Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chariots of glory

Every city has its trademark form of transportation, such as NYC's yellow cab and in South East Asia it is the tuk-tuk. Although the name is the same across nations, the form of tuk-tuk varies, and in Thailand it is in the form of a fancy little open air roofed steel trike with the driver up front and passengers in the rear. Some of these are vary simple and often clearly neglected from an aesthetic standpoint, although this is clearly not the norm. Owners often grace these vessels with wildly colorful paintjobs, bells and whistles (literally), extra lights of nearly every color, and more chrome than a '57 Buick. I have even seen a few with flames reminiscent of a '78 Firebird. Competition is fierce, so it helps the owners to pimp their ride to entice paying customers. There is a lot of cajoling, some muscle flexing, and promises of the fastest shortcuts. You must be careful though because these guys get paid by store owners to bring you to their shops, so if you hunt for a tuk-tuk strictly on price you may end up in two suits shops, three gem stores, and hotel lobby doorstep before you get to carted that temple you were hoping to visit. You can always try to catch a regular pink taxi, but you are just as likely to get some off meter shenanigans as you are with the tuk-tuks so you might as well opt for the agile little tuk-tuk, besides if you ask me they are pretty mean lil machines.


  1. taxis, are way cheaper. cant get a tuk tuk under 100 bht. @ least in touristic areas.. there's too much competitoin. taxis worked better. no hastle with parking meter or nothing. Just hoped on, told the driver the direction, and no problem. taxi meter was on b4 i knew it!

  2. The tuk tuk reminds me of the old Accent, Evan. Bring one home.