One of the most unique aspects of travelling is learning how to perfect the art of using public transportation wherever you are–whether that is bicycles, taxis, subways, boats, or tuk tuks!
Here in Phnom Penh, the two most common forms of public transportation are tuk tuks and motos (simply remove the tuk tuk!). When travelling solo or with another person, hailing down a lone moto is cheapest and fastest. In groups over 2, splitting the few dollar tuk tuk fare is the best option.
My friends and I have had numerous adventures on motos and tuk tuks. More often than not the drivers are rather snarky and are always looking for ways to make an extra couple dollars. Because we are merely stupid barangs (white people), they usually assume that we don’t know when they are ripping us off.
My favorite times are when I try to get a ride from a market where a lot of tourists visit. When we went to visit the killing fields, a cheery little man thought he would try to convince us the price to take his tuk tuk was $25 round trip (more than double what you should pay if you are well-informed). Within less than 20 seconds he realized that I was not a tourist and that when I said I would give him $10 I wasn’t going to change my mind. He agreed quite readily.
There is a positively horrendous moto driver that I have a special place for in my heart. He sits at the end of our road everyday, and no matter how many times take rides with him, he always tries to rip us off. I am quite sure that he regards us with as much amusement and mistrust as we do him, yet he always greets us with a big, excited smile and, “Heeeey!” when we see him on the road. I am still waiting for him to find a soft spot in his heart one day to give me a free ride down my road when I am lugging one of our massive water jugs home that we buy from the corner stall.