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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Jan 3, 2015, 2:56 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: IluvSQ
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Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Taxi at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)


BKK Terminal Map

Source: AOT

MAP KEY

Arrival Gates - Level Two
Immigration
Baggage Claim Carousels
Customs and Exits to Landside Terminal Area
Elevators/Escalators to Ground Floor Level One
Numbered Exits to Outside (taxi queues are near exits 4 & 7)

WHAT TO DO

Taxis accept cash only. There are ATMs and currency exchangers inside the terminal.
  • Take an elevator or escalator down to the ground level.
  • Follow the signs to one of the two taxi queues outside of the terminal on Level One.
  • The taxi queue attendant will ask your destination and write it on a taxi slip. UPDATE: There are no longer attendants to write your destination at BKK. You get a slip from a touchscreen kiosk which directs you to a parking stall number where you meet your car/driver.
  • The larger part of the taxi slip is yours to keep, the smaller part goes to your driver. Be sure to keep your taxi slip as it contains information you will need if a problem arises. Do not give your portion of the taxi slip to the driver, even if he asks for it. UPDATE: There is no portion of the new slip from the kiosk to give the driver.

BASE COST
  • Airport Fee - THB 50 per taxi levied from the airport (never to the airport)
  • THB 35 - flag drop through 1km
  • +THB 5.50/km for kilometers 1+ through 10
  • +THB 6.50/km for kilometers 10+ through 20
  • +THB 7.50/km for kilometers 20-40
  • +THB 2 per minute waiting or standing in traffic (less than 6kph)

TOLLS
  • THB 75 to city center (two toll booths)
  • THB 60 to DMK

SAMPLE FARES FROM BKK TO...
Amounts are approximate and will vary with traffic, specific drop point, etc.
  • City Center - THB 170-200
  • Grand Palace - THB 215
  • Don Mueang Airport (DMK) - THB 290
  • Hua Hin - THB ___ (typically a negotiated flat fee)
  • Pattaya - THB ___ (typically a negotiated flat fee)

FARE CALCULATOR TOOLS
Reasonably accurate fare estimates are available from a number of websites and apps. These services provide estimated base fares only. Calculations do not include traffic, tolls, airport fees, etc. Reliability varies - use at your own risk.
FAQs

Q: Should I use the hotel's airport transfer service instead of a taxi?A: It depends on your comfort zone, budget, time of day, number of people/bags, etc. In general, the cost will probably be about two to three times the typical taxi fare, or more. If you are relatively new to Asia, it might be a bit overwhelming, and you might find it reassuring to see someone holding a sign with your name as you walk out of baggage claim.
Q: Is it best to take the expressway or surface streets?A: Depending on your destination and time of day, surface streets might be quicker and/or shorter. However, expressway tolls will usually add less than THB 200 to the trip (see above), so you may wish to defer to your driver.

Q: What types of scams should I watch for?A: The most common thing you'll encounter is taxi drivers who do not want to use the meter. They will often ask for a flat fee that is usually much higher than the meter would register. If a driver refuses to use the meter, it's best to exit the taxi and get another. Do not get angry or argue with the driver. If a driver demands more money on arrival at your hotel, wait until your bags have been offloaded from the vehicle, then seek out a porter or other hotel employee to assist you. Again, do not get angry or argue with the driver. A driver may say there is a THB 50 fee to go to the airport. There is no fee to go TO the airport. If the fee is mentioned at the outset, get out and flag down a new taxi. If it is mentioned upon arrival at the airport, remove all your belongings from the taxi and calmly state that there is no such fee while handing over the metered amount. If the driver is insistent, offering to call over a police officer to assist will usually put an end to the discussion.

Q: What is the most common meter scam?
A: Very often, when you enter the taxi, the meter is obscured with a rag or towel, so you do not see that it has been running prior to your entrance,
and is now well over 100 Baht. Always ensure that you observe the driver starting the meter.
Q: If the driver does scam me, how much money are we talking about?A: Usually no more than THB 200-300, which is about USD 7-10
Q: I think I still have other questions...A: Just hit the reply button and get feedback from other helpful FlyerTalkers who take Bangkok taxis regularly!

Q: This all sounds like hassle. Is there some way I can use a small amount of money to make that go away?A: The AOT limo stands before and immediately after customs are trustworthy, although their initial quote will be for their most expensive vehicle. Ask for the Isuzu SUV. You'll be looking at 1,050THB / $33.50 to the center of town, inclusive of all fees and fares, and a small increment on that for a sedan. Credit cards are accepted. You will get a printed receipt before you get in the taxi. The vehicle will be well-driven, clean, and will have seatbelts.



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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Mar 17, 2014, 7:49 am
  #166  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
Depends if you're flying Coach or Business or First. The Coach check in lines and the non-VIP Immigration lines can be long. If you're in a Premium cabin figure 30 minutes to the airport and 30 minutes for check-in and Immigration. Another 30 minute "just in case" so I'd leave the city at 8:30. If you're in Coach, I'd leave an hour earlier.
Also really depends where in Bangkok you are starting from.

In general from the Sukhumvit area I tend to leave 3 hours before flight time- meaning that when I have a flight at 23:50 I leave the centre just before 21:00. Even with rain, accidents, toll congestion, strikes, protests, this tends to be enough time to arrive at the airport and have a few minutes for something to eat or drink in the lounge prior to takeoff. This is based on flying business/first with the VIP immigration. When I fly economy without the expedited immigration I tend to leave 4 hours before flight time- so very similar to your estimates I think?
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 11:23 am
  #167  
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Originally Posted by agp423
I won't be staying at a hotel. I have a 17 hour day time layover in BKK, so my best bet is to get a moving taxi. What time should I leave the city if I plan to get back in the airport and in the TG lounge by 10p?
As others have said, it depends on your check in time or if you already have your boarding passes.

I'm just the opposite of the others here. I don't leave early.

But WHERE are you leaving from and how far from the tollway will you be in Bangkok traffic.
If you want to be at the airport at 22:00, you will need to be ENTERING the TOLLWAY by 21:30. That could mean hopping in the cab at 21:25 or 21:00. Once you're on the elevated highway, it's a piece of cake.

Where will you be taking the cab frrom?
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 11:36 am
  #168  
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Originally Posted by TRAVELSIG
When I fly economy without the expedited immigration I tend to leave 4 hours before flight time- so very similar to your estimates I think?
That sounds very early to me; the only time I've left that early was the once I got stuck on China Eastern and being a non-OW carrier, wasn't sure how bad their regular Y check-in lines would be (turned out to be bad.)

Then again, even though I'm always in Y, I can use the J check-in lines (as can an awful lot of us with status.) No fast-track line with that, but the exit passport controls have never been that bad, and seem better with the division of space with security upstairs before passport control.

Leaving 3 hours ahead seems fine from Lower Sukhumvit if you're not around a rush hour, sometimes only about 2 1/2 if I'm leaving at the crack of dawn for the 8AM-ish JAL departure. Sometime the check-in desks don't even open before the 3-hour mark...
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 11:39 am
  #169  
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Originally Posted by nkedel
That sounds very early to me; the only time I've left that early was the once I got stuck on China Eastern and being a non-OW carrier, wasn't sure how bad their regular Y check-in lines would be (turned out to be bad.)

Then again, even though I'm always in Y, I can use the J check-in lines (as can an awful lot of us with status.) No fast-track line with that, but the exit passport controls have never been that bad, and seem better with the division of space with security upstairs before passport control.
During the evening flight waves to Europe (starting around 22:00 and onwards) I have seen the queues for passport control extending one hour-one hour fifteen minutes. So- if you calculate- Sukhumvit>Airport leaving at 21:00 arriving 21:45, checkin for flight 21:45-22:15 (note: unless ME3 in Y in which case I would calculate 1 hour for checkin), passport control+security: 22:15-23:30- for a midnight departure this is cutting it quite close in case anything goes wrong.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 11:42 am
  #170  
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Originally Posted by nkedel
That sounds very early to me; the only time I've left that early was the once I got stuck on China Eastern and being a non-OW carrier, wasn't sure how bad their regular Y check-in lines would be (turned out to be bad.)

Then again, even though I'm always in Y, I can use the J check-in lines (as can an awful lot of us with status.) No fast-track line with that, but the exit passport controls have never been that bad, and seem better with the division of space with security upstairs before passport control.

Leaving 3 hours ahead seems fine from Lower Sukhumvit if you're not around a rush hour, sometimes only about 2 1/2 if I'm leaving at the crack of dawn for the 8AM-ish JAL departure. Sometime the check-in desks don't even open before the 3-hour mark...
No idea. I get in around 7am from FRA, then I'm going to grab breakfast at the TG F lounge, and then head out to the city. I know I want to see the floating market, visit one temple/palace, and get a mani pedi, but not necessarily in that order. I want to get lunch and an early dinner in the city as well.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 11:43 am
  #171  
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Originally Posted by agp423
No idea. I get in around 7am from FRA, then I'm going to grab breakfast at the TG F lounge, and then head out to the city. I know I want to see the floating market, visit one temple/palace, and get a mani pedi, but not necessarily in that order. I want to get lunch and an early dinner in the city as well.
Skip the floating market (really not worth the time/effort at all) and eat breakfast on the plane so you can skip the lounge on the inbound and save yourself some time.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 12:00 pm
  #172  
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Originally Posted by TRAVELSIG
During the evening flight waves to Europe (starting around 22:00 and onwards) I have seen the queues for passport control extending one hour-one hour fifteen minutes. So- if you calculate- Sukhumvit>Airport leaving at 21:00 arriving 21:45, checkin for flight 21:45-22:15 (note: unless ME3 in Y in which case I would calculate 1 hour for checkin), passport control+security: 22:15-23:30- for a midnight departure this is cutting it quite close in case anything goes wrong.
That's not a popular window for flights back to the US -- I'm always leaving either early morning, or late afternoon to connect out to HKG for the after-midnight HKF-SFO flight. I've never left in that later window except for the one China Eastern flight (to PVG to connect to AA) which was itself well after midnight (1:55AM), so I will take your word that exit passport control can take that long at times.

I don't recall it ever taking any more than a half hour to get through both security and passport control for a daytime departure, and it's usually quicker than that. I don't recall any trouble at passport control and security even on that one late MU flight.

I can believe an hour for check-in without status; pretty sure the MU flight took that long. Only time I've taken a non-OW/non-LCC internationally since JL joined OW.

Immigrations/entry passport controls definitely usually take a LOT longer for the evening JL arrivals than the daytime CX ones, one of many reasons I prefer CX on my way out. I wonder if the slowdown for late departures is staffing? It certainly looks like fewer desks being open is the issue for late arrivals.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 12:24 pm
  #173  
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Oh yea forgot about the plane food... If they serve breakfast then I will eat breakfast on the plane and then head straight for customs, and then BKK. I get in on a weekend, so hopefully morning traffic won't be too bad.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 3:40 pm
  #174  
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Originally Posted by agp423
Oh yea forgot about the plane food... If they serve breakfast then I will eat breakfast on the plane and then head straight for customs, and then BKK. I get in on a weekend, so hopefully morning traffic won't be too bad.
You should be OK for traffic. You can leave your bags at the left luggage facilities, grab a taxi or a car, and head straight for the temples or wherever you would like your first stop to be. If you are worried about traffic there is always the airport express train which is faster if you are traveling light.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 3:41 pm
  #175  
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Originally Posted by nkedel
That's not a popular window for flights back to the US -- I'm always leaving either early morning, or late afternoon to connect out to HKG for the after-midnight HKF-SFO flight. I've never left in that later window except for the one China Eastern flight (to PVG to connect to AA) which was itself well after midnight (1:55AM), so I will take your word that exit passport control can take that long at times.
I seem to recall that the wave of flights starting at 21:00 and ending around 00:55 is the busiest time of the day for departures from BKK.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 7:51 pm
  #176  
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Originally Posted by TRAVELSIG
I seem to recall that the wave of flights starting at 21:00 and ending around 00:55 is the busiest time of the day for departures from BKK.
My experience is that most of them are in the morning. 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM. Those usually get you to the West Coast (SFO, LAX) fairly early in the morning just in time for rush hour traffic.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 9:17 pm
  #177  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
My experience is that most of them are in the morning. 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM. Those usually get you to the West Coast (SFO, LAX) fairly early in the morning just in time for rush hour traffic.
For connecting in one stop back to the states via HKG/NRT, those certainly seem to be the fastest/most direct options. (Not great for mileage runs; when the fare's the same or only slightly higher, ORD or DFW is a lot more miles.)

I'm on the 6am JAL flight back to NRT (connecting through to DFW, then home) in a few weeks. I expect I'll probably be out the door a little after 3, no later 3:30am. Sounds like things are worst for the evening flights out to Europe.
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Old Mar 17, 2014, 9:38 pm
  #178  
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Originally Posted by nkedel
I'm on the 6am JAL flight back to NRT (connecting through to DFW, then home) in a few weeks. I expect I'll probably be out the door a little after 3, no later 3:30am. Sounds like things are worst for the evening flights out to Europe.
That's what I normally try to do for the 7:10 a.m. UA flight to NRT, well, obviously an hour later for me @:-)

Originally Posted by TRAVELSIG
If you are worried about traffic there is always the airport express train which is faster if you are traveling light.
Add me to the Airport Train / Skytrain combo fan club. I always use it when I can (not for a.m. departures on UA as they don't run that early), but it's a stress free way to/from BKK if you travel light, especially when traffic is heavy.

Last edited by EmailKid; Mar 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 5:53 am
  #179  
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I won't have much on me, most likely only a backpack. I will keep my roller at the airport. Where in the airport do I hop on the train?
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 6:36 am
  #180  
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Originally Posted by agp423
I won't have much on me, most likely only a backpack. I will keep my roller at the airport. Where in the airport do I hop on the train?
Basement level. Either take the escalators down (between doors 1 and 4 only) or any elevator.

There is a good app for the train times 'Bangkok ARL' on android.
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