The Most Economical Way To Go On A Tuk Tuk Tour in Thailand – What To Bring To The Bargaining Table?!
….continuing over from the previous blog about the sights in Bangkok, we wanted to point out the most creative and exciting (at least for us) way to be able to do it – a Tuk Tuk tour in Thailand.
Throughout your trip in this country you will surely, 100%, come face to face with a tuk tuk driver holding a map and a pen offering you a tour of the main sights. This happens mostly in central areas which are popular with tourists, such as the centre of Chiang Mai, Phuket and most definitely all around Bangkok.
Wouldn’t They Be Some Kind of a Scam Though?!
Hmm… that’s not entirely true, at least the ones we went for didn’t turn out to be. After a brief introduction, the short meeting will continue by the driver offering you a “custom made tour” to visit the best Buddhas in the area along with a price. The price differs from one city to another, and from one driver to another. However, always be confident that you can lower that price … like a lot!
Bartering With a Tuk Tuk Driver in Thailand
First things first. We want you to remember that the lives of these people and their families depend solely on tourism. It’s almost like how we depend on you guys to support us by subscribing to our blog, well something like that! Although we always try to get the best price possible since we travel on such a tight budget, we still do our best to support the locals rather than large national companies. So, moving forward, here is a 2-step guide on how to barter a tuk tuk tour in Thailand.
Step 1 | Be Prepared
Be prepared with a list of temples and/or sights in the vicinities you would want to visit, and after you are approached, give the driver your planned itinerary to see which of them can be covered. Remember that a tuk tuk would not be able to venture out of the city that much. Therefore, try to cover the sights close by, as many as you can, in the time period given.
Step 2 | Bargaining The Price
One might think, wouldn’t that be expensive? Well, not at all as we managed to bargain a 3-hour temple tour for just €4! BUT there is a catch! There is something that no tuk tuk driver would say no to, and that’s free gas!
Do I Have to Buy Gas?
No! … why would you think that? When trying to agree on a price (if not already mentioned before by the driver himself), suggest to the driver that you are willing to go to one or two factories in the city, using the phrase “just for looking!”
In many of the cities around Thailand, one can find tourist-orientated factories producing let’s say, for example, custom suits, pearls, jewellery, silk etc. The salespersons working there explain that every product comes with its own certificate, but we won’t comment about how genuine the products are, as honestly, we feel that requires some more research.
The Thai government wants more and more tourists to visit these factories. Thus, it made an agreement with the tuk tuk and van drivers around the cities. Tuk Tuk drivers will get free gas coupons for every tourist they manage to get to these factories – irrelevant of the amount they spend, or if they spend any money at all. Therefore, by visiting these factories for a few minutes, you’ll be bringing your tour’s price tag down by providing the driver free gas coupons. That’s a win-win situation, right?!
What are the Factories Like?
The initial experience is very interesting, as they will explain the process of how the product is made. The second part can be a bit frustrating, as the salespersons (usually women) will follow you at every step you make inside the shop, trying their absolute best to sell you their products. No worries, after some time you’ll soon develop a skill to escape the factory maze! 😂