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The Songthaew: Transportation in Thailand

The Songthaew: Transportation in Thailand

Thailand is a country that attracts millions of tourists every year, and it’s not hard to see why. From stunning beaches and lush jungles to bustling cities and ancient temples, Thailand has something for everyone. One thing that visitors quickly notice is the country’s unique transportation system, which includes everything from tuk-tuks and motorbikes to buses and trains. However, one mode of transportation that stands out above the rest is the taxi. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a songthaew is, how to use one, and why it’s such an important part of Thai culture.

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What is a Songthaew?

The word “songthaew” translates to “two rows” in English, which refers to the two benches that run along the sides of the vehicle’s bed. Essentially, a songthaew is a type of truck or pickup truck that has been modified to serve as a form of public transportation. The benches in the back of the truck are open-air, and passengers sit facing each other with their backs to the driver. Some songthaews have roofs, while others are completely open to the elements.

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How to Use a Songthaew

Using a songthaew is fairly simple. In most cases, you’ll need to flag one down on the side of the road. If you see a songthaew approaching, you can wave your hand to signal to the driver that you want to get on. Once you’re on board, you’ll need to tell the driver where you want to go. This can be a bit tricky if you don’t speak Thai, but most drivers understand enough English to get by. Once the driver knows where you’re going, he’ll tell you how much it will cost. In most cases, the fare is very cheap—usually less than a dollar.

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Why is the Songthaew important?

The songthaew is an important part of Thai culture for a few different reasons. First, it’s an incredibly affordable way to get around. For many Thais, a songthaew is the only form of transportation they can afford. Additionally, songthaews are often used for public transportation in rural areas where buses and trains don’t go. This makes them a crucial lifeline for people who need to get to work, school, or other important destinations. Finally, songthaews are a great way to meet locals and experience Thai culture up close. When you ride a songthaew, you’ll be sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with Thais from all walks of life. You’ll hear their conversations, see what they’re carrying in their shopping bags, and get a glimpse of what daily life is like in Thailand.

Read also: Taxi, Transportation in Thailand

In conclusion, the songthaew is a unique and important form of transportation in Thailand. It’s cheap, convenient, and a great way to experience Thai culture up close. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, be sure to give the Songthaew a try—you won’t regret it!

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