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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.



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 20, 2014, 11:39 pm
  #196  
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Originally Posted by exerda
...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.
Thanks, excerda... That's very helpful.

Originally Posted by Tchiowa
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.
I think that's a very good point. I'll see if I can incorporate something about that, Tchiowa. Thanks.

Last edited by aBroadAbroad; Mar 20, 2014 at 11:48 pm
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 12:20 am
  #197  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
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.
Originally Posted by aBroadAbroad
I think that's a very good point. I'll see if I can incorporate something about that, Tchiowa. Thanks.
I don't think that that's something on which FT, through a Mod, should be giving "advice." Talk about slippery slopes!!

That said, illegal? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Against the rules? Sure; but it's unclear to me that you're breaking a law by catching a taxi from upstairs. Perhaps it's illegal or against the rules for the driver, but doubt that any pax is breaking the law by getting into a taxi upstairs.

Dangerous? How?
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 12:49 am
  #198  
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH
I don't think that that's something on which FT, through a Mod, should be giving "advice." Talk about slippery slopes!!

That said, illegal? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Against the rules? Sure; but it's unclear to me that you're breaking a law by catching a taxi from upstairs. Perhaps it's illegal or against the rules for the driver, but doubt that any pax is breaking the law by getting into a taxi upstairs.

Dangerous? How?
+10000
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 1:38 am
  #199  
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH

Dangerous? How?
I've certainly no wish to re-open a tiresome sideline to this thread, but engaging a taxi in the unregulated zone has to carry some risk additional to that taken on when using the (lightly) regulated taxi ranks.

The Wiki is, I think, intended primarily for first-time visitors to Bangkok. Suggesting an off-beat, potentially risky way for the innocent to save very small money getting into town is, at best, unwise.
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 1:49 am
  #200  
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH
I don't think that that's something on which FT, through a Mod, should be giving "advice." Talk about slippery slopes!!

That said, illegal? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Against the rules? Sure; but it's unclear to me that you're breaking a law by catching a taxi from upstairs. Perhaps it's illegal or against the rules for the driver, but doubt that any pax is breaking the law by getting into a taxi upstairs.

Dangerous? How?
I've never heard of anyone being arrested or fined, but I have seen police stop taxis leaving the Arrivals areas with passengers and booting the passengers out.

As far as "dangerous", a few years ago there were a number of robberies and a couple of murders of tourists picked up at the airport. Turned out that the 2 or 3 drivers involved were specifically trying to pick people up at Arrivals so there was no record of the taxi number like there is at the regular queue.

When I say "a few years ago", it was at Don Muang before Suvarnabhumi was opened.
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 2:37 am
  #201  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
Turned out that the 2 or 3 drivers involved were specifically trying to pick people up at Arrivals so there was no record of the taxi number like there is at the regular queue.
You mean Departures, Arrivals is where you are supposed to catch taxis @:-)
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 4:32 am
  #202  
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Originally Posted by EmailKid
You mean Departures, Arrivals is where you are supposed to catch taxis @:-)
Not exactly, but close. The more people babble on, the more confusion they cause.

Arrivals (arriving Immigration, baggage claim, Customs) is on level 2.

The official taxi queues remain one level down from there, on level 1 (also referred to as the ground floor).

Remember that there are turnstiles on level 4/Departures which may make it challenging to get to the outer curb where taxis which have dropped off departing customers may be loitering in hopes of getting a passenger.
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 5:26 am
  #203  
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<various bits redacted>

Originally Posted by EmailKid
You mean Departures, Arrivals is where you are supposed to catch taxis @:-)
You are correct, he was referring to departures on the 4th level.

Last edited by dsquared37; Mar 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm Reason: Please discuss posted info, not the poster
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 7:05 am
  #204  
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Originally Posted by EmailKid
You mean Departures, Arrivals is where you are supposed to catch taxis @:-)
You're right. Got it backwards.
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 8:54 am
  #205  
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I regularly have problems with taxis out of the queue on level 1. The cabs see me and do not want to turn on the meter.

Whereas when I "choose" a taxi on level 4, a car that has departing passengers unloading, I have no problems. In fact, it's my preferred method for taking a taxi from BKK. And it's not to save 50THB.

Illegal, NOT. Dangerous. Hardly.

It is against policy. But, until they clean up the taxi games I prefer to choose my taxis rather than take my chance with the queue.

I should add since they added the turnstiles, I have caught my taxis from the stand downstairs. 1 Bad, 2 Good taxis since I made the switch.
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 9:24 am
  #206  
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Folks, please let's keep things civil and on topic. Off-topic and overly personalized comments have been removed.

As was pointed out upthread, the taxi wiki is designed to provide quick, basic guidelines to those who are new to the taxi system at BKK arrivals and/or inexperienced in using Bangkok taxis overall. Any tips added to the wiki should reflect that perspective.

Thanks for your input,

aBroadABroad
Moderator, Thailand



<moderator hat off>

The issue of avoiding the taxi queues has been debated ad nauseum in this thread. There is probably little to no value in going there yet again. Strictly my own opinion, of course

The question at hand is whether it is worth met mentioning anything in the wiki about using the departures level to bypass the taxi queues. At this point, I think not, since it is unlikely a Bangkok newbie will have heard about the practice in the first place (unless they actually read through this thread).

Last edited by aBroadAbroad; Mar 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm Reason: Clarified moderation issue, separated out non-mod comments
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Old Mar 21, 2014, 8:04 pm
  #207  
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Originally Posted by aBroadAbroad
... (unless they actually read through this thread).
... in which case they'll already know the arguments on all sides of the issue and can make their own, informed decision on what to do.
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Old Mar 22, 2014, 12:32 am
  #208  
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Originally Posted by aBroadAbroad
<moderator hat off>

The issue of avoiding the taxi queues has been debated ad nauseum in this thread. There is probably little to no value in going there yet again. Strictly my own opinion, of course

The question at hand is whether it is worth mentioning anything in the wiki about using the departures level to bypass the taxi queues. At this point, I think not, since it is unlikely a Bangkok newbie will have heard about the practice in the first place (unless they actually read through this thread).
Agree on both points.

Almost ten years ago, first time at BKK, also my first time in SEA, and even though I've traveled much of Latin America (so no stranger to attempted scams) and Europe, the taxi thing was somewhat complicated even though I read all the info and warnings. I feel unless someone is an old hand in Asia, going to Departures on the first trip is asking for trouble @:-)
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 4:47 pm
  #209  
 
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Originally Posted by transpac
Have you, or anyone else here, used GrabTaxi here in Bangkok?

Any experiences, especially details, would be appreciated.
Sorry I missed your post - I would've replied earlier.

Yes I have used GrabTaxi a couple of times. I find it convenient when going to the airport early in the morning (around 4am) because then, I am sure of getting a taxi, especially sometimes from remote places where a passing taxi is hard to find. Also good if you want to be sure of a cab using meter.

It is like calling and booking a metered taxi by calling dispatch. Regular taxis. 25B booking fee. The advantage over the dispatch line, is that I have a record on my app and I can see where the taxi is and more importantly, the phone number of the driver. One advice is, register with your local number because GrabTaxi will call you even if there is a switch of taxis. You don't want to be on the phone with a roaming number (expensive).

Using the app is easy. You enter you location and destination and you get to see how many drivers are in your vicinity. On a afternoon in the Ratchaprasong area, I saw > 60 taxis in area. Then your reservation goes through a process of "bidding" between taxis resulting in one cab being assigned to you. You get to see the taxi number, driver phone number, and minutes from arrival at that point. You can make reservations 7 days in advance.

They have always come on time.

The last trip, I got to speaking with driver about GrabTaxi. He said that they even pick up from the airport from departures level. He also said there were only 2 apps that he knew of in Bangkok: GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi; GrabTaxi being the bigger of the two. Finally he said that you were sure that a taxi would arrive on time.

Hope this helps.
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Old Mar 23, 2014, 8:39 pm
  #210  
 
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
I've never heard of anyone being arrested or fined, but I have seen police stop taxis leaving the Arrivals areas with passengers and booting the passengers out.

As far as "dangerous", a few years ago there were a number of robberies and a couple of murders of tourists picked up at the airport. Turned out that the 2 or 3 drivers involved were specifically trying to pick people up at Arrivals so there was no record of the taxi number like there is at the regular queue.

When I say "a few years ago", it was at Don Muang before Suvarnabhumi was opened.
Those cases were over 15 years ago at DMK. Back then the AOT NEVER noted taxi numbers that were in the AOT queue. It would not have made much difference as a group were just abducting wealthy looking, single travelers, killing them and dumping their bodies in some fields in the NE of BKK.The suggestion was that it was dozens of people over the years but of course the police and thai govt only officially had a few cases. The AOT didn't even log them at DMK them before Swamp opened in 2006, it was just a long queue and jump in.

I really don't understand the tenuous thinking that happened many, many years ago at another airport somehow has any relevance to a different airport today by suggesting that it is dangerous to take a taxi from departures...... Using the same absence of logic, I once nearly missed a flight at La Guardia 10 years ago due to being dropped off at a distant location from the terminal so that means anyone going to JFK today should be very careful! Sound silly? Yes it does.

On the unlawful assertion, there is no regulation or law compelling a pax to catch a taxi anywhere specific. AOT regulations only apply to taxis. To suggest it is illegal to catch a taxi at departures is beyond silly. Also, someone suggested that unofficial taxis can loiter in departures. This is untrue. AOT Security does not allow any unofficial taxis to enter the dep level taxi drop off zone.
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