Tuk tuk Cambodia is one of the most popular forms of transits, so there’s no shortage of it no matter where you stand in the country. It’s easy to hear “Tuk-tuk, sir or madam’ chiming through some corners of the streets, and if you call them, a 2-wheeled carriage pulled behind one motorbike will show up and take you around the town.
However, negotiating for a bargain price is not as easy as thought, especially it can be really tricky for the first-timers to the country. Here, we’ll bring you the ultimate tips that will teach you how to ask for a lower price, stay safe, and arrive at the right place.
1. Find your tuk tuk Cambodia drivers
It’s easy to scope out them right outside your hotel, bars, and some clubs. And one more important thing you just can’t ignore: If you speak English, you’ll be charged more than those who can’t. The drivers who are on the move tend to charge less than those who are seen to sit around or wait for a fare.
2. Get to know pagodas and local markets
A portrait of a tuk tuk Cambodia driver nearby a fish market.
Don’t think that every tuk-tuk driver will possess an in-depth understanding of the whole area’s geography. They’ve got a loose grasp of a few landmarks the foreigners often use. For example, asking a tuk-tuk driver the name of a street could result only in a blank stare.
However, they would know the names of the local pagodas and markets (such as Silver Pagoda, Central Market, Psah Chas, etc) instead - so, you must know which one you’re living closest to and then give them that information.
3. Let’s haggle a price
For those more used to Cambodia can freely leave with paying at the end. And the drivers will respond “Up to you” whenever you figure out about the price. This happens since they tend to become more familiar with fares and have a fewer chance to stay being ripped off.
Tuk tuk Cambodia night ride
If you’re a first-timer, settle on one price before getting your new journey started just to dodge any impolite moment in the end. Your best bet should be begun at less than ½, with ¾ of the original price you have to pay. If the tuk-tuk driver refuses, just walk away slowly, and once seeing that the price you offer is reasonable, he will call you back soon.
Everyone tends to pay various rates (while some people can negotiate lower rates, some others have to pay more). Keep in mind that the prices should never get lower than $1. If a trip lasting over 5 minutes, which costs around 4,000 - 6,000 riel, equivalent to $1 - $1.50. If you choose to go across the town, it will take you $3 and anywhere else in Phnom Penh to the airport would cost $6.
In case that the driver waits for you or has to carry your stuff upstairs, don’t hesitate to pay him a bit more. At night, you also have to pay more, especially when you have more people to come along. A trip for a person costs $1.50 and $2 if it’s 2 - 3 people.
4. Get from A to B
Search on Google map to get to the right direction
So right after you’ve succeeded in settling up a price, it’s time to get your tuk-tuk driver to ride you to your desired destination. First of all, you must prepare a sim card and the internet access so that you can enter Google maps just to ensure you’re taken to the right direction. If not, find a map available in every tourist hotel and hot spot. Bring one with you whenever you’re on the move.
As I said, the drivers here are quite familiar with the markets and pagodas in the city, so it’s best to find one close to where you’d like to go. With a map, don’t expect that the tuk-tuk drivers can read it since several of them are map-illiterate.
5. Stay safe when riding in a tuk-tuk
Be alert when you're sitting in a tuk-tuk
So you’re in the back of a tuk tuk Cambodia, but you might be at a dangerous and increased risk of having your wallet snatched by some who are on their motorbikes. Therefore, try to hold your wallet or your bag near you, or maintain it under feet. More than that, the ones who keep playing with their costly smartphones will find them easily snatched out of the hands.
6. Enjoy the tuk-tuk ride
Rolling along the streets right in the back of a tuk-tuk is such a badass and unforgettable experience though it feels bumpy at times. This is also a great opportunity for you to go sightseeing, but always keep your valuables as close to you as possible. It’s because snatches from tuk tuk Cambodia have been increasing in every tourist area.
According to some visitors who visited here before, another complaint we’ve always heard is the congestion in the capital, especially when you sit on tuk-tuks. They get stuck between a horde of motorbikes and other vehicles clogging the roads.
Besides, a lot of Cambodians have to wear masks as a great way to avoid them from some of the pollutions. You can buy them at several vendors dotting the streets together with a few disposable raincoats just in case you’re caught in the rain.
7. Experience Tuk-tuk app trend
In the similar style to Uber or Grab, you, as a passenger can download the app and find your current location, set your desired destination and wait for a tuk tuk Cambodia driver to respond. So how about the price? They tend to be set quite low, so it kind of removes all hassles of negotiating prices for sure!
Tuk tuk Cambodia is one of the most fun and pleasant modes of transportations that you can’t miss, especially if you want to view the surroundings during the ride. This is the best way for everyone to explore mystical Cambodia, and nothing beats riding behind the wheel of a tuk-tuk. It does involve a lot of great adventure in the sound of beeping that naturally fills in the air.