Guide to taking a taxi in Bangkok

Jes , 0 Comments

It definitely requires some skills.
Lovely scenic view in Bangkok
And you thought I was kidding that taking a taxi requires a guide. Seriously, for some places, taking a taxi is faster and may be cheaper than taking the train, particularly when you have a few more friends travelling together. However, Bangkok is the only place I have been to that will have taxi drivers rejecting to ferry customers. Mainly because the price is not worthwhile for them to travel and brave the traffic jam. The taxi drivers will rather not drive anyone and sit around doing nothing rather than earning a few bucks more. They really know how to relax, huh.

Anyhow, it's tough to hail a taxi during peak hours. So be careful and review the following tips:

1) Please remember to ask for the taxi fare BEFORE you even board the taxi. Once you board it and they drive off, you have no choice but to agree to their price. Haggling may not always work but 50 Baht off a long 400 Baht journey may be agreeable. Find out the indicative price by hailing the first taxi. Then decrease 50 to 100 Baht off the indicative price to get the actual rate. Don't be afraid to reject the drivers if the price is too high.
Oh, definitely some ground rules to adhere to...
2) Taking a cab from any hotels will ensure that the taxi drivers have to switch on the meter fare. It is always cheaper to do so but during peak hours, I think less than 10% of the drivers would agree to it and you are wasting time and hogging the taxi queue. The trains would be a good alternative of course.

3) The other thing is at some tourist locations, the taxi fare will be much more expensive when you board at the taxi stand. For example, you can get a taxi at half price when you ignore the taxi stand in Asiatique and board it outside. You just have to walk a bit to save money.

A tuk-tuk will always be more expensive than a cab as it gives you experience of riding dangerously and without aircon. Only tourists take it and the price is usually more than double the cab fare.
The tuk tuk is dangerous because they don't follow the traffic rules (Source: wikipedia)
4) The driver will charge you some toll fees for some destinations. From the airport to your hotel, it costs less than 100 Baht so please do not pay him more. They may also ask you to pay each toll individually and each will cost around 20 or 25 baht. There is no extra fees to pay to depart from or go to the airport. Fare from Suvarnabhumi airport to Silom should cost around 400 Baht including toll fees on meter but without meter, they will quote you at 500 Baht and you can haggle down to 450.

5) Taxi scams are common in Thailand. You might want to go to a particularly hotel or attraction and the driver will tell you that it has been closed down or undergoing renovation. Then they will take you to somewhere where they can earn some commission. So if this happens, do not board and do find another taxi driver. I have heard from others that they might not fetch you back from these faraway places and just leave you stranded once you reach the unknown destination.

6) It's always nice to give the driver a bit more, particularly if he drove safely. That's my personal view and it is up to you to do so.

Just be aware that not everyone, regardless of nationality, are nice and be more cautious when you are overseas. Research and be in the know to prevent being taken advantage of. Enjoy!


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