Tuk Tuk’s In Thailand: What you need to know

credit: Yay

Tuk-tuks are a popular transportation mode in Southeast Asia. The Tuk Tuk originated from the rickshaw, and many began calling it a Tuk Tuk because of the sound the motors made. There are many variations of this quirky vehicle, including electric ones. But how popular are Tuk-tuks in Thailand?

Tuk tuks are very popular in Thailand and are one of the most widely used forms of transport. Tuk tuks are used by locals and tourists to travel around the city. These three-wheeled scooters have been around since the twentieth century and have become somewhat of an icon in Thailand.

Related: What To Wear In Thailand (And What Not)

What Does Tuk Tuk Mean In Thailand?

In Thailand, a Tuk Tuk is a three-wheeled motorized vehicle, similar to a scooter, that offers tourists a unique travel experience. Modern Tuk tuks have open sides with a roof or cloth covering to protect passengers from the sun.

Most Tuk tuks can accommodate two to three passengers and travel between 12 and 24  miles per hour.

Tuk-tuks are not the fastest mode of transport but are more of an attractive experience for those wanting to explore the city or go on a Tuk Tuk tour.

What Is Another Name For A Tuk Tuk In Thailand?

When Tuk tuks were first introduced in Thailand, they were called ‘Samlor,’ which means “three-wheeled vehicle.” Most people call them Tuk tuks today, but if you’re traveling to Thailand, some people may call them three-wheelers, moto-taxis, trishaws, samosa, or bajaj.

Is A Tuk Tuk Cheaper Than A Taxi?

Many travelers think a Tuk Tuk is cheaper than a taxi, but in most instances, it will cost the same or more. Tuk Tuk drivers often inflate the prices of a ride, especially if they know you’re a tourist.

While there’s no way of getting around the price hikes, it’s crucial to know the average costs of trips, so if you come across a Tuk Tuk driver who has inflated their price, you can negotiate with them for a fair price.

How Much Does A Tuk Tuk Cost In Thailand?

The cost of a Tuk Tuk ride starts at 50 or 60 baht for tourists. Locals pay a lot less at roughly 30 or 40 baht per ride. When using a Tuk Tuk, ensure the driver charges per ride and not per person.

If they charge per person, the cost of the ride should be less than 60 baht (depending on the distance.)

In the backseat of a Tuk Tuk in Thailand
Yay In the backseat of a Tuk Tuk in Thailand

How Common Is A Tuk Tuk In Thailand?

Tuk tuks are very common in Thailand. They are not only used to transport tourists and locals but are also used to transport fresh produce and other goods. There are close to 20,000 tuk-tuks in Thailand, which slowly increases yearly.

Recently there has been a rise in the demand and production of electric tuk-tuks to minimize carbon emissions in Thailand.

Electric Tuk Tuks In Thailand

The familiar brightly colored tuk-tuks in Thailand are slowly being replaced by more energy-efficient versions. These electric versions are better for the environment and significantly reduce the amount of pollution expelled into the air.

The electric version of the tuk-tuk operates silently and does not release any emissions. Additionally, the electric tuk-tuks are slightly bigger, and tourists can easily hop on one of these through the ride-hailing app Muvmi.

Is A Tuk Tuk Safe For Tourists In Thailand?

Tuk tuks are not safe for tourists in Thailand. Tuk tuks do not have seatbelts or doors, and although they don’t travel fast, there is no protection for the passengers.

This form of transport doesn’t have the best reputation, and many tourists fall victim to scams or purse snatching when traveling by tuk-tuk.

It’s best to avoid traveling by tuk-tuk during peak hours. If you need to travel during this time, rather opt for a taxi.

Tips On Staying Safe While Riding A Tuk Tuk

the most important tip on staying safe while riding a tuk-tuk is to avoid riding them when you’re going on a long trip or when driving in traffic.

Long journeys by tuk-tuk in traffic are terrible for your health, and you’ll be taking in lots of toxic fumes during rush hour and on congested roads.

Tuk tuks in Thailand
Yay Tuk tuks in Thailand

Here are a few tips to stay safe while traveling by tuk-tuk:

  1. Avoid overcrowded tuk-tuks. Avoid getting into a tuk-tuk if there are already two other people in the tuk-tuk. You don’t want to be cramped; too many people in one tuk-tuk is unsafe.
  2. Don’t take a tuk-tuk when it’s raining. The roads in Thailand are very slippery when wet, and these are hazardous conditions to drive in for a tuk-tuk.
  3. Be on the lookout for scams. Tuk-tuk drivers may offer you a cheaper ride and offer to take you to temples, markets, and attractions that aren’t as well known. In fact, these places have items that are overpriced, and the drivers usually get a cut for bringing tourists there.
  4. Agree on the price beforehand. Before riding a tuk tuk talk to the driver and agree on a rate for the ride. Negotiate if you feel the price is inflated, and make sure you’re happy with the price before you start your ride.
  5. Scope out the driver. Most tuk-tuk drivers are licensed and trustworthy, but there are some which you need to be cautious of. If the driver seems too pushy and less polite, rather opt for another driver.
  6. Keep your belongings close to you. When riding in a tuk-tuk make sure you keep your belongings closeby and safe. Some thieves prey on tourists and bag snatching often happens when you least expect it and while you’re in a tuk-tuk.

Can Tourists Drive A Tuk Tuk In Thailand?

If you love being in a tuk-tuk but prefer to do the driving, you can get a tuk-tuk driver’s license in Thailand. There are also numerous courses that teach tourists how to drive a tuk-tuk.

The roads in Bangkok can be a scary place to drive, so if you plan on taking a course in tuk-tuk driving, ensure it includes some hands-on experience from a qualified instructor so you know how to navigate the busy roads.

In Thailand, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. This can take some time to get used to, especially if you’re from a country that drives on the right-hand side of the road.

Can Tourists Take A Tuk Tuk Tour In Thailand?

Tuk tuks are not just for exploring the city and traveling to various attractions; they are also used for tours. Many tourists want authentic experiences when they travel to other countries.

Tuk-tuk tours are immersive and allow tourists to explore the city and experience authentic Thai culture and cuisine.

Some of the tours on offer include a tuk-tuk night tour, where tourists will explore the city of Bangkok and visit various markets while indulging in traditional Thai dishes. Guided day tours focus on visiting places like Chinatown, Golden Mountain, Metal Castle Temple, and the Flower Market.

Most tuk-tuk tours are guided tours and include transfers and some meals. Tour guides pick up visitors from their hotels and then take them on the tour.

Tourists can also take advantage of the hop on hop off tuk tuks where you pay once and can hop on and off the tuk-tuk as you like and travel at your own pace. Many hop on hop off tours is around Bangkok’s old town and the main attractions.