The Auto Rickshaw
When you come to Southeast Asia, you will notice a strange looking vehicle navigating their way on small side streets and main roads alike.
They have a distinctive and memorable sound that differentiates them from other types of automobiles. They are the auto rickshaws.
However, you may not want to refer these vehicles as auto rickshaws when you are visiting Cambodia, Thailand, or Laos here as it may result in nothing but confused looks. Call it a tuk-tuk and to make things clearer, you may make a hand posture of a motorcyclist accelerating his bike.
The auto rickshaw has handles similar to a bicycle or motorbike. It is an open air vehicle with the front half consisting of the driver, the handlebar and the gear handle while the back half of the tuk-tuk contains the chair where three people can sit comfortably (although you may squeeze in more people if you like).
Unlike metered taxis, you must negotiate a fee with the driver before boarding the auto rickshaw. This can result in fares higher than a metered taxi, and with good reason.
Firstly, auto rickshaws can maneuver its way around traffic much better than your standard automobile. Secondly, you get fresh air (well, that all depends where you are), a good view of the area, and a sense of being a part of the environment. And thirdly, it is a weird looking vehicle for many tourists, so that alone could warrant a trip on them.
If all these reasons justify a ride on the auto rickshaw for you, then please go on ahead. It is one piece out of many that will make your Southeast Asian adventure a memorable one.
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