2 modes of transport I would never take in Bangkok:
2. Motorbike Taxis (also known as Motosai)
This is not about being a snob or having my nose high up in the air, but more because I value my life, as the drivers of the afore-mentioned transportation are, in my opinion, suicidal. They drive like a maniac, they are likely drunk by noon and reeking of alcohol, they squeeze into the smallest space and cut corners, they don’t respect road rules; often driving in opposite directions of traffic when they think they can without giving any thoughts to their passengers. And, they think they are Michael Schumachers of the world.
Have you ever been in one of those? If you have, you are very brave! I think these drivers are sometimes too brave for their own good. I find that they can be stir-shit scary when they go behind the wheels.
These guys, they live by the power of the amulets they wear around their necks which they believe will protect them from any harm. Not being dead is one of them. With the amulets, they are invincible. They can never get into any accidents and they can never die. Only because they are protected by the super powers of the amulets.
Would you believe if I told you that in my 10 years in Bangkok, I have only ever taken the motorbike taxis no more than 5x and the tuk-tuk only once? Yes. You read that right. ONCE.
And that tuk-tuk ride had happened only recently; more out of desperation than anything else. In a span of 45 minutes, I must have hailed at least 5 taxis and waiting for one who would be willing to drive me home using a metered fare. But, either they wanted an unreasonably high flat rate which can be 2.5x of what a meter fare would be or they just flatly refused because they can.
So after a relentless wait in the very humid and hot weather, I caved in. I waved a tuk-tuk, told him where I needed to go and hopped in. In fact, he accelerated WHILE I was climbing in and then sped away as the music blasted away into my fragile ears.
As soon as I plopped my butt into his neon-light decorated tuk-tuk, he zig-zagged through the traffic at top speed, sending my heart on a race and my head, about to explode from the glaring light and the annoyingly music. I couldn’t actually bring myself to even look ahead of me.
When I told him to slow down, I got a scolding. A big, fat scolding.
He immediately raised his voice above the blasting music and with an annoyed how-dare-you expression, body language and a harsh tone of voice, he probably was also cussing at me in Thai. Actually…it wasn’t the first time that I have gotten a royal scolding from drivers when I told them to slow down. This asshole is no exception!
As if trying to teach me a lesson after my request for him to slow down, he accelerated even faster and then went against traffic, grumbling away at me. I yelped a big “Oi!! as I hung on to my dear life. I didn’t like how he drove one bit and the loud music he was blasting into my ears was equally driving me insane! But I didn’t have a choice.
The only thing he didn’t do was a wheelie on that 3-wheel junk.
I still managed to snap a quick shot with my shaking hands in my first few minutes of my ride. I wasn’t a very happy camper back there!
The fare was a little higher than what a normal taxi would cost and he got me home in less than 10 minutes. I got off the tuk-tuk with my knees shaking, my ears buzzing and a fraction of my heart in my gut. Longest 10-minutes tuk-tuk ride of my life! I was once again humbly reminded why I had refused to take those tuk-tuks.
If you fancy a little adventure, by all means, take those tuk-tuks or the motorbikes. They can be a good time-saver. The tuk-tuks may even be kind enough to offer you a free ride if you agree to a little detour where they’ll take you to some gem-stone shops of which they would get some commission for bringing new customers.
Otherwise, my advice is, just stay away from them. You can always label me spoilt, a little too paranoid for my own good or a snob even. And that’s OK – I can live with that as I’m known to be a wuss when it comes to such things.
Above all, I’m a mother and although my kids drive me to the brink of insanity sometimes, I am far from being suicidal and I don’t wish to die in the hands of drivers who are.