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Why are tuk tuks so expensive?

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Why are tuk tuks so expensive?

Postby Voice of Reason » December 5th, 2013, 1:57 pm

Everywhere I go in Southeast Asia Tuk Tuks, motos, Cyclos etc are always more expensive than metered taxis, and they often ask for ridiculous amounts.

And they won't budge unless you agree to pay this amount.

For instance in Bangkok I once wanted to get a Tuk Tuk from Siam to Rathchaprarop (2.5 km), and no Tuk Tuk would budge for less than 80 Baht. So I got a taxi for 40 baht.

It gets worse in other countries like Laos and Cambodia. It seems that the "poorer" the country the more money they want.

In Cambodia when I arrived in Sihanoukville I was quoted $7 to go 2-3km, and the guy got annoyed when I refused to pay that much.

In Laos it's similar. For example in Sovannakhet (on the Thai/Lao border) it always costs 60 Thai Baht to go from the bus stop to your guesthouse, and they always try to get 80 baht. But when I was in Mukdahan (the Thai side the border) they are quite happy to take me for 40 Baht.

In can be worse in countries where there are minimal metered taxis. In Vientaine I was dropped off at a bus station in the middle of nowhere, and the one Tuk Tuk driver there wouldn't take me for any less than 40,000 kip ($6). In Thailand that same distance would have been less than 100 Baht in a metered taxi.

Why are Tuk Tuks often so expensive? And why do they cost more in the poorer countries than in Thailand?
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Postby xiongmao » December 5th, 2013, 2:57 pm

I heard that in Bangkok some guys decided to start a baht bus service (i.e. like they have in Pattaya) but the tuk-tuk/taxi drivers beat them up, so you'll rarely see a baht bus in the centre of Bangkok.

There's definitely a conspiracy to make "rich" tourists pay more for transportation.

I've now mastered Bangkok's bus system. But buses have no English and the maps are terrible. So the chance of a tourist being able to a bus around town here are pretty remote.

In Guangzhou the buses had English announcements and sometimes English sign boards. But learning the Chinese symbols for your destination was a whole lot easier than learning Thai script.
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Postby Voice of Reason » December 5th, 2013, 3:12 pm

xiongmao wrote:There's definitely a conspiracy to make "rich" tourists pay more for transportation.


Their definitely are instances where they work together to get more out of you, as opposed to competing against each other for who can give the lowest price...rather like the petrol stations do in Australia.
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