This small detail will save you money riding Bangkok’s tuk-tuks

A government tuk-tuk with orange plates
 You likely won’t go a few steps without hearing someone offering you a ride in one of Bangkok’s iconic tuk-tuks. These three-wheeled vehicles whiz you through the congested streets and can help save your feet between stops.

The ride itself is memorable. Some drivers act like they’re racing the cars around you while using their small size to maneuver between cars. All while you’re smelling the exhaust of Bangkok traffic around you.

Truthfully, we didn’t use tuk-tuks that often.We enjoyed walking around the city, but one day our plans to visit the Grand Palace were turned upside down because of the King’s funeral. Instead, a local suggested some temples we might want to visit instead and helped educate us on the tuk-tuk system since they were pretty close together.

A private tuk-tuk with white plates
First, he pointed out there are two types of tuk-tuks. One is regulated by the government. The other is just a driver. Both tuk-tuks look remarkable similar and the drivers dress the same. The difference is the government “regulates” pricing for its approved tuk-tuks, while the drivers set the price for the private ones. Our journey to multiple sites cost 60 Bahts while it would have been more than 100 Baht for a private ride.


The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the top of the tuk-tuk. If it has a “taxi” sign on the top that usually means it's a government tuk-tuk. The sure-fire way is to look at the license plate. All government-regulated vehicles (taxis, buses, tuk-tuks) have orange plates while private tuk-tuks have the standard white plate.

Finally, just because pricing is supposed to be regulated by the government doesn’t mean they won’t try to rip you off. I didn’t find any price list so it seems you’re still at the whim (and honesty) of the driver. Still it’s supposedly better than the regular guys.
This small detail will save you money riding Bangkok’s tuk-tuks This small detail will save you money riding Bangkok’s tuk-tuks Reviewed by Brandon on December 14, 2017 Rating: 5

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