Phnom Penh Tuk Tuk: Complete Travel Guide & Travel Tips For The Best Khmer experiences

Phnom Penh Tuk Tuk is one of the most popular and convenient modes of transportation to travel around you’ll come across the capital city of Cambodia. In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about Phnom Penh tuk tuk, what you can expect from your tuk tuk experience, and some valuable tips to make the most of your tuk tuk adventures.

What is “Tuk Tuk”?

A tuk tuk, also known as a remork or a rickshaw, is a motorized or pedal-powered three-wheeled vehicle commonly used for transportation in many Southeast Asian countries. The official name for them is the French word Remarque, but everyone still calls them tuk tuks. These two-wheeled carriages pulled behind a moto are a breezy way to travel and are marginally safer than going by moto–mostly because they go at about half the speed.

In Phnom Penh, tuk tuks have become an integral part of the local transportation system and are a popular choice for both locals and tourists alike. Phnom Penh tuk tuks are typically characterized by their open-air design, with a passenger seat at the rear and a motorcycle or small engine powering the vehicle. They are usually decorated with colorful paint, and ornate designs, and often feature comfortable seating arrangements.

Phnom Penh Tuk Tuk
Phnom Penh Tuk Tuk

What can you expect in a Phnom Penh Tuk Tuk?

When you hop into a Phnom Penh tuk tuk, you can expect a memorable and exciting journey. Here are some things you can look forward to:

Flexibility and Convenience

Tuk tuks are incredibly versatile and can maneuver through narrow streets and congested traffic, allowing you to reach your destination quickly. They provide a convenient door-to-door service, picking you up from your starting point and dropping you off at your desired location. Whether you’re exploring the city’s famous landmarks, visiting markets, or going on a food adventure, tuk tuks offer the flexibility to customize your itinerary and explore at your own pace.

Authentic Local Experience

Tuk tuk rides provide an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with the friendly Cambodian people. Most tuk tuk drivers seem to have only a loose grasp of the geography of the area they work in and are not familiar with the sort of landmarks that Westerners generally use.

For example, telling a tuk tuk driver a street name and crossing the street will often result in a blank stare. But tuk tuk drivers will almost always know the names of the local markets and pagodas, so it is good to know which one you live closest to and give directions from there. Engage in conversations with your driver, ask for recommendations, and learn more about the vibrant history and traditions of Phnom Penh.

Take local experiences with tuk tuk in Phnom Penh
Take local experiences with tuk tuk in Phnom Penh

Finding more Off-the-beaten-path experiences in Phnom Penh? Here you are: Top 10 unusual things to do in Phnom Penh

Fabulous for a city sightseeing

A tuk tuk ride in Phnom Penh offers a unique and convenient way to explore the city. With a tuk tuk, you can easily reach your destinations while enjoying the shade and cool breeze. Tuk tuk drivers who speak English can serve as knowledgeable tour guides, providing advice on hotels, restaurants, and local attractions.

However, it’s important to be cautious as not all tuk tuk drivers are experienced in navigating the city. While tuk tuks may be slightly more expensive than motos, the experience they offer is well worth the cost.

Can I book a tuk tuk on online app?

Yes, booking a tuk tuk through an online app is possible in some cases. There are various ride-hailing and transportation apps available in Phnom Penh, such as PassApp, Grab, and Exnet Taxi, that offer tuk tuk services. These apps allow you to conveniently book a tuk tuk ride, track the driver’s location, and make cashless payments. It’s always a good idea to check the availability of such apps in a specific location and consult local recommendations or online reviews to ensure a reliable and safe experience.

Tuk Tuk through the Grab App when booking online
Tuk Tuk through the Grab App when booking online (Image: tedmcgrath)

Tips to Have the Best Phnom Penh Tuk Tuk Experience

To make the most of your Phnom Penh tuk tuk experience, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:

Negotiate the price in advance

When tuk tuk drivers see foreigners, they often see dollar signs floating over travelers’ heads. Therefore, it is better to negotiate a price in advance rather than risk having an argument about $2 in front of your house or the restaurant where you are having a business dinner.

Negotiating a price in advance gives you the leverage to walk away if you do not think you are being offered a fair deal (and walking away usually drops the price substantially). Once you have a relationship with a regular driver, you can do as the locals do, and just pay what you think is fair at the end of the trip.

Negotiate in Khmer

This will almost always get you a better price. Remember, there are three levels of pricing in Cambodia: tourist, expat, and local. Knowing some basic Khmer will move you into the second category, at least. When you are new in town you will almost always get the tourist price until you learn what a fair price is and how to bargain in Khmer. If you are offered a price that is too high, whine and say “T’lai na!” (So expensive!). Usually, you will be offered a better deal.

Know where to catch your ride

When looking for a tuk tuk in Phnom Penh, consider that the fancy-looking ones in front of upscale hotels may be more expensive. Drivers who can speak English might charge higher fares.

Instead, if you walk a short distance from the airport or negotiate directly for a tuk tuk ride to Angkor Wat, you can save money. It’s important to think smart and be aware of the game that is sometimes played to ensure you get the best deal.

Keep Small Change

Carry small denomination Cambodian Riels or USD bills to pay for your tuk tuk rides. It’s often challenging for drivers to provide change for large denominations, so having smaller bills will make the transaction more convenient for both parties.

Shape of Cambodian currency
Shape of Cambodian currency

Carry a map or GPS to get to the destination

The drivers are usually from the countryside and probably sold their lands in order to buy a vehicle, so they do not really know the street names too well. When taking a tuk tuk it is more convenient to tell the driver the name of the place you are going to instead of the address or just let them see the destination on your map or GPS.

They know most of the guest houses and all the important sights and markets (if they do not know they will still attempt to take you there and might get lost and then they might demand more money upon arrival because “Sir, the gas is so expensive.”)

In conclusion, Phnom Penh tuk tuks are an integral part of the city’s transportation system and provide an exciting and convenient way to explore the city. With their flexibility, affordability, and immersive experience, tuk tuk rides offer a memorable journey through the bustling streets and vibrant culture of Phnom Penh.

We hope that by following the tips provided in this travel guide, you can ensure a fantastic tuk tuk adventure while respecting the local customs and making the most of your time in this captivating city.

From Indochina Voyages Team

Read more:

Blog Categories

Article Submission

If you would like to submit an article or a travel story, please contact:

[email protected]

Tripadvisor Reviews