The "TUK-TUK" (ตุ๊กตุ๊ก) is a small car with three wheels. The engine is a two strokes engine. "TUK-TUK" drivers often come from "ISAN" area because they don't have enough money to buy or rent a taxi. "TUK-TUK" are really a tourist attraction. Often tourists can be seen inside. Before sitting inside, one should negotiate the price. In Bangkok, it is not always a good idea to sit in a "TUK-TUK" due to the heat and the exhaust pipe of the other cars during traffic jams.
|Tuk-Tuk in Bangkok|
City officials have problems with blowing smoke. So they pushed hard to ban polluting vehicles from major Bangkok streets. But city police say planning is premature and incomplete. Police want to know what to do with polluting buses - and with their passengers - after they stop them. Blowing smoke came from smoke-belching cars, trucks and buses.
|Tuk-Tuk in Phuket|
Just after the Asian crisis in 1997 traffic jams have almost disappeared from Bangkok. Many people have to give their car back because they couldn't pay the loan back. Since 1999 traffic jams are back. Thais still spend the longest average time travelling to work and back, about 82 minutes a day. Another trick to avoid traffic jams is to drive during the Songkran holidays in Bangkok. Almost everybody is back in province. Another solution found by the government when the Asian summit with European countries held in 1996 was to decree holidays during the summit.
Sometimes provincial "TUK-TUK" have a different look that Bangkok "TUK-TUK". "TUK-TUK" from Khon Kaen are the same as Bangkok "TUK-TUK". "TUK-TUK" from NongKhai, Udon Thani, Phuket are different. Few women are driving "TUK-TUK".
|Tuk-Tuk in NongKhai|
When buses reach their destination, "TUK-TUK" drivers surround the passengers in order to convince them to sit in their car. Sometimes they event take the bags into their "TUK-TUK" before any agreement. Price is of course higher for foreign tourists. It can be up to 2 or 3 times the price for short distances. Another tricky thing to get 10 more Baht is to claim to have no small change.
No taxi driver is going to let passengers get in his car with dripping bags full of ice and fish. But the "TUK-TUK" drivers don't care.
|Tuk-Tuk in Sri Chiang Mai|
In year 2006, more environmentally-friendly "TUK-TUK" hit the market. The new "TUK-TUK" use a four-stroke 650cc engine with two cylinders, designed for natural gas instead of conventional liquefied petroleum gas. They go for 170 000 baht each. The current rental fee for "TUK-TUK" is 400 baht per day. A loan scheme allow "TUK-TUK" drivers to pay instalments of 150 baht a day, which is cheaper than their daily rent. Bangkok has about 7 400 "TUK-TUK", most of which are rented.