Touks-touks may seem lovely at first. But I have to repeat the recommendation of my guide: do not try to use them as a transportation method. Drivers are usualy like risks and their fuel is petroleum gas.
After I walked out the Grand Palace complex, my friend & I were approached by a local man claiming to be a university professor. Then he said there is a service by the Thai government that offer a free tuk-tuk ride to a nearby attraction. Since my friend was a ex-marine, I figured it would be OK so off we went. After visiting the attraction, the tuk-tuk brought us to a couple shops e.g jewelery, tailor and carpet. Apparently, the tuk-tuk drivers get commission in the form of petrol vouchers to bring unknowing tourists to these stores. When we insisted the tuk-tuk driver send us back, he passed us on to another tuk-tuk driver!
I've only had one tuk-tuk ride ever and that's more than enough. For starters, they drive like they own the road, ignore the traffic lights and go against traffic. I don't know if my travel insurance define tuk-tuks as one of mode of public transport. The other thing is that as a tourist, you will be charge a different fee (higher) and since the tuk-tuks are open ended, you'll breathe in more of Bangkok's special road pollution
i've read it here to beware of tuktuk drivers..boy, it was helpful...not an hour had passed since we've settled in our hotel, we decided to go to siam square.we thought, it's just near, so it's better to take the tuktuk..but then we got in a debate with the driver coz he insisted that we drop by at his friend's store so he could get free gas..and we said " NO NO NO"..if we havent read it here about the scams, we would have said ok ok....but instead we stepped out of the tuktuk and hailed a taxi instead...never again, we tried riding a tuktuk...if your destination is just near, just walk..if its not near enough then take a taxi...it's better to spend more than around 20baht than be a victim...trust me, our hotel staff even discouraged us from riding a tuktuk....
I only have 3 days only to explore the temples and intresting object in bangkok, i decided to walk around for near location, and take tuk tuk for far location.
A friendly Tuk Tuk driver offer me too help look around bangkok, and he promissed to take me to intresting temples that I really really want to visit today.
Inttrested in his offering, and remembering this is my first time to Bangkok, and short time i have, his offer is quite a good offer to me.
First stop, quite far away, i took about half hours to get in to the store., it was a jewellery store. no buy here thank you.
Next is another far away store with busy traffic of bangkok, took me another 40 minutes to get to the store. It was a souvenir shop
Then he ask for lunch first before start the temple tour,
At the restaurant, He said he has no money for lunch, then i said i will pay his lunch , he also order a bottle of beer, on my expense., total spent for this lunch were about Us$60. ( i began to feel bad about this, its already 3PM that time! and i havent see any of temple, as i begin to ask him when can we start ?
Then he ask me: " How much will you give me tips to take you around bangkok temples ?"
(What!!!, i havent even see any temples, and already waste my half day, and he asking for tips...?),
Ok to make the things well, I said i will give him $5 for each temple he get me.
Then he take me to temple (quite ok), after that we went to a bad looking abandoned temple, no even 1 tourist around., When i protest him, he said its already late afternoon, all temple already closed...!
The climax of this situation, is he dropped me in one corner of the bangkok street and hand me over to another tuktuk driver to take me back to hotel (it s 5 o clock already), and he asking me for his $5 tips! and go away......
Sad..sad.. why its happen to me..? I lost half valuable day, 1 pay for $60 lunch, he got a free lunch and a beer..., AND I GOT NOTHING..!!!!!
Hope this will not happen to other tourist visiting Bangkok, dont trust any good offer from Tuktuk driver.
I am not the first nor the last here to write this.
The very minute you hit the road in Bangkok and have a look at your map (where are we going next?), you will have someone friendly come to you and offer help. These friendly people are ofte directly related to tuk tuk drivers or shops. They will say anything to get you have a trip with a tuk tuk with stops at many tourist shops.
Mostly this sounds like this:
"Where do you want to go?" ... "Oh, Wat xyz, that is closed today (or until 2 p.m. or whatever) because of a Buddhist holiday" - Don?t believe it. They don?t close their temples or museums because of that. Always believe your guide book on that and not what people tell you. We were told this 3 times in one day, and it was never true.
On it goes: "But, I would propose you go to this Wat instead, that is very nice. I can get you a tuk tuk to bring you there. They make special price today because of Buddhist holidays "(or world fair, or because only it is Wednesday or whatever). "They will bring you there for only 20 or 40 Baht.".
Yes they will. But they will also bring you to a jade shop, a yeweller, a Thai silk shop, a souvenir shop, a .... I think you got it.
It also does not matter if you really buy something in these shops. They get their commission by just bringing you there.
One more thing that is quite typical for Bangkook is the yewellery scam.
They try to persuade you that you can make money by buying yewels cheap in Thailand and then reselling it at shops where you live.
Don?t do this! For once you have no idea what the colorful stones you are offered are really worth if you are no expert. As a normal tourist you won?t even be able to distinct them from fake stones or even glass. Second: you won?t be able to resell them at home (not even at the addresses they may give you, they are not real either). Also don?t trust in any certificates they may show you- paper is patient.
If there was money in it, they would not need to rely on tourists to do the trade.
Tuk tuks are great fun! and an essential Bangkok experience. Be aware of touts stopping you with amazing good English, on their way to somewhere close, who are happy to grab your Lonely Planet - and circle highlights etc., - and hail a coincidentally passing tuktuk, negoitiation a 20Baht ride around the whole city! You will be about to start a real journey via travel shops, jewellery stores, tailors, silk factories etc. - happened to me once, and I just said, NO, will pay you plenty fair fare to take me where I want to go. Negotiate the prices, and, if there are more than one passenger, ensure that the price is for the whole fare, not PER PERSON. If they try it on at the other end, raise your voice (assertively, not aggressively), and point out that the negotiated fare was...... , pay and leave. Saving face is most important to them. They will often have a little wry smile, and leave with no trouble at all. Remember that these are poor people, who drive government vehicles, and survive by their wits, and witless tourists. Don't take it too seriously, as any of us who travel to Asia have much more money and resources than these fellows.
I have found that many of the tuktuk drivers in Thailand are amazingly smart and resourceful - and I admire them. Have cultivated a few relationships with them, and the wheeling and dealing stops immediately. They will actually give you very honest and loyal service - and wait for you anywhere. Ours found me in the street near the hotel one night looking for some pills for my ill husband - insisted on taking me to nearest 7Eleven, and refused to accept money.
You simply can't go to Bangkok without experiencing the traffic in a tuktuk! - and the experience of getting to know one of these guys can be great.
Cheers and safe journey to all.
There is always the temptation of travelling on a Tuk Tuk.
If you really want to experience the heat, carbon monoxide and the dangers of being run over by a huge truck, by all means.
The Tuk Tuk driver will turn off the engine when stuck in traffic and you will enjoy the "sweat" of your life!
Don't forget to bargain before boarding the "infamous" Tuk Tuk. Be prepared for some close shaves!
Tuk-tuks are great fun to travel in and I would say atleast try it once but beware as most Tuk Tuk drivers will always try to over charge and will always take you to shops of the main roads as shop ownings give them fuel tokens. If you do use them make sure before you get on that they will take you directly to where you want to go as they will always try to get you to go into shops you don't want to go.
I would say that taxis are easier and hassle free, or use the BTS Skytrain.
Don't get tricked by anyone offering you a trip to some shops.A hotel staff(i do not want to name it)told me that MBK was closed on that day as the king is visiting it and refer me to a tuk tuk driver for a trip to a shop.Tuk tuk drivers actually get a commision for bringing in customers.So do not get tricked.
If a Tuk Tuk driver offers you a ride through town for less then 20 Baht just pass cause you will end up at warehouses where you will be offered "a special price" for suits or souvenirs and the driver of course gets a commission for that.
When a taxi or Tuk Tuk driver tells you that he needs to collect gas vouchers before he sends you to your destination, you will need to be firm and say no or get off the car quickly.
These drivers would drive you to jewellery shop and before you know it, you will be purchasing some gems that you would not be needing it.
Unfortunately yes, this is another gem scam.
They seem friendly at first,
but eventually turned out to be
looking for a commission and more.
They might tell you during your ride that,
to receive some extra gas money
they would like to deliver you to an
unscrupulous jeweler or gemstone shop,
but you need not buy anything.
It’s hard to avoid getting on a tuk tuk,
with a driver who won’t try.
This has been occurring regularly over the years,
yet the authorities, though aware of this situation,
have been unable to find the solution
to deal with such practices.
Hmmm…I wonder why.
But after the first time,
or even the second,
you start getting tired of this same request
and wonder if you won’t be taken to the same shop twice.
Tuk Tuks are quite fun to sit in because they look so cute. It's like a cross between a scooter and a trishaw.
You must negotiate and agree on the fare BEFORE getting onto the tuk tuk.
Tuk Tuks can be quite dangerous as they're open and do not feature safety belts. And they travel VERY fast. :)
Quite an experience really, but not cool if you're stuck in traffic jams (which are plenty) and you have to breathe in exhaust...
When visiting major sights (e.g. Grand Palace) there are many tuk tuk drivers waiting for innocent tourists and telling them that the sight is closed today or that the entrance is far away or that today is a special government promotion and that they can get very cheap jewellery. Don´t get in the tuk tuk, it is not true!