Thailand Country Guide

Getting Around

 
 

Tuk-Tuk
Tuk-tuks are small lightweight vehicles built to carry passengers. The vast majority of tuk-tuks have three wheels. Some are entirely purpose-built such as the tuk-tuks in Bangkok and some are partially based on motorcycle components primarily the engines, steering, front suspension, fuel tank and driver's seat). A relatively recent development is the four wheeled tuk-tuk often seen in Phuket.

 
 
 
 
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Tuk-tuk in Thailand by Ilya Plekhanov

Songthaew
The songthaew is a truck-based vehicle with a pair of bench seats in the back, one on either side - hence the name, which means "two rows" in Thai. In English tourist literature, they are often referred as minibuses. By far the most common type is based on a pick-up truck with a roof and open sides. Larger types start life as small lorries, and may have windows, and an additional central bench. Smaller types are often converted micro-vans, with a front bench facing backwards and a rear bench facing forwards.

Songthaews are operated extensively as local buses (generally the most economical way to travel shorter distances) and also as taxis. Sometimes the same vehicle will be used for both - be careful if asking a songthaew to take you to someplace if there is nobody in the back, the driver might charge you the taxi price. Therefore, check the price of the ride before embarking.

Songthaews by Manfred Werner

Taxis
Metered taxis are numerous in
Bangkok and starting to become more popular in Chiang Mai but rare elsewhere in Thailand. When available, they are an excellent means of transport - insist on the meter. Beware of taxis which idle around touristy areas and wait for passengers. They are looking for tourists who will take their taxi without using the meter.

Taxi in Bangkok by ADwarf
 
Thailand
Country Guide
 
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