this will be my tourist trap tips for the bangkok style tuk tuks, which are way different in design and make from the phuket tuk tuks and the ayuthaya tuk tuks. Tuk tuks are a generic tricycle common in the Whole of Asia and almost every country has it's version of the tuk tuk. the basic design of a tuktuk is being fitted with a water-cooled two-stroke engine. They have handlebar controls instead of a steering wheel, making them a tricycle. The tuk-tuk is named after the sound its two-stroke engine makes when it is idling. It may have been derived from a similar Japanese automobile Daihatsu Midget in the 1950s. are popular amongst tourists for their novelty value.
If you are a smart tourist, then don't ride in one of these contraptions as they charge a minimum of 100 baht for a 3 kilometer ride for tourists and eve 200 baht for those unscropulous tuk tuk drivers. just take a picture but if you really want to experience the bumpy and noisy tuk tuk ride, then be prepared to pay 100 baht for a group of at least 3 people who can fit at the small tuk tuks.
Unique Suggestions: In Bangkok the Thais much prefer to take taxis which don't cost much more and don't have the tuk-tuk problems of choking exhaust fumes, rough ride, no air-conditioning, and safety. (however, the phuket tuk tuks charge more at 200 baht minimum for a short ride and they come in a bigger engline like a mini asian utility vehicle).
It's essential to bargain the price with tuk-tuks before getting in. If you only ask after the ride, it's likely to end in a request for an ridiculous fare which can obviously lead to an unpleasant situation.
Fares in Bangkok are 35 starting at Taxis.
Fun Alternatives: Use the BTS Skytrain or the Underground MRT Subway for transport as most tourist areas in bangkok are serviced by both!
Also use a taxi but insist on them using the meter! 35 baht is the flagdown rate!
It's a mistake to paint all tuk-tuk drivers with the same brush. I had nothing but good luck with them. They never quoted a price to take me somewhere. Instead, they said I should just pay what I thought the ride was worth. I figured they found that tourists would over pay if the amount was left up to them.
I'd hire a tuk-tuk for the day - for $30.00US. They'd take me where ever I wanted to go, wait for me like a chauffer, then whisk me off to the next temple or whatever. Lunchtime - I'd have them take me to the place of their choice (invariably, some out of the way spot down a side street with good food and low prices) and spring for their lunch, giving me the opportunity to get to know them and what their lives are like: if they're married, have kids, where they came from, and so on.
Here's how the tuk-tuk business works: there is a limit on the number of tuk-tuks allowed in the city, and they can operate only within a specific geographic area. Virtually all of the tuk-tuks are owned by two companies. The drivers rent their rigs for the equivalent of $15.00US per day. They have to make that much, plus the cost of fuel, to break even. That's why I'd pay them a flat $30 - it assured they'd make a minimum $15.00 profit for the day, with the possibility of making even more $ after dropping me off at my hotel in the late afternoon, or whenever. When I visited the Grand Palace, I told my driver to go make some $ and return to pick me up in 4 hours.
I've taken 2 trips to Cambodia, arranged by travel agents that tuk-tuk drivers introduced me to. Great deals on both; e.g.,November, 2008, round trip Bangkok to Siam Reap via ground transportation + private guide and his driver at Angkor Wat for 2 days + hotel, all for $245.
Unique Suggestions: If you're not doing day long rentals like I did, and the driver asks if he may take you to Ching Jewelery factory or some custom taylor shop, etc., just ask him what his commission is for taking you there if you buy nothing. Then, pay him that amount in addition to the fare. It'll save your precious vacation time and make him happy, too.
Fun Alternatives: You can always take a taxi, but I never have in Bangkok. It was either public transportation or tuk-tuks.
They look cute and a novelty to ride the open air, but few Thais travel in a Tuk-Tuk and you shouldn't either. They are loud and open air to the noise and air pollution. When it is hot and you are stuck in traffic, you would think of this tip. Don't ride the TUK-tUK. oFTEN TIMES THEY will overcharge,and if they do not get the money they want, they will just drive you elsewhere, or drive reckless to scare you to jump out. I have been there and heard many stories about the bad drivers.
Unique Suggestions: set a price
Fun Alternatives: air condition taxi, walk or ride a bus or skytrain
Tuk tuk's around Khao san Road suck!!! For one they won't even give you a ride unless they can take you to a store where they get a kick back for taking you there. They get 5 litre's of gas apparently. So...you can't even hire one unless you pay out the ass for it because they want the gas. We got one Tuk Tuk driver to take us to Chinatown and he went around the block and stopped. We got out. He was chasing us down the road still trying to make a deal. It's ***!
Unique Suggestions: Don't take a tuk tuk unless you are on a main road, even then you can end up nowhere and just pissed off because they didn't take you where you wanted to go.
Fun Alternatives: Learn to take the local buses or take a taxi. But the taxis sometimes won't take you either if you tell them to turn there meter on.
Tuk tuk's are expensive (no meter), open to the traffic pollution, and rather less safe than taxis.
This has been said over and over but it deserves it... ALWAYS get a taxi and ALWAYS insist on using the meter!!! This goes for the airport taxis too! You should get your cab at the booth outside the airport. They claim to run by the meter only, but the cabdriver will still try to get a fixed price out of you - insist on the meter!!!
Before you even get onto a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, agree on the price. Our driver agreed to take us to our destination, and along the way, he kept recommending we go to this restaurant to eat or that shop to buy. We said no, that our friend was waiting for us at our destination and we were late (which was not true of coz), thinking he would stop asking. But he didn't stop asking until he brought us to our destination. And even then he was like asking for a tip.
Moral of the story? Sometimes you really have to be firm, or you end up paying more than you bargain for.
I say.. if you're in bangkok.. ride at least once for the experience.. otherwise.. take a cab instead.. they are more expensive.. and for us the price agreed upon changed when we reached our destination.. We kept arguing.. Good thing though the tuk tuk driver didnt know much english so he just let us go.
Fun Alternatives: Take a taxi instead..
When in Bangkok it's worthwhile taking a tuk tuk - but only once and only for the experience.
However be prepared to taken to every gem shop and tailor shop in the city and if you don't buy anything there they'll try to take you to another one just incase you want to buy from there. Also be very wary if the tuk tuk driver offers to recommend anywhere to eat we stupidly went for his recommendation and got charged 5,000 bt for a meal we could easily have got elsewhere for about 1,000 bt.
Unique Suggestions: As mentioned it is fun to take a tuk tuk once but always agree the price 1st - shouldn't be over 100 bt and make it clear you want to go direct.
Fun Alternatives: For the rest of the time use taxis or the skytrain
Most of us Expats who have lived in BKK for a while don't use tuk tuks. Noisy, drivers are a _ _ holes, more expensive than taxis and you can't see out of them. However if you're new in town and are killing town take a 10 baht ride. visit the tailors, gem dealers and just have fun with them. Tell them all you'll be back tomorrow. You can see the city for 10 baht.
Unique Suggestions: give 'em the ooohhh ahhh, and shine 'em on. Promise you'll be back tomorrow.
When you are walking around the Gand Palace you will see many Tuk Tuks parked along Maharat Rd waiting for unsuspecting tourist .They will take you to Wat Pho for 10 or 20 or...baht ,however Wat Pho is just next door about seconds away ... within easy walking distance.
Unique Suggestions: Just smile and keep on walking.
I have heard alot of the Tuk Tuk traps before I visit Bangkok. But, lucky for me, we were taken direct to our destination although the price is ex. 120B for a distance that would only have cost 40B if we take meter cab. so, you are going for the experience, it'll be quite worthwhile. And, maybe we looked too "student", hence they don't think we are able to afford the items at the gem shops. hahaha
Please read up on the game you'll have to play if you choose to take tuk tuk's around bangkok. Overall it is not worth the trouble to take tuk tuks very frequently as the air is bad and they are uncomfortable. I think everyone who comes to Bangkok should visit a gem shop and suit shop just for the fun of it (not to buy anything of course) but extended trips around in a tuk tuk are a waste of time. Tuk tuk drivers will try endlessly to take you to gem or suit shops so they receive a gas voucher from you. In return you must spend an allotted time in the shop and not need to buy anything. However this can eat up your time and get annoying when after you had gone to two shops for the driver and then insist on him taking you to a couple of sightseeing stops, that he ditches you at the first one
becareful of tuk tuks in bangkok, know where you want to go, other wise they will suggest where they should take you. this should not be the case, so dont get in his tuk tuk. if you want to go somewhere wait a minute for another one. the general price should be no more than 100 baht
Unique Suggestions: DO NOT GO WHT HIM MAKE UP EXCUSES!!!
Fun Alternatives: GET IN ANOTHER TUK TUK
Never, and I mean 'NEVER', take a tuk-tuk unless it is prepaid as part of a large tour outside of Bangkok. They will either try to charge you several times the amount a taxi will, or will bring you random places to try to make a profit off of you. They make commisions by dropping you off a 'gem' or 'jewelry' places and they will insist that they are showing you a special place. Don't fall for it!
Unique Suggestions: If you have no other option, insist on your price. If they say the trip will be 500 bahts or will not take you directly, jump out and talk to the next guy.
I've heard of many getting tricked into visiting these shops etc once they get onto the tuk-tuk and that some are charging more than the taxi drivers.
Unique Suggestions: But for those who want a ride (just for the experience), i recommend riding it late at night e.g after late night shopping, because by then, the shops that they intend to take u to would be closed, its not as dusty and in fact, its cheaper than the taxi cabs!