Tuk-tuk and Motobikes. About transportation in Thailand

Moving around in Thailand is different to what we are used to. In many cities, and Pattaya is not an exception, the most commonly used transportation is tuk-tuk. Typically, the cost of a tuk-tuk is about 10-20 baht, depending on the route. Tuk-tuks go by established routes and usually will send a signal letting you know that they can pick up a person. They stop if you rise your hand.

Here is a tuk-tuk:

Let me explain a very important point. Some people stop tuk-tuk and ask “Will you get to our hotel?” And get the answer “yes”. However, at their destination they find out they need to pay not 10 baht, but much more (300-500 baht). The explanation is simple: tuk-tuk may work in a taxi mode. Stop any tuk-tuk, negotiate the price and you will be taken to your place. Often tuk-tuk deviates from the route to take a person to his destination.
In a word, if you want to pay 10 baht per trip, never specify the place and don’t ask if it will take you to your hotel
Here is an example of a 4-wheel route-transport called songteo:

Tuk-tuk route map in Pattaya

The next type of transport which is very common is motobike, or mototaxi. You can easily spot them on the streets. They usually have special suits. They often loudly clap their hands and shout “Taxi” to attract customers. A typical trip in Pattaya costs 30-150 baht. And you should bargain. They will overprice you if they see you don’t know English well or not sure about the route. Sometimes I took mototaxi 2 times cheaper than the original price they requested.

Another tip: always clearly pronounce the name of the hotel. Many hotels have very similar names. If you know where the hotel is, tell it the taxi driver, for example “the Paradise hotel, on Jomtien.” This will simplify his search. Many taxi drivers don’t know the city well, some can’t read and poorly understand the map, which typical for Thais.

Another advice: try to pay exact amount, as often taxi drivers say they don’t have change. As you understand, in fact they mostly do.

One more warning. Never ask taxi drivers how to get somewhere. They think if you don’t use their service, you can be sent anywhere. You will be intentionally given a wrong direction. I ran into it quite a few times before I realized that they should not be asked at all.
Also, watch the driver. Some drink right at work, so problems may arise.
And the last form of transport is a regular taxi. I suggest you better not use it because as they don’t have many orders they try to make more money by cheating. You will be rolled around to wind a counter, or they don’t turn it on and then will extort a large amount. My personal opinion is that a taxi should be taken to Pattaya in one case only: to deliver a drunk body that is not able to sit on a motorbike.

Usually taxis are painted in bright colors: pink, yellow, blue and green. Typically it’s Toyota Corolla. You will learn how to recognize them in a while.

When taking a taxi ask to turn the”taxi meter” right away. Going by the meter is most cost-effective.

As soon as you sit in a taxi, the meter will show you the amount of 35 baht. Don’t worry, this amount is equivalent to 2 km from the start of the trip.

Typically, any taxi driver will try to avoid turning the meter on and say the amount  which may be 1.5-2 times as high. Bargain if you do not want to overpay.
Now, a couple of videos. The author mistakenly calls songteo tuk-tuk:

Here is a real tuk-tuk:

A lighter video, real tuk-tuk:

One thought on “Tuk-tuk and Motobikes. About transportation in Thailand

  • April 16, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Those tuk-tuks are horrible. They cheat- the ride is bumpy- better take normal taxi a lot more comfortable


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