The tuk tuk or remork kong bai (in Khmer) is one of the popular transportation in the Kingdom of Cambodia, besides the motodop (motorcycle taxi). You will absolutely need to hop onto a tuk tuk in Cambodia at some point of your trip.
It is also one of the local experiences that tourists look forward to as it allows them to see the city in a windowless ride.
There are, however a few types of tuk tuk drivers in Cambodia that you’ll meet when you’re in the city and this could make you feel confused at times, especially when there’s a language barrier.
How to get a Tuk Tuk in Cambodia
Here’s a few tips on how to easily make your way around on a tuk tuk in Siem Reap, and other Cambodian cities:
1. When a tuk tuk calls out to you outside the hotel, make sure to acknowledge which driver you wish to deal with. This is because usually there’s a few drivers waiting outside and they would say “I call you first!” or “I ask you first!” if you didn’t notice them.
2. Always negotiate for the price of tuk tuk before you get on. If not they’ll put the fee for you at the end of the ride, which could be more than the usual fee. Ask your hotel what the standard tuk tuk price is for the trip that you want to take, to make sure that you’re not getting ripped off.
3. If you’re not sure of the exact location of your destination, you could get assistance from the hotel concierge or a local on explaining it in Khmer. Either that or tell them the street number or a landmark. If they don’t know any of these, then take the next tuk tuk instead. A good driver would at least know either one of those things.
4. Prepare small change, preferable in USD$ or Cambodian riels. For your info, USD$1 = 4,000 riels so you can pay with either currency here in Cambodia. Be aware that most of the drivers do not have change for you.
5. Take care of your belongings when you’re riding in the tuk tuk. This is because some of them do not have covers on the sides or back and this could result in items being snatched when you’re on board. Keep your phone and money in your wallet or bag until you arrive at your destination.
You’ll soon get the hang of riding in a tuk tuk in Cambodia. Keep aware at all times, and don’t be afraid of negotiating. That being said, don’t rip off the drivers, they deserve a fair fee.