Tuk-tuks, Bangkok

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  • Colorful crooks
    Colorful crooks
    by NYTim
  • Ditched us when we said no more gem or suit shops
    Ditched us when we said no more gem or...
    by Snipernurse
  • tuktuk
    tuktuk
    by iclee
  • casual caution

    by teechuh Written Jan 22, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It amused me to read all the cautions about Tuk Tuk drivers. It made me feel at home (strangely). Much of Thailand's whole economic "circle of life" is based on selling items that are fakes or cheap imitations. If you're willing to use a Tuk Tuk driver as a tour guide, you're essentially buying a cheap imitation of the real thing (at least in Bangkok). Buy a map and keep track of where you are. Ask a 7-11 employee (or the like) how much it should cost to go where you want to go. Be prepared to pay more (you are a farang, after all), and start bartering below what you want to pay. Be a little bit generous and you'll make life easier on the next foreigner who comes along. If your Tuk Tuk Driver doesn't want to come close to what you want to pay, try another. The first guy may lower his fare when he sees you leave or he may not. Who cares? There are thousands of Tuk Tuks. Tuk Tuk drivers can be a kick for the first time of two, but for longer trips you'll pay less to take a metered taxi (or if you're brave, the bus routes or khlong taxis). Motorcycle taxis are great for short routes (within 1-3 km). Anyway you go, Thais are laidback. They're not on a fast-paced schedule. Don't overestimate how much you think you can visit. Even if you get the fastest Tuk Tuk in the city, you won't get to see too much per day (except maybe the local hospital). Traffic is severe. And if you feel like you've been taken for a fool's ride, you have. In Thailand, though, most of the time you're "riding" you won't even know the difference.

    By the way, sometimes you can get a cheaper fare if you let a Tuk Tuk take you to a shop. Adventurous sorts have even traveled for free, provided they visited two or three places first. Remember this phrase: "Mai Pen Rai." It means "nevermind." Tell yourself that when you get frustrated. It doesn't help, but at least you'll be learning the language.

    One last thing: Wear a surgical mask. A gas mask. A pesticide mask. A bandana. Anything that may filter the air a little. You'll lungs will thank you.

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    Cockroach Named TukTuk

    by RoyJava Updated Sep 9, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    tuktuk-bangkok

    Like a coughing cockroach this sputtering three-wheeler is moving its way, wanna be faster than a taxi, and still wanna be number one with a lot of tourists! The TukTuk flies around the corner, kickin' up a cloud of blue smoke (for sure!) and coughing like asthmatic hippo's. Legendary while chasing away the human-drawn rickshaws, keep in mind you do breathe all the lead-soaked air, there's no air-con, it is not that cheap anymore, and the TukTuk drivers do speak less English than taxi drivers. Still these cockroaches belong in the cultural picture of Bangkok, and nobody can resist the call "Hey U, Where U Go?", so still bargain when go for a TukTuk!

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  • The Naive and Gullible BEWARE!

    by zalyn Updated Jun 17, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you decide to take to tuk-tuk especially in the morning, because its convient, fast and cheap, well you are wrong! The tuk-tuk driver/motorist have a chain of network where they are engaged with several jewellery and gems shops in which they will receive commission if the victim bought jewellery from the shop.

    The tuk-tuk man will offer only 20baht to go anywhere provided that they will send you to a jewellery or gem shop first before proceeding to your destination. They claim that they will receive free gas for their tuk-tuk if you visit the jewellery shop without obligations of purchase. Its hard to say NO because they will beg, paster and convince you furthermore you dont want any commotion at the start of your adventure in Bangkok.

    Upon reaching the 'unintended destination', the marketing begins. They target tourist from Japan, US, UK and other country with large currency exchange. The products are sold at a high price but of low quality. If they manage to sell a jewellery, they can even afford to close their shop for a week and 30% is paid to the tuk-tuk man as commission.

    So my tips are to claim to be Malaysians or other citizens. They sort of ignore us because the chances that we will purchase is very slim. Do not show any interest in the product, try to avoid any conversation with the sales person and remind the gullible and naive that its a scam!

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    Touk-Touks. traffic monsters!

    by voyageur2 Written May 26, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

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  • BorneoGrrl's Profile Photo

    Beware the free tuk-tuk tour

    by BorneoGrrl Updated Mar 28, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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!

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  • BorneoGrrl's Profile Photo

    Tuk-tuks are scary

    by BorneoGrrl Updated Mar 28, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Daredevil tuk-tuk

    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

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  • tuktuk scam indeed!

    by gemi80 Written Mar 16, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    tuktuk

    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....

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  • leongarf's Profile Photo

    Riding in Tuk Tuks

    by leongarf Written Mar 15, 2006

    A lot of the drivers want to stop by clothing stores on the way to your destination b/c they get an incentive for bringing customers into the stores. It can be a lot of hassle so just tell the driver you are not interested or give him an extra 40 baht to bypass these places.

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  • Icha's Profile Photo

    Dont Trust Friendly Tuk Tuk Driver Prommises

    by Icha Written Mar 14, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

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  • Myndo's Profile Photo

    Bangkok, go prepared

    by Myndo Written Mar 5, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tuk Tuks and scammers

    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.

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  • thedouglas's Profile Photo

    Beware,be educated and have fun!

    by thedouglas Updated Jan 27, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

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  • perseushermes's Profile Photo

    Heat ! Carbon Monoxide!

    by perseushermes Updated Sep 7, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tuk Tuk

    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!

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  • b4ugogo's Profile Photo

    Tuk-Tuk

    by b4ugogo Written Jul 24, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

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  • Tuk tuk

    by zwphang Written Jun 23, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

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  • tna's Profile Photo

    Nice Old Man - University Professor

    by tna Updated Jun 2, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My husband and I believe ourselves to be pretty savvy and had prepared ourselves before arriving in Bangkok for all the possible scams etc (or so we thought). While walking to the palace, we were greeted by a friendly-faced old man, carrying an umbrella and a briefcase. He asked us where we were from, and he told us he was a professor on his way to University (flashed us some sort of ID and pointed across the park to the University's location). After some friendly chit-chat he then proceeded to tell us that the palace was closed due to celebrations (a line we knew to expect from touts and taxi drivers, but one we weren't expecting from a nice old University professor). Next thing we know, he's arranging a tuk tuk (taxi) for us, explaining how we can avoid getting scamed by taking the ones with the green license plates because the yellow ones were illegal (or something to that effect). Next thing we know, we're thanking him and off we set in the tuk tuk who is going to take us to some obscure temple. But as soon as he stops first at a silk shop we recognise we've been had...so we toss him a few coins and head off on foot back to the palace, which of course....is open.

    We got along absolutely fine for the rest of the trip via public bus. You can get a map with the bus routes from the tourism offices...and you can save more money for the great food!

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