Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blue Bodhi

Decorative bodhi leaves, like this one, can be found hanging in various Thai modes of transportation, including tuk tuks. They're an important Buddhist symbol as the Buddha reached enlightenment under a bodhi tree. These ornaments come in an assortment of colors, but are mostly red and blue, and they're often further embellished with gold. Oftentimes, they have representations of monks on them, and this particular one is decorated with several small auspicious images, including fish and Buddha figures. They typically have a bell and tassel dangling from them, and they're almost always laminated in plastic to add to the completely unnatural look of the leaves.  

Creative and Bright

Thais, in general, love anything colorful, so it comes as no surprise that tuk tuk drivers like to install multicolored lights inside their vehicles. The vibrant, somewhat garish tail lamps create a carnivalesque effect which adds to the whimsical look of these three-wheelers. It just goes to show that tuk tuk drivers here are creative and enjoy being surrounded by things that are colorful and fun. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bangkok Bang!

I think the driver of this Bangkok tuk tuk has seen too many action flicks. With bullet hole stickers plastered all over his vehicle, he's apparently trying to simulate the look of having been in a Hollywood-style gun fight. It makes me wonder what kind of reaction he's looking for on the streets. Does he want to communicate to potential customers that he's offering dangerous, action-packed rides? Or is he warning passengers that they'd better be nice or else?     

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jammin' in Cambodia

Tuk Tuk Sessions, according to their website, is a project "born out of a desire to play music and give the world a visual tour of life in Phnom Penh. We want to capture the bustling, vibrant streets of the Penh, accompanied by equally vibrant tunes, punctuated with the mandatory horns, moto revs, and slight chaos." To date there have been forty-one recordings that make up the project, each session involving "one song, one take, one tuk tuk". Here's "Chapter 29" featuring Dengue Fever, a Los Angeles based band formed by two brothers who fell in love with Khmer music from the '60's after a trip to Cambodia. The lead singer, Chhom Nimol, was discovered at a nightclub in Long Beach's Little Phnom Penh.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuk Tuk Marketing

One way to market services or products in Bangkok involves posting ads on the back of tuk tuks. I've seen everything from new condo projects to mouthwash being advertised. It's a win-win (win) situation where the drivers make some extra cash, those advertising attract more customers, and in this particular case, backpackers traveling in Bangkok have a place to stay. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Haul It All

Load it on and pile it up. Thailand's tuk tuks are made for hauling. Whether it's wares that are being taken to the market to be sold, purchases that are being transported back home, or a mattress that's being moved across town, these load-bearing three-wheelers can carry it all. Occasionally, there's even room in the tuk tuks for passengers. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

007 Tuk Tuk

Bond. James Bond. Riding in a Tuk Tuk in Bangkok. 
Visa Credit Card Commercial. Circa 2003.  


Welcome to Art of the Tuk Tuk, a brand new blog about the colorful auto rickshaws of Thailand and Southeast Asia brought to you by the author of Still Life in Moving Vehicles and Thai Taxi TalismansHop in! It's bound to be an exhilarating ride.