12 Facts That Nobody Told You about Tuk Tuks

Sharing some of the most interesting, quirky and surprising facts about a tuk tuks that nobody has told you.

The word tuk tuk is a term used for a type of three-wheeled motorised vehicle popular in Southeast Asia and some parts of Africa and South America. The word “tuk tuk” is specifically used in Bangkok, a dynamic and exciting Asian city that is every budget foodie’s dream. Generally, a tuk tuk is any type of motor vehicle with three wheels, and it perfectly epitomises the carefree, fun and cost-friendly attitude of a budget traveller. Some people even managed to travel the world in a tuk tuk.

Passanger’s view in a tuk tuk.

Here are top 12 facts that nobody has told you about tuk tuks:

Fact #1

Motorised tuk tuks originated from the design of rickshaws, which were prevalent on the streets of Bangkok during World War II. A small engine was fitted inside a traditional rickshaw, and the tuk tuk was born.

Fact #2 

Tuk tuks got their name from the sound that the earliest models make. The engine makes a ‘tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk’ sound. With the advent of better technologies, the annoying engine sound has already been minimised.

Old and rusty tuk tuk.

Fact #3

While tuk tuks are made in Thailand, there are also models that are made in India and other Asian countries. Of course, the best tuk tuk manufacturers are found in Thailand.  They even export to European countries like Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Fact #4 

Most legitimate Bangkok city guides always include taking a tuk tuk trip around the city.  Travellers have to be careful though because some drivers take advantage of tourists by charging double the usual amount.

Tuk tuk driver sleeping in a tuk tuk. Do you think he enjoyed his nap?

Fact #5 

Tuk tuks are called by other names around the world.  This type of three-wheeled vehicle is generally called an auto rickshaw. There are many other kinds of auto rickshaws around the world.

Having a tuk tuk ride in Siem Reap, Cambodia. That was an awesome experience!

Fact #6 

There are certain regional variations of tuk tuks. In Asia alone, three-wheeled motorized vehicles are called bajaj in Jakarta and bemo in Bali.  In Bangladesh, they are called CNGs, and in the Philippines, they’re called tricycles.  Variations of tuk tuks can also be seen in Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Fact #7 

In Arugam Bay, Eastern Sri Lanka, a trusted man named Murjeeth Mohmeed takes tourists on all the scenic locations around the city on his tuk tuk. He will even teach willing visitors how to drive a tuk tuk at no extra cost!

Fact #8

There are also variations of tuk tuks in South and Central America. They can be seen in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, where tuk tuks are called mototaxis.

Nice wall paint inspired by tuk tuks.

Fact #9

In the United Kingdom, there are already companies that have been importing tuk tuks. Customers even have options of renting and customising tuk tuks. A UK-based website gives customers a chance to create their very own tuk tuk with the use of an on-site tool. The usual cost of tuk tuks start from £5,000 with shipping and VAT. Tuk tuks have UK road approval for private selling and hiring.

Fact #10

Electric tuk tuks are now being used all over the world, replacing auto rickshaws that run on petrol or diesel. 

Tuk tuk spotted in the street of Lisbon, Portugal.

These alternative tuk tuks usually run on 650-1400 watt electric motors. Electric rickshaws are now becoming more popular in India, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and other European countries. Some even claim that they can be threats to Uber and taxi services, especially for short-distance travel.

Fact #11

Lisbon, Portugal is the self-proclaimed e-Tuk capital of Europe. These 100% electric and pollution-free vehicles are used in the tourism industry. Eco Tuk Tours Lisboa takes visitors around the cultural icons of the city in an ecological and sustainable way.

Fact #12 

A typical tuk tuk from Thailand.

During the 2015 Miss Universe Beauty pageant, Miss Thailand, who was representing her country, won Best Costume when she wore a stylized tuk tuk as her national outfit. Miss Thailand actually wore an accent piece with headlights and a windshield, and her dress has a circular shape like the front part of a tuk tuk.  Part of the front side of her dress is an actual headlight. It is a very inventive and well-deserved award indeed. If you’ve been to Thailand and miss the lemon and ginger flavours of the country, here’s a simple recipe for a healthy lemon and ginger beetroot juice.

Have you ever had a tuk tuk ride? If so, how did you enjoy it?

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