No traveler to South East Asia gets too far without experiencing a ”tuktuk”.
“What is a tuk-tuk?” you ask: well, it is a three-wheeled motorized rickshaw that is named after the putt-putting sound of their little engines.
The sound of spluttering and beeping tuk-tuks fills the air in most reasonably sized cities as they are maneuverable and can often zigzag their way around traffic making them a faster transport option.
Siem Reap is not immune to the omnipotence of the tuk-tuk; there are many of them tearing around town madly delivering tourists from one place to another.
What You Need To Know About Tuk-tuks
Tuk-tuks tend to be a popular choice for tourists who are often quite taken with their cuteness and novelty factor. But before you go jumping in one of them there are a few things you should know.
Tuktuks do not have meters. The price of the journey must be decided before you get on board.
Be warned, the initial price they offer is likely to be well over what it should be. Before you go anywhere near a tuk-tuk it is a great idea is to ask locals such as hotel or restaurant staff for the rough prices of the journeys you plan to make.
Build in a cushion amount for the amplified price that is generally charged to tourists and you will have an idea of what you should reasonably pay.
Some tuk-tuk drivers handle the road like Eval Knievel on crack. Asian traffic tends to be a little more relaxed about road rules than what most westerners are used to. You will get somewhat accustomed to their kamikaze driving style after a few harrowing journeys.
If you can’t handle dodging traffic like a lunatic then either close your eyes and hold on, or politely tap the driver and ask him to slow down a little. Fortunately since Siem Reap does not experience the same traffic problems as large cities, the drivers tend to be a little less intense in their driving styles and you are unlikely to disembark with new grey hairs.
A tuk-tuk is a great way to see Siem Reap and tour the temples of the Angkor Wat complex. Another common way for tourists to get about Siem Reap is by hiring motor cycle drivers, but a tuktuk affords you protection from the searing heat of the sun while providing a breeze at the same time and with the flaps down you are protected from the rain.
Remembering the reason that they are called tuk-tuks, you can probably imagine that the vehicles are not capable of achieving great speeds. This means that you can easily catch a good view of the scenery as you zip along.
So in short…
There are plenty of tuktuk drivers around Siem Reap that are happy to negotiate a good price for a whole day or a few days of touring.
Many of the tuk-tuk drivers can speak at least a few words of English and there are others that speak very good English and can act as competent tour guides.
If you do hire them for a whole day, it is worth remembering that they may not have any money to buy lunch with if you are planning to pay them at the end of the day. Either paying them a proportion of the fee up front, or shouting them to lunch is a good idea. A driver high on the smell of gas fumes emitted from the tuk-tuk and hunger is not a good combination.
Tuk-tuks are a convenient way to see Siem Reap and no trip to Southeast Asia would be complete without a tuktuk experience.