Tuk-Tuks, the infamous Thai rickshaw, are a symbol of the nation. So much so that in 2015 Miss Thailand wore a Tuk-Tuk dress (proof!). To the delight of her nation, it won her the best costume award at the Miss Universe competition.
BUT… Despite the international appeal, odds are you won’t see a Thai hauling a Tuk-tuk. And for good reason: Tuk-tuks are expensive, unsafe and most of the time very uncomfortable. Especially during the day when even the Tuk-Tuk is stuck in traffic and you’ll be in the searing heat from the sun combined with the surrounding exhaust gases.
Despite its obvious charm, the Tuk-Tuk is often associated with tourist traps. Sometimes a driver says he will take you for free, if you allow him to make one stop at a jewellery store. NEVER ACCEPT! It’s a scam that unfortunately many tourists have fallen for. In case of doubt: Don’t take a Tuk-Tuk. Already too late? Call the tourist police at 1155.
Any positives? Alright then… When it’s raining and there’s not a cab in sight, cut your loss and just hop in (expect to still get a little bit wet). We realise a Tuk-Tuk ride is on the bucket list of most Thailand goers. If you decide to take one, do it during the nighttime for a short-distance ride. Traffic will be quiet, so it should be a quick and comfortable ride. Enjoy the wind flow through the open cart. Always negotiate the fare before entering the Tuk-Tuk. Odds are you’ll get the initial rate down to 60%.
Perfect for: Crossing it off your bucket list. Do so during the night, when traffic is smooth. It’ll be refreshing.
Don’t use: If you’re easily scared by crazy driving. During the day, when you’ll be stuck in heat and exhaust gases.
How to book: You’ll have no trouble finding a Tuk-Tuk when you’re near any tourist hotspot (especially Kao San Road, Chatuchak Weekend Market and Patpong).