Bangkok Taxis are by far the best mode of transportation in Bangkok, they are cheap, air-conditioned and usually take you where you need to go. This article will give you tips on how to get free taxi rides in Bangkok, when not to use them and what you should expect when you arrive to Bangkok.
Bangkok taxi drivers know less than you think
Just because your hotel has 250 reviews on TripAdvisor and is globally known across the world, don’t assume the average Bangkok taxi driver will know where it is. Even famous restaurants, streets or places of interest they may not know. Since the Thai language is tonal, you may think you’re saying a word correctly but they won’t have a clue what the fooke you’re on about, sometimes you may be saying it right but they have no idea where it is.
Every time you get into a Bangkok taxi, assume they have no idea where you’re going. Do your research before hand and at the very least find the name of the street the place is on, better yet take a picture of the address on your phone or get someone to translate you the address in Thai so you can hand it them. This tip is ideal for anyone who is getting picked up at a Bangkok airport to get dropped off at their hotel.
Bangkok airport taxis
If you’re getting into Bangkok late, there may not be many taxis at the airport, as a result they may ask you to pay 300-500 baht to get to where you’re going. Tell them to go fuck themselves and you want to use the meter or you will use someone else. On average, your journey should never cost more than 250 baht + 50 baht fee for getting picked up at the airport if you’re going into the city center.
During the busy periods of 5-8pm, there may be a big ass queue at arrivals to get a Bangkok airport taxi. When this is the case, just walk up to departures and get a cab up there. Not only is it faster and you don’t hand to spend time waiting like a twat, but you also don’t have to pay the 50 baht fee that you would when getting one at arrivals.
Always ask to use the meter
By law all Bangkok taxis must use the meter. It should only go up 2 baht every 1km or 1 minute when waiting in traffic. If they refuse to use the meter just get another cab, there is not point arguing. Fares are meant to increase soon but nothing has happened as of yet.
When not to get a taxi in Bangkok.
During the hours of 5pm-9pm for long distances. Bangkok traffic is a real kunt and you can end up spending a few hours in a cab at this time. Instead, opt to use the BTS or a motorcycle. The traffic is not always that bad but if you’re near the tourist or CBD areas, it will be painfully slow.
Bangkok taxi scams
The biggest scam is the rigged taxi meter scam. This is when the meter is shooting up faster than your penis on Viagra and the journey becomes triple or quadruple what it should be. The fake meter is often used on tourists as they have no point of reference on how much a taxi should cost. Each taxi meter displays the distance traveled (in KM) and the time spent in the taxi. If either of the numbers are going up way faster than you think, then there’s a good chance the meter is rigged.
A 20km trip from the airport to the city center is usually around 250 baht. I must have easily caught over 300 taxis in Bangkok and I think only 4 times have I had a fake meter pulled on me. 3 times I paid the fare and got it out (never refuse not to pay), and the other time was at the airport, I instantly saw it was rigged and told him to take me back to the airport. He said something in Thai, looked annoyed and reset the meter to give the true reading and took me home.
How to get a taxi driver to give you money
A trick I learned after living here is that certain clubs Bangkok nightclubs like Insanity, Climax, Bossy, Spicy and Mixx give taxi drivers money for bringing people to their clubs. Each club gives drivers a different amount, usually between 150-300 baht. Since I go out in a big group, if we go to Spicy that’s as much as 1,200 baht the taxi driver makes from dropping us off.
So I tell him that he must give us 50% of whatever he makes now before we set off, and we will get in the cab and go into the club. This usually means he hands me 500 baht which we put towards the bottle. Oh, and we get a free taxi ride there too. If the driver refuses, you just grab the next cab, but usually they say okay as they will make 600 baht for a short trip. This only applies to after hours clubs and will not work at Route 66 or Funky Villa, Onyx or Levels.
Always pay the fare
Bangkok taxi drivers don’t earn a lot of money, so don’t complain or refuse to pay if they go the wrong way. It’s not a lot of money and it can save you from getting seriously hurt. Chalk it up as a lesson and next time get prepared with the address by reading amazing blogs such as this.
Prebook a Bangkok taxi
If you don’t have time for waiving down a cab there are taxi apps such as Grab Taxi where you can book yourself a driver.
This advice only applies to Bangkok, in other parts of Thailand such as Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket it’s a different story. Expect to pay much more for taxis outside Bangkok, much more. Taxis in Bangkok are really awesome when they want to pick you up and are insane value for money. If you’re hanging around the tourist spots expect for them not to use the meter and refuse to take you anywhere. But if you live in the expat areas they will usually always pick you up.
Do you have any Bangkok taxi experiences? Leave a comment below if so!