There’s no way for me to describe it. I don’t have the vocabulary and writing skill for it. Instead, I offer a pictoral definition.
It’s not as common as it sounds now that taxis are slowly taking over. To hire and ride them on the streets are usually pretty dangerous and expensive. Dangerous in the sense that not only could you get flattened by a top heavy speaking truck, you could also be taken on a detour by the driver trying to rip you off.
In the Bangkok roads, you’re more likely to get bugs and dust in your eyes and breathe smog in these things than really get a touristy sight-seeing experience. Having said that, I still see Thai locals on them, from four students crammed in for a ride home or a lone maid or restaurant worker loading every stuff-able cranny of the passengar compartment with product from the Klong Toei market.
My apartment tuktuk is allowed only two destinations- down the street to almost the intersection of the closest Skytrain station and through the backstreets to the Emporium shopping center. Towards the end of my first week of riding it, it started to sound like it was on its last engine, sputtering when being started, and stalling mid-ride on a few occaisions. Which makes the ride feel wilder because the driver is trying to rush down to get me there before it stalls out and we’re careening down and around the traffic of what I had formerly thought was a two-lane road.
So, yes, I take the tuktuk every morning. And I can’t help giggle everytime I say that.