Tuk Tuk Safari’s guide to the iconic vehicles on the streets of Laos
These are one-piece tuk tuks with motorbike-style steering and a tank at the front with a covered tray mounted on the back for seating. They are rear wheel drive and have brakes at the back only. They can comfortably seat up to eight passengers (or more if you don’t mind getting cosy with your fellow passengers). They are traditionally decorated in blue, red and yellow stripes with colourful landscapes painted on the sides. This is the kind of tuk tuk we use for our Tuk Tuk Safaris.
The Jumbo has long been popular in Laos. Similar in design and decoration to the Skylab above, but smaller and with a less powerful engine, it has both front and rear brakes which you’re guaranteed to hear squealing across town.
The traditional style of tuk tuk has a partially enclosed front where the driver is seated. They are normally green, but are often decorated with many different colours.
This is a pick-up or small truck with the back partially enclosed and with benches along the sides. These are mainly used for longer trips between cities on a set route, but you can get on and off whenever you like. They also carry heaps of luggage and goods.
These are regular motorbikes with a covered side car attached. They seat two passengers in a front facing position. These vehicles were quite popular in Luang Prabang, Pakse and other regional centres but they are now declining in numbers.
These are old-style pedal bicycles with a cart at the rear that can seat two narrow-hipped passengers. There are very few left on the streets of Laos these days, but there are a few antique ones being revived for use.