Though many tuk-tuk drivers rely on tourists to make a living, most seem to have poor knowledge and communication skills, with no regulations requiring them to improve.
A simple request to visit the local orphanage at a neighbouring village near our hotel in Khao Lak, Phang Nga, was met with “I don’t know where” and “Must be far away”. We showed the driver a simple map in Thai showing the orphanage was no more than 10 kilometre away. He said he didn’t understand but offered to take us for Bt1,000. Of course we rejected that and opted to rent a car and drive ourselves.
If authorities cracked down on the cartels that control the tuk-tuks, perhaps drivers would not be able to wait around idly, seeking the one or two suckers they need to overcharge per day to make a living. Tuk-tuks should be about turnover and service. I wonder if the cartels give anything to locals in need and orphanages, which visitors like us have supported since the tsunami.
This happens to tourists every day in the region and yet the tuk-tuk cartels continue not to give a damn about their customers.