When I took a tuk tuk ride during my visit to Bangkok in September 2007, I was well aware of their reputation for failing to deliver tourists to their requested destinations.
I therefore decided that my tuk tuk ride would be solely for the experience value – I didn’t need to be anywhere, so I’d jump in, see the sights and see what happened!
I agreed a fee of 20 Bahts (0.30 GBP) in advance with the driver for him to take me to the giant standing Buddha at Wat Intharawihan, the Golden Mount and then back to the Grand Palace. I could always ask him to stop at any other interesting sights en route.
The journey started as planned. I visited the giant standing Buddha while my driver waited outside for me for 5 - 10 minutes.
However, when I returned, he told me that the Golden Mount was closed until the afternoon and he would instead take me to another small temple nearby. At this temple, the room containing the “Lucky Buddha” was closed, but a man outside kindly offered me the opportunity to buy jewellery (available today only!) that I could sell back home for 5 times the price!
The next stop was an unscheduled one at a factory, despite me repeatedly telling the driver I wasn’t interested in visiting a factory. I refused to get out, so the driver reluctantly drove on.
We stopped at another small temple where the man who was responsible for its upkeep tried to sell me a variety of tours (which had to be booked that day – the last day of the sales!).
My driver was intent on getting some commission one way or another, so he drove me to a “fashion shop”. I again refused to get out and browse. The driver pleaded with me to do so, in order that he would get a “coupon” for having taken me there. We discussed it for a few minutes and eventually reached an impasse. He established that I wasn’t going to go inside the shop, and I established that he wasn’t going to drive me back to the Grand Palace. I handed him a 20 Baht note and walked back to the palace. No harm done – it was a great experience at very little cost!
Some Tuk Tuk drivers are genuinely helpful, fairminded people. They are the exceptions to the rule, and the rule is that most Tuk Tuk drivers are out to get you. Tuk Tuks are not just a disproportionately expensive form of transport, they are a means of conveying you (often against your will) to a whole range of rip-off suppliers, including massively-overpriced seafood restaurants, fake jewellry shops and massage parlours. By all means take a short Tuk Tuk ride, just for the experience, and agree the price before the wheels start to move. But be warned, Tuk Tuks are always more expensive than regular Taxis and they are out to take you for a ride, one way or another!
Don't bother with the Tuk Tuk's.
I got on one earlier today at a promise of 5 baht.
He took me to many tailors, gem merchants & a tourist office. After refusing to go to any more, the driver turned from a nice guy to a hostile angry mofo.
He intentionally stalled his tuk tuk and claimed he had ran out of fuel... and demanded petrol money. So I sat in the tuk tuk and refused to get out. After traffic kept beeping he magically started it up and stalled it again at a more convenient place.
So after an arguement I got out, didn't pay and walked 1.5 miles back to Koh San in midday heat. He left me in a dodgy area, alone and i'm young so he clearly didn't give a ***.
Stay away from Tuk Tuks!
We just came back from Bangkok...we love the food, culture & People are so friendly...but you will get some who are cream of the crop.....Tuk-Tuk squatters
Straight to the point...STAY AWAY from these types !!! They are the biggest scammer of them all...
Nearly everywhere you go you will see Tuk-Tuk squatters parked up 3or4 of them at any one time. They will hassle the crap out of you offering a cheap price to travel, most of the time it was 10Baht..we offered 50Baht and mention no stopping or detours. The Tuk-Tuk squatters agrees and we head off...not this one...this one still tried to scam to a gem shop.
We waited for him to stop and I gave him 10Baht and we walked away, he followed us telling us some story, but at this stage we didnt care. We flagged down a passing Tuk-Tuk.... agree on the terms and off we went. Tuk-Tuk driving around town will mostly try to scam you, but as long you agree on the term of what you want then you should be fine.
Since then I only flag down the ones that are driving around looking for passenges and since then had no trouble with the Tuk-Tuks.
If you're trying to get somewhere fast you may hear a tuk tuk driver say he'll take you where ever you want to go for an hour for 10 Baht. He gets a gas card stamp if he takes you to the jewlery place, or clothes place. If you have pleanty of time to kill, get as much touristy things like the temples/Wats as you can in. Don't feel like you have to buy anything if you are enjoying yourself. If they offer you a drink, it will be harder for you to leave without buying anything and without insult. More than once I was told I was cheap and to leave after not wanting to buy a suit.
If you've got thick skin I found it was a great way to see the city for really cheap, we saw most of the Wats in Bangkok in 6 hours. After I while I got sick of the high pressure and it was worth the money to avoid going to these places.
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.
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!
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!
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....