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TUK TUK (IN BANGKOK)
A Tuk Tuk ride is certainly not the cheapest, cleanest or fastest means of transport in Thailand. Still, many tourists visiting Bangkok have a ride on their bucket list and that’s not for nothing! A Tuk Tuk allows you to experience Bangkok like no other means of transportation does. The smells, the sound, the warm wind through your hair and the antics the driver plays when overtaking. In short, if you are a bit adventurous, then it is highly recommended to take a trip through Bangkok!
How much does a Tuk Tuk cost?
Always agree on a price before you board and only pay at the end of the ride. This because a Tuk Tuk has no meter like a taxi has. A ride with the Tuk Tuk is most of time more expensive than the same distance by taxi. But a taxi is not comparable to a Tuk Tuk. Always negotiate about the fare because the price the driver initially asks is often far too high. Actually, the driver doesn’t even expect you to agree with this amount. Even though of course he hopes so! In general, half of what the Tuk Tuk driver asks is reasonable. Most Tuk Tuk drivers know you know that and therefore sometimes ask three times as much!
Tuk Tuk’s standing along the sidewalk at tourist spots or a hotel are best avoided. Usually the drivers want to offer you a tour and there is not much to negotiate. Instead walk on and find an empty driving Tuk Tuk.
Tuk Tuk negotiating tips
The most important tip is always negotiate the fare! You can ask for the price for a certain destination before boarding, but that is often to the driver’s advantage. Instead, try to find out in advance what a reasonable price is. You can do this for example by asking your fellow tourists, in your hotel, search on the internet or check with Grab or Google Maps. Of course, you can also listen in on negotiations with others. Mention first a lower amount than you actually want to pay and then you can meet the driver a bit.
Of course you also can use your common sense or get wise through damage and disgrace. This is also part of the Tuk Tuk adventure. The ‘damage’ will often not exceed a few hundred baht.
The unwritten rules
The unwritten rules of negotiation actually apply throughout Thailand. Speak in a muffled tone, smile, be friendly, make a joke and you’ll come a long way! Don’t you agree on the price? Then walk away quietly, there’s a good chance you’ll still be called back and your Tuk Tuk adventure can begin!
The 20 baht rides
Today there is a special offer! For only 20 baht you will make a tour through Bangkok and visit several temples. Does this sounds too good to be true? It is! In practice it means that you will spend most of your time in jewellers and tailor made shops with pushy and annoying salesmen. The jewels with so-called valuable (precious) stones are worth much less than they tell you and the made-to-measure suits are often of poor quality. If you haven’t yet dropped out, you will indeed visit one or two temples. The cheap tuk tuk rides are among the top 3 scams you encounter in Bangkok.
Turn the cheap Tuk Tuk ride around!
But you can also turn the Tuk Tuk scam around, do you have a lot of time left or traveling on a tight budget? Can you handle difficult sellers and aren’t you easy to persuade? Then the Tuk Tuk scam is a cheap way to take a ride in a Tuk Tuk! You will also see 1 or 2 of the many temples Bangkok has to offer. If you don’t expect too much, it is always not too bad!
Fix it with a little sanuk
Sanuk is almost as important as negotiating the price. Sanuk means something like fun in Thai. The Thai people love sanuk! Who doesn’t? Negotiating is part of the daily life of the Thai and a joke is part of it. Because of this, you not only get better prices, but it is also much more fun and sociable!