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The tuk-tuk (꡵ or in Thai) is the Southeast Asian version of a vehicle known elsewhere as an auto rickshaw or cabin cycle. It is a widely used form of urban transport in Bangkok and other Thai cities, as well as other major Southeast Asian and South Asian cities. It is particularly popular where traffic congestion is a major problem, such as in Bangkok. Tuk-tuks were first introduced in Brighton, England, on 10th July 2006, where a fleet of twelve (spelt TucTuc) operate using compressed natural gas, as the first motorized rickshaw service in Europe, between Brighton Marina and Hove, via Brighton railway station.

        The tuk-tuk may have a sheet metal body (painted mild steel) or open frame with canvas roof and drop-down sides. Some have ornate tin ornamental hammerings or carvings for decoration. The roof may be either mild steel or a water proofed canvas, riveted to round tubing. Water proof removable sides can be added in the rainy season. Resting on three small wheels (one in front, two on the rear), there is a small cabin for the driver in the front and seating for three in relative comfort in the rear. They are very maneuverable and can turn around in one lane of traffic with room to spare.

        Tuk-tuks are generally fitted with a water cooled two-stroke engine. They have handlebar controls instead of a steering wheel, making them a tricycle. The tuk-tuk is named after the sound its two-stroke engine makes when it is idling. It may have been derived from a similar Japanese non-motorized automobile in the 1950s, although tuk-tuks of the type used in Brighton, England evolved from the Vespa scooter, (later Bajaj of India), using old Piaggio Vespa pattern tooling and a Piaggio-derived 175cc engine. These were the front half of a Vespa, with an axle created for the rear, badged (in Vespa-style) as the Ape. These were used with truck bodies, pick-up bodies and eventually taxi bodies. Later the leg shields were extended all the way up and over to create a roof. They generally are low geared, to allow the small engine to move comparatively large loads. Given the low gearing, Tuk-tuks have a high torque to weight ratio and can accelerate quite quickly making them nimble, especially in heavy traffic. The lack of high speed capability is irrelevant in heavy urban traffic.

        Tuk-tuk drivers may have migrated from the provinces and have a reputation for not knowing the city in which they work very well, therefore getting people lost. Tuk-tuks do not have meters and users generally bargain with the driver for a price to take them to a specified destination. In Bangkok, there is now a maximum fee which drivers may not exceed. This has tended to become the default fee for foreigners. As with all un-metered transport, not agreeing to a fee before departure can risk unethical practice by the driver.

        Drivers also earn money by having advertising posters and placards on their tuk-tuks. In early 2005 many of them were covered in advertising for the 6 February election. Tuk-tuk drivers can earn fuel vouchers or other commissions by diverting passengers to certain businesses that cater to tourists, possibly against the passenger's expressed wishes. Most drivers also decorate their tuk-tuks with religious charms and small Buddha images.

        A tuk-tuk is featured in The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio. A chase scene involving multiple tuk-tuks can be seen in Ong Bak starring Tony Jaa. Tuk-tuks also make an appearance in the console games Stuntman and Burnout 3, and by entering cheat codes in Crazy Taxi. During the live telecast final of Miss Universe 2005 in Bangkok, Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell arrived onstage on a tuk-tuk. A Visa credit card advertisement features Pierce Brosnan (James Bond) riding on a tuk-tuk. Also, in Season 7 of Amazing Race, one of the contestants had his foot run over by a tuk-tuk (after it had already been injured by an elephant).


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Tuk Tuk Restaurant
4630 Natomas Blvd # 150 Sacramento, Ca 95835
Tel. 916-575-7957 Fax 916-575-7956