No trip to Bangkok would be really complete without a ride on one of its many Tuk Tuk. Tuk tuk in Bangkok are three wheeled rickshaw also locally known as “samlor”. It is said that its name originated from the screech noise released by its two stroke motorcycle engine, others instead believe that its name was coming from the Thai word ถูก which literally means cheap-cheap which may not always be the case in modern Bangkok.
It’s common for first riders to feel breathless, full of adrenaline and tingling after a ride, for this reason many tourists are also convinced that there is no need to go on roller-coaster when you can have a cheaper thrill on a Tuk Tuk.
Tuk Tuk in Bangkok History
Nowadays the Tuk Tuk has become a real Thai cultural ambassador, even though it was not originally designed and produced in Thailand. The first models were originally invented in Japan in the mid eighteen century and they first reached Thailand only in 1959. Most of these machines were either from Daihatsu or Suzuki and it was only after the Tom Yum Kung Crisis in 1997 that the brand name on the back of Tuk Tuk was changed into “Thailand” to foster “Thainess” into its citizens. However what makes Thai Tuk Tuk so unique is its design; brilliant colors, flashing starburst lights, go-faster stripes, and bulbous farings are only part of the appeal of this vehicle, experts actually say that the elegant lines of Thai Tuk Tuk preserve the lines of a Siamese ox cart and those characteristics are much unknown in many parts of Asia and especially all over the West.
While Tuk Tuk destiny for transportation reasons may have a dire future, the popularity of the vehicle in the tourism industry has exponentially increased. It’s easy to see especially in Bangkok “farang“, tourists and locals alike enjoying their rides while being taken to food tours or just enjoying the magic night atmosphere of Bangkok. A place where we normally like to go in the night it’s the flower market as it is one of the most local and iconic places to see on a Tuk Tuk, you can check more at this link.
Yet, even if its popularity among Bangkok’s citizens may be declining, you’ll still see daily, Tuk Tuk being used as handy means to transport bulky items, like huge loads of fresh market products bought to be cooked into delicious Thai street food, or bought by a Thai grandma heading back home to feed her extended family after an early morning visit to a fresh market to get the best and cheapest meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Elsewhere, both in Bangkok and in other provinces around the Thailand, locals still happily jump into Tuk Tuk every day, especially because other means of public transport are few and far away.
Advices on how to take a Tuk Tuk while in Bangkok
Lastly we want to conclude with some advices on how to take a Tuk Tuk:
Even though we are sure that majority of drivers are honest and hardworking people, there is little denying that there are some bad apples among the Tuk Tuk drivers in Bangkok–and being a tourist with limited experience of Bangkok makes you a target for scamming. Try to estimate beforehand the price of your ride before jumping into the Tuk Tuk and be prepared to bargain–your driver will probably offer an initially overpriced rate, expecting you to knock him or her down to some degree at least. Tuk Tuk are unmetered so it’s going to be a bit more expensive than normal taxi. Do not accept unrealistically low rides (ex. 30 THB tour of the city). Those rides normally end up in a shop selling low quality gems or clothes where the drivers get commissions from each item sold. Having said that Tuk Tuk are great fun and if you do not want to have the hassle of bargaining feel free to take part in one of our tours.