My First Kathmandu Tuktuk

KATHMANDU, Nepal — I hadn’t been seeking a ride anywhere, but a simple stroll down Kathmandu‘s streets put me squarely in front of my first local tuktuk.

My understanding is that the term tuktuk is an onomatopoeic term that approximates the sound made by what is essentially a three-wheel moped with a bench seat in the rear — or a flatbed, like this oddity I am told is a tiller.

The noisy, single-stroke engines that power Bajaj and Piaggio variants are popular throughout the developing world, although I believe the actual term, “tuktuk,” originated in Thailand, where it is now an actual Dutch-engineered brand.

Yet while I had seen scores of three-wheeled Bajaj taxis in India, the latest one I encountered — resembling more of a shuttle bus, actually — was the first to actually have been labeled “Kathmandu Tuk Tuk.”

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