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The History of the Tuk Tuk in Asia

April 5, 2012 |


Tuk tuk is an Asian origin vehicle that’s commonly known in other places as cabin cycle or auto rickshaw. It’s mostly used as an urban based type of transport in Thai cities, Bangkok, Major Southeast Asian and also south Asian cities. Tuk tuk are handy where traffic congestions are at its peak like in Bangkok. First introduced in Brighton England in July 2006, the tuk tuk used compressed natural gases and were among the first motorized rickshaw service in Europe. They were actually twelve in number and operated between Brighton Marina to Hove via the Brighton railway station

Most Thailand built cabin cycles go for 150’000 baht to 95’000 baht and there are about six to seven tu-tuk manufacturers in this region. Most original tuk tuks are found in many Asian towns and operate as open air taxis. Tuk tuks were named after the sound made by the small capacity two cycled engines. Mostly they are found around markets, tourist areas or in famous cruising streets in streets. One tuk tuk can accommodate from three to five people depending on how strict traffic rules are being enforced in a region. They are also able to carry goods, boxes and large bags in their open carriers and transport them to other places with ease. Most tourists are usually curious about the tuk tuk that’s made locally in Asian countries and can often be sighted taking pictures with the open air vehicle. Tuktuks were first invented in Thailand over fifty years ago and has continuously evolved from being a relative of rickshaws. Initial models had a single stroke motor powered engine which had a very distinctive hum whenever it was in operation. Over the years tuk tuk constructing companies have improved the quality and technology and this has been a great mile stone for the companies (Image by Nick Young).


Initially tuk tuk were only used for passengers transport but over the years they have been integrated to industrial uses with new models and designs coming up every rising day. Owing to its agility a tuk tuk can be able to find its way in small alleys and on small delivery routes as well as scooting around in narrow factories while taking advantage of it’s turning radius. Tuk tuk’s have been modified to have automated doors, automatic gears, safety belts, air conditioners and many more, depending on their customer’s requirements. Their engine models, mostly 550 CC Japanese based engines have enough strength to carry one tone!

Most customers in Asia use tuk tuks to haul goods in factories, distributing factory goods and products especially in regions with narrow roads and to transport guests to different resorts especially at night. Most tuk tuks are made up of sheet metal bodies, open frames or an improvised canvas roof with drop down sides except for the windscreen side. For mild steeled roofing, most are riveted to round tubing’s, the canvas roofed tuk tuks need not to worry you as the roof is usually water proof. To sum up, tuk tuk first originated in Japan but were later taken over and produced by Asian based countries.


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Featured image courtesy : Muholan Kanapathy

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Category: Transportation, Travel Asia, Travel China, Travel India, Travel Resources, Travel Thailand

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