Your Favourite Tuktuks Around the World!

Your Favourite Tuktuks Around the World!

While tuktuk is famous in Asia, there are actually many variants from other parts of the world. Check them out to see the surprising differences and similarities.

This post is about your humble tuktuk, the three wheeler that you see on the streets of many Asian countries. I’ve been to several other countries where variants of the tuktuk exist, and have sat in many of them. The universal (or at least the most recognisable) name for them is the tuktuk, but other countries call them by very interesting names as well. Here is a series of photos I’ve taken of tuktuks found all over the world.

Travel lexicon: The tuktuk

  • Thailand – Tuktuk
  • India – Autos
  • China – San Lun
  • Indonesia – Bajaj, Becak
  • Cambodia – Tuktuk
  • Sri Lanka – Tuktuk
  • Bangladesh – CNGs
  • Pakistan – Rikshaw, Qingqi
  • Ethiopia – Bajaj
  • Sudan – Raksha

The list is by no means comprehensive. There are many other countries with tuktuks or their variants. If you’ve seen one elsewhere, share in the comments below.


Tuktuks are everywhere in India, where they are known as autos, short for auto-rickshaw. They are best for short distances, and in some cities, best for people who are smog and noise resilient.


Tuktuks in India, called Autos, parked outside the Jagdish Temple in Udaipur, India.

Tuktuks can not only carry passengers. This one from Thiruvananthapuram functions as banana storage.


The tuktuks I’ve seen in China are more like mini three-wheeled lorries called san lun (三轮), which means “three wheels”. I’ve also ridden on a more traditional motorcycle like tuktuk in Guangdong’s countryside which looks like golf buggies.

A three-wheeler san-lun parked in the Dong village of Zhaoxing in Guizhou, China.


I see lots of them roaming the streets of Jakarta which are locally called the bajaj, after the manufacturer brand. They look very similar to the Indian model.

Also read: 10 Unspoilt Islands in Indonesia for Your Next Beach Vacation

A bajaj driver on the streets of Jakarta. This one has a front door.

There is also another variant which I have seen in Sumatra. This one, called the becak, is a motorcycle attached to a sidecar, resembling a motorised cycle-rickshaw.

Two becaks, the local variant of the tuktuk, left unattended in Aceh city, on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.


In Cambodia, they are also called tuktuks, but they look very different from the rest. They are motorcycles but with an attached carriage at the rear.

Also read: 5 Reasons Why Cambodia Should Be On Your Bucket List

Across the street is the Cambodian tuktuk. This version has a very open carriage, which some people use to explore Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, where this photo was taken.

Sri Lanka

Simply known as tuktuks, the models in Sri Lanka are the same as the ones you find in India, albeit slightly modified. They come in all sorts of colours.

Also read: Budget Adventure Guide through Sri Lanka

A row of colourful tuktuks in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.


All the tuktuks I have seen in Dhaka are green in colour. They are known as CNGs, named after their fuel source. In fact, the reason why they are green is because they use the cleaner CNG fuel. They are also known as ‘baby-taxis’ apparently.

Also read: Floating Bridge in Bangladesh – One Ingenious Solution

One oddity about the Dhaka CNGs is that all of them have grills, separating the driver from the passenger, and the passenger from the outside.


Oddly enough, despite being probably the first place I’ve seen a tuktuk, I don’t have any photos in my archive.

Also read: To Tuktuk, Taxi, BTS or Bus When Getting Around Bangkok?


The variant of the tuktuk you find in Pakistan is unique. It’s more angular than the Indian/Sri Lankan/Indonesian models. They are called rikshaws, probably short for auto-rickshaws.

A rikshaw in one of Multan’s markets.

There is another model of the tuktuk that I’ve seen in Pakistan. This one is a motorcyle attached to a covered carriage which has two seats facing the front, and two facing the rear.

On the central roundabout is this model of made-in-China tuktuk, known locally as the Qingqi, after the brand name.


I’ve also seen the tuktuks in Ethiopia, where they are called bajajs, the same as in Indonesia. They are all uniformly blue in colour, with a white canvas top.

A Bajaj turns at the corner in the city of Mek’ele in Ethiopia.


The model of tuktuk I found in Sudan is very much similar to the common ones listed. Known locally as rakshas, I also see them in various colours, not just the black yellow variant below.

Multiple rakshas on the roads of Karima, Sudan.

In my opinion, the tuktuk is the best way for a solo traveller to get around. More versatile than buses but cheaper than taxi cabs, the tuktuk can take one passenger and one backpack comfortably. Most can take up to two or three passengers, though I’ve been squeezed in with five before.

The tuktuk has a top speed of around 100 km/hr, though most are content to chug along at 60 km/hr. The biggest advantage of a tuktuk over a cab is that it is able to slip in and out of little side roads and bypass heavy traffic jams. They are also surprisingly able to cut through rough terrain.

It’s perhaps not the best form of transport if you are sensitive to dust and fumes, since most tuktuk models are exposed to the outside environment. Also, they don’t do steep inclines very well. I’ve actually been charged more for a ride going uphill in India.

Contributed by The Furious Panda.

About Author

Redzuan Rahmat

Redzuan Rahmat is a travel fanatic who yearns to see everything and experience everything, Red loves visiting unusual destinations and is equally comfortable getting lost in museums, mountains and malls. He spends his spare time obsessing about his next trip, usually to some remote corner of the world. He blogs about his adventures & misadventures on The Furious Panda.