Tuk Tuk Thailand or three wheeler bicycle is probably one of the most recognizable transportation modes in Thailand among visitors and tourists. Learn more about Tuk Tuk as well as where to take Tuk Tuk. Also, we will cover tips and other things to look out for when taking such transportation in Thailand!
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Three wheeler in Thailand
The first version of Tuk Tuk or three-wheeler in Thailand date back to the early 20th century. The earliest version of the three-wheeler started out as a single-seater attached to a bicycle. Almost 30 years later Tuk Tuk became a motor vehicle that developed into a three-wheeler with a roof that you see in Thailand today. Some Tuk Tuk today has evolved into a 4 wheeler, almost like an open-air minivan. The three-wheeler can comfortably fit 2-3 passengers. However, you may sometimes see Thai students seating 5-6 pax in 1 Tuk Tuk. Certainly, this brings safety into question, more on this below.
Where and when to take three wheeler
Tuk Tuk (and its cousin) can most commonly be found in cities that are popular among tourists. Hence, you will definitely find Tuk Tuk in cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Hua Hin.
When to take Tuk Tuk?
If you are in Thailand, it might be a good idea to take Tuk Tuk at least once to enjoy the experience. This is because a Tuk Tuk ride will allow you to fully soak in the breeze (and sometimes pollution too) and the city’s vibe/buzzes. Having said that, Tuk Tuk is great for short-distance travel as they share the mobility of motorcycles but with added comfort.
However, Tuk Tuk might not be the best everyday transport option. Why? First of all, most Tuk Tuk has no air-conditioning. So if you are taking a ride through the city center, this will mean heat and pollution. Secondly, Tuk Tuk has fewer safety measures when compared to taking a car. This is because Tuk Tuk has no seat belt, which means added risk in case of an accident. Lastly, the price is not cheap. We will cover more of this in the next section.
How much is the three wheeler transport?
So how much is Tuk Tuk in Thailand? It really depends since often time they run on the rider’s quote and not meter. A ride on Tuk Tuk can cost anywhere from THB100 to THB500+ depending on the distance. However, one thing that you really need to watch out for when taking a Tuk Tuk is 1) you need to agree on pricing first before you get on 2) the price is likely overstated, especially if you are a tourist.
Your best bet is to take out an app like Grab to check pricing beforehand. So that if the Tuk Tuk’s rider is quoting a similar price (or only slightly higher), then you know you are getting a decent deal. Some popular Tuk Tuk spots may also have pricing list available and this helps to prevent any scam.
Are there Electric Tuk Tuk in Thailand?
Grab launched an electric Tuk Tuk service in Chiang Mai back in 2019. That year, Grab partnered with the government and private sector to establish Chiang Mai Smart Mobility Alliance Network. The aim of the network is to reduce the use of private vehicles in Chiang Mai by 35% in 5 years’ time and eventually reduce pollution in the city. This electrification of Tuk Tuk in Chiang Mai will also help to reduce the carbon footprint in the city.
Electric Tuk Tuk driver-partner of Grab will be able to easily leverage Grab’s electronic booking app to get customers. At the same time, these drivers will be able to enjoy cost savings of fuel compared to their LPG counterparts.
Alternative to Tuk Tuk Thailand
Apart from Tuk Tuk or three wheeler, you can also utilize other transportation methods like taxi, grab taxi, BTS or motorcycle. We have a dedicated article covering transportation mode in Thailand.
Should you use Tuk Tuk as your mode of transport?
Personally, we think you can try it once when you just arrive in Thailand. This is purely for the experience. Other than that, if you are cost-conscious, Tuk Tuk in Thailand can actually be costly. You might get a better deal by just taking Grab/Taxi, or even the train (BTS or underground train). Moreover, if you go with family and kids, Tuk Tuk rides do not have proper safety measures. You might have better peace of mind if you take taxi/Grab.
Those who go to Thailand often usually do not take Tuk Tuk to move around the city.
However, the move towards the electrification of Tuk Tuk is promising. With the lower cost of fuel, we hope that the cost savings can be passed on to passengers as well!
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