Published On: Sun, Mar 10th, 2024

I drove through one of the world’s busiest cities in a tiny tuk-tuk | Travel News | Travel

During time away from home, many tourists will end up using forms of transport that they typically wouldn’t .

Often, this means catching the bus or perhaps metro system to . However, whilst this can be cost-effective and, , incredibly efficient, sometimes it pays to try something a little more authentic.

That mindset hit me to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, where one of the cheapest ways to get around is via the tuk-tuk.

With a population of over 11.2 million, Bangkok has a bigger population London, Chicago and Hong Kong, featuring many crowded streets that can often only be negotiated efficiently by these little three-wheelers.

Whilst many countries, including India, Nigeria and Peru, extensively use tuk-tuks as a form of taxi, they are seen as a national symbol of Thailand, with many geared for .

Before getting into the little three-wheeler, the tour guide I was with recommended that I should remember to lean when the driver turns a corner, else I risk causing the three-wheeler to roll onto its side.

On that note, it is safe to say that the majority of tuk-tuks were not designed with safety in mind, featuring no seatbelts and near-completely open sides, with the exception of a thin, rather ornate chrome bar.

That said, passengers do get a very considerable amount of legroom and a grab handle, just in case the driver negotiates a junction a little too quickly.

Setting off, I will admit that I had a few nerves. However, after buzzing around the busy Bangkok streets for a couple of minutes, this fear was replaced with sheer excitement.

Even though they can only do around 50mph, depending significantly on the weight of the passengers, any speed in a tuk-tuk feels incredibly fast.

Moreover the purely open sides make a ride on a tuk-tuk a fantastic choice for tourists planning to take some photos of the city’s highlights from the, relative, comfort of a vehicle as the lack of glass means there is no reflections or glare.

With nearly 23 million tourists visiting Bangkok in 2023, many tuk-tuks are geared for visitors to the city, parked in rows outside some of the busiest attractions.

My tuk-tuk trip lasted for around 20 minutes and spanned from the stunning Wat Phra Chetuphon temple, with its golden reclining Buddha, to Wat Traimit, another temple featuring that has been a part of the city for around 800 years.

Whilst it is impossible to sum up everything I saw during the ride, witnessing the small shops selling golden Buddahs and large statues and monuments from the seat of a tuk-tuk helped to give me an incredibly panoramic view of Bangkok.

No matter where a tourist plans on visiting during their holiday, I would strongly recommend a short ride on a tuk-tuk for travellers either wanting to see some of the local attractions or to just get a feel for everyday life in the city.

However, one key tip for taking a tuk-tuk ride is not to be afraid of haggling, something that should always be done before setting off to minimise the risk of being overcharged.

Once on, tourists should keep one hand on the safety bar and their other on their cameras shutter, as they will likely be able to capture some wonderful memories whilst riding along.

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