Tuk Tuk or three-wheeled vehicles is a classic transportation mode that you can see in Bangkok and some provinces in Thailand. It operates as an open-air taxi and is popular among tourists who visit Bangkok. Riding a tuk tuk gives a passenger unique experience. That’s why visitors want to try it at least once when they are in Bangkok.
Let’s talk about the cost. The passengers have to agree for the fare with the driver first before on board. Well, the fare varies and no standard. It depends on many factors such as distance, destination, traffic congestion, and driver’s mood.
For Thais, sometimes the driver asks us back for the fare that we were charged before. But, it does not mean the driver will agree with the fare we tell him. Usually, the fare that he offers is more expensive than taking a cab. That’s why nowadays many locals choose taxi over tuk tuk.
For tourists, there is a high chance that the driver will overcharge because most visitors do not know the direction and the distance. Besides, visitors want to try riding a tuk tuk. To avoid this, visitors should know the distance and be able to calculate the taxi fare in order to compare with the fare that the driver offers.
To know the distance, google map can help you. And for the taxi fare, in Bangkok it starts at 35 baht for the first kilometer and Each kilometer is charged at 5.50 baht for 1st – 10th kilometers, 6.5 baht for 10th -20th kilometers, 7.5 baht for 20th -40th kilometers, 8 baht for 40th -60th kilometers, 9 baht for 60th -80th kilometers, and 10.50 baht for above 80 kilometers. And, you have to pay 2 baht per minute when a taxi is standing still.
In short, if the distance is 2 kilometers, the taxi fare is 41 baht. If the distance is 5 kilometers, the taxi fare is 57 baht. Well, this is a rough estimation and does not include the charge from traffic congestion. So, the tuk tuk fare shall be more or less the same as taxi fare. You might have to use negotiation skill when talking to a Tuk Tuk driver in Bangkok.
My recommendation for taking tuk tuk in Bangkok is to take it for short trips and non-peak hours only. Bangkok is hot all year long and traffic here is always jam, so, believe me, taking an open-air vehicle for more than 15 minutes is not fun. My foreigner friend visited Bangkok once. She loves riding Tuk Tuk very much. But she wants to ride it at night only (when the temperature cools down a bit).
Last but not least, be careful of scam. The driver might offer you sightseeing tours or special shopping places. Just say “no, thanks” and tell him the exact place that you want to go.