Take a Tuk-Tuk

The practical, puttering tuk-tuk is one of the classic mainstays of Sri Lankan life. Clogging the streets of every city on the island, and found bumping along even the most remote mountain roads, the motorized rickshaw is an unavoidable, and incredibly fun, method of transportation.

How to take a Tuk-Tuk in Sri Lanka

“Taxi? Taxi, sir? Taxi?!” Ah, the joyous chorus that follows us wherever we go! As we walk down the street, a clamorous line of tuk-tuks follows us, demanding our attention. “Taxi? Taxi, sir? Taxi?!” Regardless of how often we say “no”, or how insistently we wave them off, they’ll not be deterred. The idea that we might prefer walking is positively baffling! And it’s not a reality the tuk-tuk driver is prepared to accept.

Half the time, we let them win. The truth is, there’s no better way to get around in Sri Lanka. We’ve been here a week, and I’ve already lost count of how many tuk-tuk rides we’ve taken. And each one provides an exciting little memory we’ll treasure for years to come. “Remember that time we almost died on Galle Road?” “Oh gosh, right! That bus almost smashed us to pieces, haha”. Once, as we were speeding down a curvy hill in Kandy, our driver confidently remaining in the passing lane while turning around to chat with us, Jürgen observed that the ride was just like a rickety old roller coaster, but, you know, without any rails, seat-belts or safety considerations. This made the driver laugh.

Tuk Tuk Driver Sri Lanka

I’m exaggerating a little. Though the adrenaline rush of the average tuk-tuk ride is profound, I’ve never felt really in danger. The drivers are experienced and familiar with the idiosyncratic laws of the Sri Lankan road. And each trip we take makes us more comfortable. We’re getting good at haggling prices down, and are learning the tricks of the trade. You should never get in a rickshaw without first agreeing on the price, and definitely refuse those who offer free trips. And if you’re in Colombo, try and find metered tuk-tuks, which almost always result in a cheaper fare.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. jan

    I don’t usually enjoy video clips.  Mostly they are too slow to capture my attention.  But this one was such fun.  I felt like I was speeding around corners myself and laughed when I realized I was leaning in my seat!  Great.

    1. Juergen

      Hahah .. I do the same thing re-watching the video 🙂

  2. wasp

    Also take a bus ride inside Colombo. If you are interested, some inter-provincial buses in Sri Lanka speeds up to 90 kmph sometimes when they caught in race with other buses. But please be careful outside Colombo specially.

  3. raffamondo

    hello, great image story! Would like to ask to  Mr. Cena if he could take us thorough sri lanka by tuk tuk. Could you please send me the email adress? thank you in advice! -raffaello

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