Tuk-Tuk Drivers: Enough Already

January 12, 2009 - 11:13 pm No Comments

Just came back from Pub Street. Seems like a pretty nice little strip of bars. First a pretty good Khmer dinner and then a drink at “Angkor What?”, a popular bar on the strip.

Khmer Dancers

Pub Street

Cambodia is definitely the cheapest place we’ve been. The local currency, the riel, is so unstable and worthless that it’s hardly used. Instead, prices everywhere are quoted in US dollars. Meals cost about US$3 and a rum & coke costs US$1.50. Walking up and down the strip, Doug was offered boom-boom and yum-yum by a woman giving off the pimp vibe. He did not get a price for boom-boom, but yum-yum was US$30, and that included a massage.

The tuk-tuk drivers will swarm to you like flies to shit as soon as you get out of another tuk-tuk. They hover outside restaurants, asking you as soon as you step outside. They will ask you if you want one even if they just saw you turn another driver down. Relentless.

We picked a place to eat and people-watch. Like all the other restaurants in Southeast Asia, the menu was ridiculously huge and unorganized. Bigger is not better. We settled on some more Khmer food, and it was pretty tasty.

When it was time to go, we started talking to the drivers. Our ride form the guest house to Pub Street cost us US$1, so we were determined to pay the same to come home. The drivers wanted $2, then $1.50. Then they wanted to talk to us about how fair the price was, and then they started talking to us about how it was late and it cost more than $1 when it’s late. All BS. With 18 drivers behind them wanting our business, they had no ground to stand on.

Doug and I committed to finding a driver who wasn’t annoying and would take us for US$1. Finally, one of them reluctantly accepted. When we arrived at the guest house, I gave the driver an extra $1 tip as a kind of thank you for not being annoying. The expression on his face was priceless. Doug and I are determined to make the tuk-tuk experience a little better for future travelers to Southeast Asia.

Doug is now trying to get a gecko out of the room by smacking on the door with a remote control. Good night.

Leave a Reply