Getting around in Thailand is not very difficult. I often suggest when you are new to an area that you have someone write down the name of the hotel, address, or area on a card in the local language. Although sometimes you find people that canâ€™t read, it usually helps.
Ok, so it is common to have these taxiâ€™s (Tuk Tuks) beep their horn when you are walking. *BEEP BEEP* They are just offering their taxi services.
Nice, arenâ€™t they?
However, should you flag one down, be aware that you represent $ to them. (Actually, with the exchange rates the way they are, they hope you represent â‚¬.) Set a flat fee quote to go where you want before you get in. Some people suggest that using a meter is better but since these Tuk Tuks donâ€™t have meters, the question is mute.
â€œOh that museum/temple/palace is closed todayâ€¦â€
You often hear that from a â€œhelpfulâ€ driver. He is more than willing to take you to a different temple though. As near as I can tell, this is part of a big scam. This is how it usually plays out:
â€œThe Palace is closed today but this other temple is good. Less touristsâ€
At the alternate temple you just happen to meet a guy that speaks damn good English because he is a Doctor and studied in the US. Heâ€™s visiting a friend that is closing his export business this week and is selling his stock! (Wow, what a deal!) So you get the name of the place he suggests.
If you get the name of the store, your driver will take you there. (He gets paid by the store to bring you there) If you donâ€™t want to go to the special export store, the driver will often suggest a few shops you should go to that happen to be near the temple. (Gosh, go figure!) In fact, he may tell you that he gets money for gas if he takes you there. (Oh, now you like him because he is honestâ€¦just wait)
So, one way or another you end up at a store. â€œJust one, then take me homeâ€ you say, thinking that itâ€™s no problem for you to shop a little and help the guy out. (HAHAHA!)
So, one store leads to another and the driver has now promised that the trip is free! (This just gets better and better!)
Last store. You told him only one and youâ€™ve been to three now. You didnâ€™t really need a suit made (you had that done already) and the rugs just wouldnâ€™t fit in the backpack. He looks disappointed but you insist on going back home.
â€œUmm…Iâ€™m out of petrolâ€ he says as you roll to the side of the road, â€œI call my friend. You take other Tuk Tuk homeâ€ With that he parks the cab and proceeds to sit under a nearby tree. From the look on his face, itâ€™s going to be a while.
You realize that he drove you just far enough away from the last shop so they donâ€™t see him strand you. (Thatâ€™s probably bad for business although you didnâ€™t buy a rug so why care?) And here you are walking the streets again, four miles from where you originally got picked up and with no idea where to go.