My first time getting taxi in Bangkok was horrific with other times being almost as bad, I decide to some tips based on my experience.
I got a taxi at the airport counter upon my arrival, I was on my way but soon things started to get nasty. Firstly, there was no air-con in the lovely taxi I was in plus it was very stuffy. An open a window did more damage then good, as it was so polluted outside. There was so much traffic, that it took forever just to get into the city centre. After a while I noticed that we were going around in a circle around the Khao San Road area, where my hostel was located.
The taxi man spoke no English, and when I confronted him about not bringing me where I needed to go, he demanded I ring the hostel. I as calmly as I could tried to explain that I have no local sim to ring and asked him to ring for me. He just ignored me. I assumed that the lady at the airport counter has explained to the driver where my hostel was.
My frustration levels were high, I made another attempt to resolve this situation by telling the taxi man to ask somebody local on the street for directions. He did, some guy let the taxi man use his phone, but demanded I had to pay! Ridiculous! After almost an hour we finally found the hostel, which was just around the corner from Khao San Road!
Other times I got taxis were almost as bad as this one. Below are my tips so you can avoid all the drama I went through and enjoy your time in Bangkok.
- Airport. Make sure to walk almost outside the terminal, as the taxi counter there is much cheaper to the ones inside. They all have fixed prices depending on your accomodation location. Try to find somebody who is going the same way as you are to share the cost.
- Offline maps. Download Offline Google Maps or Maps.me before your arrival. Taxi drivers are absolutely clueless on where they are going. Having an offline map will help you direct them and to avoid paying extra for driving around the wrong way.
- Meter. If you are getting a taxi in the city, make sure it is metered. If the driver refused to turn meter on or tries to negotiate a price, get out and find another taxi.
- Small money. Always keep small notes as taxi drivers often pretend they don’t have the correct change. If the amount is too big for the driver to keep, try to resolve the situation by asking the driver to wait and changing your bigger notes in a nearby shop or telling him to do so. Be firm
- Scams. Don’t get into tuktuks or taxis that offer a tour around it is a very common scam. They will bring you to a shop in the middle of now where, then disappear and the only way of out is if you buy something, and then pay the driver to take you back. Also never listen to a taxi driver that a particular attraction (that you have just asked him to drive you to) is closed or not good. He will then insist on bringing you somewhere better, which is a total scam.
- TukTuks. In my opinion are total rip-offs. Majority of the drivers want around 150 baht for a short journey, where normal taxi will cost 50% less or even more.
- Unwilling drivers. There are plenty of those, ones you tell them where you want to go, a lot will say no straight away. Or try to negotiate a ridiculous fare. Some will even let you in and then change their mind and tell you to get out. ( This actually happened to me).
- Traffic. The traffic in Bangkok is very heavy, make sure to plan ahead and to leave plenty of time to get to the Airport for your departure.