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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
READ THIS FIRST:
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.



Special thanks to FlyerTalker c_9 for building this wikipost.


This is a member-maintained wiki. FlyerTalkers are invited to update, add missing information and make corrections as needed. Thanks for helping out!
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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Mar 18, 2014, 9:14 pm
  #181  
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Originally Posted by Allvest
I strongly caution tourists from being obnoxious with Thai cab drivers. Is a 5 dollar saving worth getting into an argument, dropped off in the middle of nowhere or worse, being confronted by a bunch of taxi colleagues?
Ask if they'll use the meter before getting in. If they won't use the meter, just wave them on. Nothing obnoxious about it, and it'll be a win-win.

They'll find the flat rate passenger to overcharge (or a Thai passenger they don't feel like overcharging), you'll wait a little but have a shot at finding an honest cabbie who'll use the meter.

Sure you can negotiate and say no. But pushing it too far can have in intended health consequences.
What's there to negotiate? Either they put the meter on, or they don't, and you get another cab.

Originally Posted by Tchiowa
I find that if you get into a cab and instead of saying "take me to Siam Paragon" (for example) you say "Bai Siam Paragon" just the fact that you used one Thai word seems to make the think you're not a newbie so they don't try to play as many games with you.
How do you pronounce that -- like "buy" in English? Any real obvious tone?

If they start to pull out and don't hit the meter, just say "meter" and point. 99 times out of 100 that ends the discussion.
I'll just ask "location, meter, OK?" or "location, price, OK?" through the window -- or through and open door -- before getting in. Probably has a slightly higher rejection rate than getting in first, but it avoids any misunderstanding.

Originally Posted by Allvest
I have a reliable driver, and pay him 1000 baht. he comes to my door, picks up the bags, gets me to the airport on time and is trustworthy. he is just a metered taxi.
That sounds like a service potentially worth paying extra for because he's a specific individual and a known quantity.

otherwise i expect to pay 500 baht TO he airport
You're welcome to overpay, that's your prerogative, but there's neither a need to nor any guarantee of better service. If you're away from a major thoroughfare where it's tough to get a taxi, it may save you a bit of time, but for the average tourist staying near a major street if the first taxi to drive by won't take a metered fare to the airport, the one of the next couple will and your net time savings is at most a couple minutes.

Of course, if it's really THAT bad of a rush hour, tourists are probably better off doing BTS to ARL anyway...
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 10:47 pm
  #182  
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Originally Posted by nkedel
How do you pronounce that -- like "buy" in English? Any real obvious tone?...
Yes, like "buy". Just mumble a bit and the tone won't matter.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 12:17 am
  #183  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
Yes, like "buy". Just mumble a bit and the tone won't matter.
Thanks. Will give that a shot.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 12:50 am
  #184  
 
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Pom ow bai or pom yahk bai (destination) khrap - if you're feeling on top of your game.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 2:34 am
  #185  
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Originally Posted by dsquared37
This was edited (not by me) to an extent that it fails to convey my point whatsoever. In fact it was butchered.

That the post doesn't indicated it was edited is something I find troubling.
DS, vBulletin (the forum software on which FT runs) has a setting for the amount of time after a post is posted during which the post may be edited without the change indication at the bottom of the post being triggered. I believe that the default is set at five minutes; but that parameter can be changed by Administrators. After that, changes show up in that familiar notation at the bottom of the post (see the bottom of this post). I know of no way for anyone (including Mods) to bypass it, so that means that the changes were made just a few minutes after you made the post. (I'm becoming intimately familiar with the innards of vBulletin as I'm converting a commercial forum I own to vBulletin. It's excellent software.)

Anyway, back to taxis.... Different hotels have different protocols for getting a taxi for you. I agree with the oft suggested idea of getting a moving taxi rather than one sitting at a queue. SGS has no taxi queue. When someone in the lobby needs one, they radio down to the security guard at the entrance to the driveway; and he hails one driving by. There's no place for a taxi queue there as all lanes of Suk carry moving traffic in that stretch.

Other hotels handle taxis differently, -- PA, for example, which nearly always has two or three taxis waiting in a queue on Wireless at the end of the driveway or Aloft which also usually has taxis waiting on the street. I don't recall how WGS does it on the other side of Suk.

Last edited by Dr. HFH; Mar 19, 2014 at 4:27 am
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 1:51 pm
  #186  
 
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I'm not promoting any specific service, but if you are in a time-bind situation to go see Bangkok, etc., for about $60 you can just book a fast-track entry coupled with a car to take you directly where you want to go without worrying about tolls, meters, etc. Even if you are polite and give the bag carrier dude 100 baht tip and 100 for the driver, you are still less than $70 for an easy, sure, quick access to the city. I understand some students-budget travelers will recoil at the idea, but if you can afford it, it's really very simple. Especially if you have less than 24 hours, etc.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 7:19 pm
  #187  
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Originally Posted by Powers106
I'm not promoting any specific service, but if you are in a time-bind situation to go see Bangkok, etc., for about $60 you can just book a fast-track entry coupled with a car to take you directly where you want to go without worrying about tolls, meters, etc. Even if you are polite and give the bag carrier dude 100 baht tip and 100 for the driver, you are still less than $70 for an easy, sure, quick access to the city. I understand some students-budget travelers will recoil at the idea, but if you can afford it, it's really very simple. Especially if you have less than 24 hours, etc.
While that's a ridiculous amount to pay for a card service on its own, the ability to pay for the fast-track lane at immigration makes that a very intriguing idea on the net; just the fast-track service is about $30. I haven't bothered in the past, but it seems like a much better value than just the pricier limo service on its own. On daytime arrivals via CX, the lines rarely seem that bad, but for the 11ish JAL arrivals the long lines can be terrible.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 8:50 pm
  #188  
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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?
Originally Posted by dsquared37
Basement level. Either take the escalators down (between doors 1 and 4 only) or any elevator.
If there's signage for elevator to train, I haven't seen it. Signage for escalator is OK, though not great, but it will get you to your destination.

As you walk down toward ticket counters, Express Train is on the left and local on the right.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 12:42 am
  #189  
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Originally Posted by EmailKid
If there's signage for elevator to train, I haven't seen it. Signage for escalator is OK, though not great, but it will get you to your destination.
I don't know that there is elevator signage specifically designating or directing pax to the train, but if you just go down to the very bottom level of the airport you'll be where you need to be.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 5:18 am
  #190  
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH
I don't know that there is elevator signage specifically designating or directing pax to the train, but if you just go down to the very bottom level of the airport you'll be where you need to be.
If you're taking the escalator to/from the basement level the elevator is right there. However now that I think about that might only travel between 1 and B.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by dsquared37
If you're taking the escalator to/from the basement level the elevator is right there. However now that I think about that might only travel between 1 and B.
You can take elevator from B to 4 (departures). Going from arrivals (Level 2) to B: some elevators entrances are blocked-off, some not. Why I have no idea.

I find it faster to take the escalators from 2 to 1 to B. Waiting for an elevator is sometimes a long wait and the human traffic getting in and out makes it even longer.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 3:35 pm
  #192  
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Hi all... I've been trying to clean up the wikipost a bit, and i'm sure I've got some stuff wrong. Only taken a taxi from BKK once, and that was a story unto itself!

Anyhow. If y'all would look it over and fix or give input, I'd greatly appreciate your help.

Also, there was mention a few months ago of tolls going up. Would somebody please confirm whether they are no THB 30 and THB 50 to city center?

Thanks so much. Carry on.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 6:03 pm
  #193  
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Originally Posted by tide
You can take elevator from B to 4 (departures). Going from arrivals (Level 2) to B: some elevators entrances are blocked-off, some not. Why I have no idea.
Floor 2 access (international arrivals) is blocked between doors 5-10 because only AoT and other employees and arriving pax are supposed to enter.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 8:33 pm
  #194  
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Originally Posted by aBroadAbroad
Also, there was mention a few months ago of tolls going up. Would somebody please confirm whether they are no THB 30 and THB 50 to city center?
Wednesday night I paid THB 25 and 50 for the tolls. I had been expecting 30 and 50. I wasn't paying close attention, but got THB 25 back from the first toll, paying with a 50 note.

Overall fare from the airport to the Conrad on Wireless Road was THB 207, excluding the tolls.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 11:34 pm
  #195  
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Originally Posted by aBroadAbroad
Hi all... I've been trying to clean up the wikipost a bit, and i'm sure I've got some stuff wrong. Only taken a taxi from BKK once, and that was a story unto itself!

Anyhow. If y'all would look it over and fix or give input, I'd greatly appreciate your help.

Also, there was mention a few months ago of tolls going up. Would somebody please confirm whether they are no THB 30 and THB 50 to city center?

Thanks so much. Carry on.
I haven't seen talk about it here, but I do see elsewhere people giving advice on how to save the 50 baht airport fee by trying to catch a taxi at Arrivals. Suggest to advise them not to do it as it is illegal and dangerous.
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