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Phuket's Porntep Chamkawn: Karon-Kata drivers are cutting fares

Phuket Tuk-Tuk U-Turn: Karon Drivers Slash Fares

Friday, November 13, 2009
TUK-TUK drivers in Karon have reduced their prices and hope that others drivers around Phuket will follow their lead.

The cost for a trip from Karon to Patong is now 300 baht; from Karon to the airport 800 baht; Karon to Phuket City 500 baht. Reductions are in the region of 25 percent.

Fare cuts follow a succession of complaints from readers after an interview was published on Phuketwan with Porntep Chamkawn, president of Kata-Karon Tuk-Tuk Association.

Khun Porntep asked to have the comments translated into Thai and took on board many of the points made by Phuketwan readers.

''Tuk-tuk drivers will soon all be issued with standard uniform shirts,'' he said today. New signs are also on the way, informing tourists about the lower schedule of fees.

While the Kata-Karon drivers are acting on their own initiative, it is hoped their example will be followed by other tuk-tuk driver groups.

More than 500 tuk-tuk drivers operate in the area, with hundreds more based around the island.

Khun Porntep has a masters degree in political science and has been president of the tuk-tuk association for more than a year, and is trying to introduce some changes.

Since he arrived, association drivers have been involved in training to improve the service and hospitality aspects of their interaction with tourists.

Local security and safety in the water have also become issues of concern, with the drivers keen to improve Karon's reputation.

The reduction in fares is probably also a sign of recognition that the tourist industry on Phuket is experiencing difficult times.

Resorts have reduced rates and in many cases, asked staff to take extra unpaid time off.

Even with the rates reduction, transport fares on tuk-tuks on Phuket remain much higher than in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

Here are some of the responses from readers. For more responses and the whole 'Mafia' interview, click on the link below:

400 BAHT TO PATONG . . . what a joke! that would cost twenty baht in Pattaya . Dream on . . . i would rather walk than pay my hard earned money to you, and that is why nobody is here and nobody likes your service. in New York or London it would be cheaper . . . Another nail in the Phuket coffin

CAN YOU explain why a tuk tuk ride from Kata to Patong is Baht 400.00 and a taxi ride from Bangkok central to Suvaranbhum Airport is 350 Baht? Why do the Tuk Tuk drivers, not publish rates or have meters, like in any other part of the world. It is great of you that you all work together and you like to protect jobs for the local people in Kata and Karon but as a tourist I have to tell you that the most expensive taxis in the world by km are in Phuket. Not even in London or Paris do I have to pay Baht 400 for 5 km of driving.

THE FOUR big complaints I hear about tuk-tuks are:
1. Parking
2. Direct ripoffs
3. Price: Expensive? Fixed? Meters?
4. Anti-competitive thuggery
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


i would like to ask why all the best parking spaces in kata and karon are taken by he tuk tuks .

Myself and 90% of the farangs on the island never go to kata or karon beach because there is nowhere to park .

The establishments in kata and karon must be suffering . when will anybody learn that local busines is good business.

Peter J Notley

Posted by Peter Notley on November 13, 2009 16:32


Media pressure from Phuketwan has done well in keeping this in the public eye and getting an apparent 25percent discount. I say 'apparent' because 25percent discount from an unpublished price is a probable discount of NOTHING!

In Phuketwan's July article "aren't you afraid of me" K. Porthep, (the Teflon Tuk-Tuk don?) said 'meters are not the answer"
Why are they not the answer, Don Pornthep? They appear to be the answer in many other parts of the world.

I'd further like to know, out of the vehicles managed by the Don Porthep in JUST the Kata and Karon areas how many are working every day? How many fares does each vehicle make? Do you even know? Because the use of a meter would let you know how many journeys the vehicles make.

Do you think that the number of vehicles in Kata and Karon may be too much? I fail to believe that they are all working. They seem to be mainly parked up or causing traffic jams by kerb-crawling for fares. Don't insult our intelligence Don Porthep by saying passengers should wait at designated tuk tuk stops. The bloody things follow you around like a bad penny.

Posted by Mr Mark on November 13, 2009 19:26


Would like to agree with Mr Notley there are a few restaurants I like in Kata but can rarely find parking anywhere near otherwise would probably eat more there

Posted by Michael on November 13, 2009 19:31


I see no evidence of any prices being slashed. The prices are the same as before! 300 Baht from Karon to Patong? Someone, somewhere, is having a laugh.


Editor: Are you travelling from Karon to Patong, or Patong to Karon? One way is 300 baht, the other way is 400 baht.

Posted by Colin on November 14, 2009 12:35


These prices are an absolute JOKE! 800 baht to the airport after a 25% discount? C'mon Phuket Wan. You really can't condone this kind of stuff.

It is a BLATANT rip-off and you know it. Why not use your medium to show your disgust at such pricing or are you scared of upsetting Don Pornthep?

Prices slashed??? In the words of Jim Royle..."My ar*e!"

Editor: We don't condone it or condemn it, simply report it.

Posted by Emubob on November 14, 2009 14:32


300 baht= 6 pounds 400 baht= 8 pounds

its a lot of money London cabs are cheaper and the fuel is a lot more expensive over here. Also tuk tuks only have 900 cc engines and so they don't use hardly any fuel.

Conclusion........RIP OFF

Posted by nick on November 14, 2009 16:07


I would like to inform all the restaurants and bars in Kata and Karon that myself and all my friends will not be eating there until the high season is over . NO PARKING for locals PARKING ONLY FOR TUK TUKS

Posted by Peter J Notley on November 14, 2009 18:35


As a tuktuk driver you need one or two guests and you can stop working for the day. All the other working thais should think about it.

They work normally for 10h 6 days a week and go home with maybe 10.000 Baht. It is unfair, that this people (talking about Patong) can maintain their monopoly.

Maybe not a second street to the airport, maybe no street tunnel to patong is needed, maybe better build a skytrain on the island. From the airport to Kathu, Patong, Chalong, Phuket City and back to the airport. It would be the green and safe alternative.

And if these tuktuk will stay allowed in Phuket, at least the Governor, Wichai Praisa-ngob, should ORDER them to go electric. They make enough money to pay for that easy.

These tuktuks are enviromentally a nightmare. Their drivers are in some cases wannabe gangsters and the fares are tourists rip offs.

Anyway, it is nice, that the Karon branch at least thinks how to become a trustworthy transport alternative. Kudos for trying.

Prices so artificially high are a sign of corruption. It looks to an outsider like as if everyone involved in giving or maintaining the monopoly is earning from it. So to speak it looks like a big "cooperative" institution, like two digits lotto.

Posted by Lena on November 14, 2009 20:23


One important point that has not been mentioned: the commission the drivers receive from the different activities they take people to which can be about 30 percent of the entry fees, even if the people requested to go there.

This is not just tuk tuks, it is all drivers, I used to work for a canoeing company and we had twice times when customers who had booked online and paid online taken in one case a taxi and one case a tuk tuk to our offices to discuss the trip (both multi day trips overnights etc) and the drivers still demanded commission and the threats were real and money had to be handed over.

Taking a group of four to various attractions could net a driver upwards of several thousand baht on top of his money from driving and maybe more if they are interested in buying jewelry or pearls.

Posted by Michael on November 14, 2009 21:56


I agree with Peter, it's ridiculous that tuk tuks park in prime spaces and customers are forced to park a great distance away. It's as if there's no consideration of the dynamics of marketing and operating a business.

Businesses, and commercial real estate in general, are extremely dependant on parking. In other countries, the development of commercial real estate is based, to a large extent, on parking. It's unfortunate that the local OrBorTor's do not realize this and provide accordingly.

Bldg codes in many other countries require onsite parking, based on a ratio of pkg space/sq meter at a rate relating to the particular use.

The same situation exists in Nai Harn, where numerous taxi kiosks, complete with electricity and televisions occupy the prime parking along the beach.

I have already "given up" on patronizing these establishemnts along the beaches in Nai Harn, Kata, Karon and Patong.It's too much trouble finding a parking space!

Posted by buster on November 15, 2009 20:29


You can park easily at Nai Harn beach. Both ends have a "circle" where parking, at least with motorbike, is very easy.
Sometimes expats whine too much.

Posted by Anonymous on November 16, 2009 15:22


agree with anonymous nai harn is great for parking yes taxi's do take up the best spots but there is only a few less than ten compared to hundreds at the other beaches and yes expats do whine too much but not on this particular issue.I know of one restaurant in kata would have probably had a few thousand baht more in business if i had been able to park somewhere closer than a 500 metres to the establisment. Instead of giving up and heading to nai harn and rawai, where i can park

Posted by Michael on November 16, 2009 20:48


Just for the record Mom Tri's Oasis does have parking available at Mom Tri's Villa Royale and transportation to and from the hotel to the restaurant.

Sylvie PR Manager

Posted by Sylvie Yaffe on November 17, 2009 15:29

Wednesday March 29, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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