There are comparatively few Vietnamese tuk-tuks on the road. Most are in the two largest cities, Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi as well as a few in other major tourist centres. Ho Chi Minh tuk-tuks generally comprise the motorcycle and trailer style of Siem Reap while Hanoi and Hoi An tuk-tuks are of the style of the light Phnom Penh type.
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Lao tuk-tuks are generally of the Phnom Penh style. They come as Tuk-tuks or Jumbo Tuk-tuks. Jumbos have a larger 3 or 4 cylinder 4 stroke engine, many are powered by Daihatsu engines. While the smaller tuk-tuks carry similar loads to Cambodian tuk-tuks, and are geared similarly, Jumbos' larger engine and cabin size allow for greater loads (up to 12 seated people at a squeeze) and higher top speeds. Jumbos are almost without exception only found in Vientiane. A few Thai tuk-tuks (fully enclosed cabin) have also made their way to Vientienne
In Cambodia, the term tuk-tuk is used to refer to a motocycle with a cabin attached to the rear. Cambodian cities have a much lower volume of automobile traffic than Thai cities, and tuk-tuks are still the most common form of urban transport.
At the temple complex of Angkor, tuk-tuks provide a convenient form of transport around the complex for tourists. One can hire a tuk-tuk and driver by the day.
Siem Reap tuk-tuks are generally of the style of motorcycle and trailer. Phnom Penh tuk-tuks are by contrast one piece. They are the front end of a motorcycle comprising of steering, tank and engine/gearbox with a covered tray mounted at the back. The power is transferred by chain to an axle mounted to the modified rear fork which drives the two rear wheels. Suspended upon the rear fork is an open cabin with an in-line seat on each side. This arrangement can carry 6 people at ease, with their luggage in the leg space. It is not unusual to see these vehicles greatly overloaded, especially in outer suburbs and around markets.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The tuk-tuk (ตุ๊กตุ๊ก or ตุ๊กๆ in Thai) is the Southeast Asian version of a vehicle known elsewhere as an auto rickshaw or cabin cycle. It is a widely used form of urban transport in Bangkok and other Thai cities, as well as other major Southeast Asian and South Asian cities. It is particularly popular where traffic congestion is a major problem, such as in Bangkok. Tuk-tuks were introduced in Brighton, England on 10th July 2006, where a fleet of twelve (spelt TucTuc) operate using compressed natural gas, as the first motorised rickshaw service in Europe, between Brighton Marina and Hove, via Brighton railway station.
The tuk-tuk may have a sheet metal body (painted mild steel) or open frame with canvas roof and drop-down sides. Some have ornate tin ornamental hammerings or carvings for decoration. The roof may be either mild steel or a water-proofed canvas, riveted to round tubing. Water-proof removable sides can be added in the rainy season. Resting on three small wheels (one in front, two on the rear), there is a small cabin for the driver in the front and seating for three in relative comfort in the rear. They are very maneuverable and can turn around in one lane of traffic with room to spare.
Tuk-tuks are generally fitted with a water-cooled two-stroke engine. They have handlebar controls instead of a steering wheel, making them a tricycle. The tuk-tuk is named after the sound its two-stroke engine makes when it is idling. It may have been derived from a similar Japanese automobile Daihatsu Midget in the 1950s (later Bajaj of Indonesia), although tuk-tuks of the type used in Brighton, England evolved from the Vespa scooter (later Bajaj of India), using old Piaggio Vespa pattern tooling and a Piaggio-derived 175cc engine. These were the front half of a Vespa, with an axle created for the rear, badged (in Vespa-style) as the Ape. These were used with truck bodies, pick-up bodies and eventually taxi bodies. Later the legshields were extended all the way up and over to create a roof. They generally are low geared, to allow the small engine to move comparatively large loads. Given the low gearing, Tuk-tuks have a high torque-to-weight ratio and can accelerate quite quickly making them nimble, especially in heavy traffic. The lack of high speed capability is irrelevant in heavy urban traffic.
Tuk-tuk drivers may have migrated from the provinces and have a reputation for not knowing the city in which they work very well, therefore getting people lost. Tuk-tuks do not have meters and users generally bargain with the driver for a price to take them to a specified destination. In Bangkok, there is now a maximum fee which drivers may not exceed. This has tended to become the default fee for foreigners. As with all unmetered transport, not agreeing to a fee before departure can risk unethical practice by the driver.
Drivers also earn money by having advertising posters and placards on their tuk-tuks. In early 2005 many of them were covered in advertising for the 6 February election. Tuk-tuk drivers can earn fuel vouchers or other commissions by diverting passengers to certain businesses that cater to tourists, possibly against the passenger's expressed wishes. Most drivers also decorate their tuk-tuks with religious charms and small Buddha images.