When we arrived in Bangkok we were so excited to finally take a ride on a tuk-tuk. Many friends who had been to Bangkok before told us how fun tuk-tuks are and encouraged us to ride in one as soon as we got there. We were super excited to follow this advice and immediately requested a tuk-tuk our first morning there.
Riding in a tuk-tuk is fun. It is fully open and you feel like you are more connected to the environment. These things are very tiny, can drive on sidewalks and can easily fit between stopped cars. It was everything our friends said it would be. And more…….
The one thing our friends didn’t tell us about were the frequent side stops the tuk-tuk drivers like to go on. It wasn’t just one, it was EVERY tuk-tuk driver whose vehicle we climbed in. They all had these little places they promised we’d love and would insist our trip wouldn’t be complete without stopping there. AND, there would be no extra charge for his taking us there.
The first driver who told us this, we felt very grateful towards. I mean, he cared about our experience there and wanted to make sure we had a good time. It was very kind of him.
When we agreed to stop by this jewelry store where we would see locals creating jewelry, zoomed straight there. But before we could go inside, he stopped us and told us we needed to be inside for at least 15 minutes. Huh? We were confused.
Sensing our confusion, he insisted we did not need to buy anything, but to browse and wander for at least 15 minutes. Troy told him we’d only be inside for a few minutes because we had other places we wanted to go (like the place this guy was supposed to be taking us now…….) and were trying to stick to a schedule. The tuk-tuk driver again insisted we stay inside for 15 minutes.
At this point, we got suspicious. We weren’t leaving any bags in the vehicle, so we knew he wasn’t trying to rob us, but there was obviously something going on that we didn’t know about. Troy insisted on knowing why the guy wanted us to stay inside for a set amount of time and refused to go inside without knowing. The driver finally told us that he gets gas certificates for each tourist that he brings to the place, but that he wouldn’t get the coupons if we just ran in and then back out.
Once we heard this, we were a little annoyed at having made the detour, but decided to go inside anyway and at least see the place since we were already there. It wasn’t too bad. Not quite as fascinating as the driver had made it out to be, but it was still pretty interesting to see how stones are made into jewelry.
This is the setup for the workers who clean the stones.
Some nice wall décor to break up the bleakness of the workroom.
One of the workers cleaning a stone.
Beautiful uncut stones.
Buffing the uncut stones.
It’s amazing how beautiful these stones are after being cut.
These barely even look like the uncut stones.
Apatite. Yep, I have an appetite for these stones. They are just gorgeous!
I really really REALLY wanted to sneak off with this stone, but it wouldn’t fit in my pocket. 🙁
Overall, the stop wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t quite the fabulous experience the tuk-tuk driver promised (we didn’t get to see them making jewelry, just cleaning the stones), but it was still fun. There was even a little trinket shop in the back where we got to buy some fun little Bangkok souvenirs.
Have you ever had a driver take you somewhere random? Tell me about it in the comments!