A tuktuk is as Thai as overtaking oil rich countries is American. It is loud, erratic and the open air construction will scare most people except Bangladeshis. We flirt with death on public transport all the time whether we are on it or not. You need to negotiate with a tuktuk driver and if you do not know the typical fares, you will often be quoted whatever they think your skin colour can afford. The language differences will often require you to shout at each other for a while and eventually give up. It is a nostalgic ride harking back to the days of black and yellow baby taxis in Bangladesh. Tuktuks are just bigger but with the same heady excitement of air, bugs in the teeth, smelly exhaust and impending death. It is iffy at best unless you are accompanied by a local.
A regular taxi cab shaped like a car on the other hand is the most reliable and comfortable way to travel, cheap too—cheaper than most other countries I’ve visited. They are willing to go very short distances also. Once in a while they are known to take you on slightly longer routes that rack up the bill a little but an easy option is to check the routes yourself beforehand on Google maps. But taxis in Pattaya are a different story. They do not necessarily go by any set rates and will charge whatever they want.
The best option is to take your liberty in your own hands. Rent a car or even better, a scooty. The latter is ridiculously cheap. It is as little as 150 baht which is equivalent to 400 taka per day.
You can also opt for buses and trains knowing full well it is really difficult to get lost and stay hungry in Thailand. There is 7-Eleven in every bend of the road. But getting lost is all part of the fun.