Tuk-Tuk in Thailand − From the Streets to the Stage

You’ve probably heard the saying, if you once visit Thailand and miss a chance to experience this globally well-known local vehicle of Thailand, it simply means that you’ve never EVER been to Thailand! Right, we’re now talking about the tuk-tuk, a local auto rickshaw that has long been considered one of the world’s most iconic public transport experiences, gaining more and more popularity among tourists and visitors!

The tuk-tuk is a vehicle used in Thailand. It operates like a taxi, but is smaller than a taxi. It is more like a motorcycle that has been fitted with a locally-designed passenger compartment. Literally, there are also some other versions of these vehicles in other Southeast Asian countries, but mostly, it’s called tuk-tuk only in Thailand which thereby makes it quite unique and memorable!

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When it comes to the language, there’s no literal meaning of the word “tuk-tuk”, just something we derived from the sound, in onomatopoeia kind of way. Actually, not “we”, because the ones who named this three-wheeled vehicle are the foreigners. Many tourists get the impression with the fact that it’s called tuk-tuk by the sound it makes as its engine is started, or the sound it makes as it speeds off. All of us Thai people know that tuk-tuk has no meaning in terms of language, but when talking about the sound it actually produces, personally I don’t think it sounds anything like “tuk-tuk”. However, I can’t argue with the fact that it’s easy for foreigners to pronounce and remember, so let it be called as it is. 🙂

This fancy vehicle recently made the country proud last year, after being transformed and adapted to a national costume for the Miss Universe 2015 pageant. At first, this breakthrough came under widespread criticism relating to the appropriateness of this so called “national costume”. However, at the end, Aniporn Chalermburanawong, 21, also known as Miss Thailand 2015, was officially crowned with the Best National Costume. The spectacular beauty queen also made it into the final 15 and the final 10 contestants running for Miss Universe 2015.

In the video below you can see the iconic tuk-tuk dress of Thailand:


Who knew a tuk-tuk could be so beautiful?! This is the first time Thailand thought outside the box by creating a fun way to represent our culturally rich country instead of using the same old styles and Aniporn or “Nat” definitely slayed her gorgeous costume, in which she dressed as a signature of tuk-tuk. The costume was unique and the perfect representation of one of the most recognizable transportation features in Thailand. Despite of some controversial issues prior to the competition, the overall feedback about the dress was quite positive. Especially those pageant fans that are beyond happy with this weird-yet-wonderful costume because it would surely make Aniporn stand out and yes, undoubtedly, it perfectly did, the high hopes were not in vain!

On the other hand, some might have a negative perspective of tuk-tuk especially with the inflated rates for the tourists, but that’s not a big deal. All you need to know is that negotiation and fare haggling are acceptable, just don’t forget! And last but not least, all I can say is hopping on a tuk-tuk is more of an experience rather than a practical and convenient way to get around, make sure you don’t get overwhelmed on the ride!




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