As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

Vehicools Series (1) – Thailand’s Tuk-tuk

My son and I were on a recent visit to my hometown. My nephew Liam was eager to entertain his 2 year old cousin so he went on a treasure hunt around the house and found these  toy-like objects -miniature vehicles that are almost too beautiful to play with. These miniature models became the inspiration of this week’s posts “Vehicools”. We look into vehicles that are ‘cool’ and ‘noteworthy’ because of how they came to be and what they have come to symbolize.

Today I feature Thailand’s TUK-TUK. It’s unique, colourful, comfortable, and gets you around the busy streets of Bangkok. It’s just extremely loud, so for those who are noise-sensitive, make sure you wear ear plugs. (and if you are smoke and dust sensitive, wear a mask so your Tuk-tuk experience will be a pleasant one). Just ride prepared!
Thailand’s TUK-TUK
Miniature Model
Thailand’s TUK-TUK
Miniature Model

TUK-TUK History
Info Source

One thing that makes Thailand unique is the tuk-tuk, a three-wheeled motorized vehicle. It can be found on almost any road in the capital.

Tuk-tuk is a symbol of Thai ingenuity. It is a modification of a Japanese delivery vehicle popular in the country during the 1960s. It has become popular and it is now being exported abroad. Tuk-tuk has made its presence even in far away Kenya, in Africa, where it has become a cheap mode of transportation. There, the vehicle is also known as tuk-tuk, a Thai coinage taken from the chugging sound of the vehicle.

It is also a symbol of Thai artistry. Although the make is similar, tuk-tuks are adorned and painted in many different ways and colours. The colourfull tuk-tuk has in fact become a tourist attraction in itself because of its novelty.

In the provinces, the tuk-tuk is the most popular means of transport. They operate like taxis, although without any meter. They are occasionally faster than ordinary taxis in heavy traffic because they can easily wave in and out a jam.

Without any luggage, three people can fit into a tuk-tuk quite comfortably, It’s possible to fit more in but it gets a bit cramped.
Thailand’s TUK-TUK
Photo taken in Bangkok, 2006

Tuk-tuk fares always have to be bargained for and it is sometimes possible to bargain down to less than the taxi flagfall of Bt35. Most of the time, however, they offer no savings over a taxi, especially if you’re not good at bargaining and can’t speak good Thai.

The initial price tuk-tuk drivers quote is likely well over the going rate, but it’s easy to bargain it down to a more reasonable one if you roughly know the equivalent taxi fare.

It’s essential to bargain the price with tuk-tuks before getting it. If you only ask after the ride, it’s likely to end in a request for an outrageous fare which can obviously lead to an unpleasant situation. (Info Source)

Learn more about the Tuk-tuk and see the different models

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This entry was posted on June 3, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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