll also end up inhaling harmful pollution from other engines around you.
Make short trips
Without the comfortable seating or air-conditioning supplied by a taxi, it goes without saying that the best way to enjoy a tuk-tuk experience is over shorter distances. Exceptionally nimble tuk-tuk can often be a faster option than conventional cabs.
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