Here's that songtaew picture I promised earlier!
<img src='tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=16' border='0' alt='image' />
Songtaews actually function more like a bus than a taxi, though I note that when they're carrying faranags (foreigners, like us) they seem to not do additional pickups. Honestly, we haven't figured it out beyond these important points:
1. Songtaews and tuk tuks cost about the same to hire
2. Songtaews easy fit two people AND luggage. Tuk tuks do NOT. (:biggrin:)
3. Taxis cost about the same as tuk tuks and songtaews, or even less - PROVIDING they have a meter AND it's turned on. Not all taxis have meters, and not all drivers turn them on until you ask!
4. Taxis are harder to find here than in Bangkok. Here the tuk tuk and songtaew are common, and there are also a number of somlor (three-wheeled bicycle taxi) to be seen.
They key is to negotiate before you get in, or check that the meter is turned on in your taxi. However, even when you make a mistake and end up paying too much, it's not disastrous. This morning, for example, a 10 minutes songatew ride of several kilometers across town cost all of 50 baht (About $1.70).