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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

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Old Mar 25, 18, 4:43 pm   -   Wikipost
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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: 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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Old Feb 11, 14, 1:18 am
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
I completely agree with you, DS, having changed my feelings on this over time. Asok to DMK last week, the meter said 497 on arrival at the airport. Right. I offered him 100. He started gesticulating at the meter and saying something (I neither speak nor understand Thai, as you know). I told him again 100. He said no. I then gestured that he should come with me inside the terminal and said that we would ask the police to sort it out. On hearing "police" (same in Thai?) he turned and walked back to his taxi, obviously disgusted with me.
I don't doubt this happened to you but "hot meters" are really not much of a problem. I've probably spent cumulatively 8-9 years total in BKK and taken thousands of taxi rides. I've had altogether way too many want to refuse to turn on the meter. But I've never had one where the meter was way off what it should be.
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Old Feb 11, 14, 6:32 am
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
I don't doubt this happened to you but "hot meters" are really not much of a problem. I've probably spent cumulatively 8-9 years total in BKK and taken thousands of taxi rides. I've had altogether way too many want to refuse to turn on the meter. But I've never had one where the meter was way off what it should be.
I've had a handful of hot meters in the last few years some of which have been super-eggregious; once I hit 30km at the 1st (25 baht) toll coming from the airport which should be ~20km. And as you know the meter clocks a higher price for more distant destinations which makes soemthing like this even more dastardly for someone who's a novice.

A trip around town in the 5km range isn't where these guys make their bread and butter and I'm convinced that the ones who really push the envelope have the ability to control the meter to speed up or clock accurately.

But I agree that the more common problem is the refusal to take you or the stonefaced denial of turning the meter on to begin with.
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Old Feb 11, 14, 9:33 pm
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
I've had a handful of hot meters in the last few years some of which have been super-eggregious; once I hit 30km at the 1st (25 baht) toll coming from the airport which should be ~20km. And as you know the meter clocks a higher price for more distant destinations which makes soemthing like this even more dastardly for someone who's a novice.

A trip around town in the 5km range isn't where these guys make their bread and butter and I'm convinced that the ones who really push the envelope have the ability to control the meter to speed up or clock accurately.

But I agree that the more common problem is the refusal to take you or the stonefaced denial of turning the meter on to begin with.
There is a simple 3 step rule to avoid a meter used at a higher rate. I've posted this before on another thread some time ago.

1) Take a newer model taxi: Earlier in the last decade the DLT was considering introducing a higher night rate. Thus, many older taxis (pre 2006 models) have meter that can be set for this rate (even after the last fare increase a few years ago). Newer taxis have meters which only have the one rate.

Also, from a personal comfort point of view, in a city with nearly 90K taxis one is never short of options. Why would you rather take an older taxi with bad aircon, tatty seats and the smells of 1000s of sweaty bums compared to a newer taxi?

At the airport, the AOT has stated that they only allow taxis that are not older than 4 years (obviously BS) so you are well within your rights to ask for another taxi if the one allocated to you in the queue is older.

2) 555 Rule: at 5kms the meter fare should be 55 baht. It might be 57, it could be 53 but use that as a guide. If your fare is 70-85 baht something is wrong.
Note: this excludes stationary time charges of 1.5 baht per min.

3) One press to start the meter: it only take one press to activate the meter. The abovementioned rate in older meters can be activated by 2 or 3 presses depending on the meter model. If you are in an older taxi and the driver presses the button more than once, that is a warning. Just jump out and take another taxi.

Misuse of meters is taken seriously by the DLT and police if the matter is appropriately reported as it not turning on the meter. The ID reg of the taxi and driver are obviously required. Obviously that is rarely done and most people don't want to waste their time.

The DLT complaints line is 1584 and even with the heavy volume most complaints are eventually followed up;
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...otline/page-2/

You have to judge the potential for threats or violence from the driver given the circumstances if you confront him over an obvious incorrect rate. Usually, a driver will back down if you do have an idea what the normal fare is. However, follow these 3 simple steps - which is really just the first rule - and you should never be put in that situation.
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Old Feb 11, 14, 11:16 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Yappofloyd View Post

Misuse of meters is taken seriously by the DLT and police if the matter is appropriately reported as it not turning on the meter. The ID reg of the taxi and driver are obviously required. Obviously that is rarely done and most people don't want to waste their time.


You have to judge the potential for threats or violence from the driver given the circumstances if you confront him over an obvious incorrect rate. Usually, a driver will back down if you do have an idea what the normal fare is. However, follow these 3 simple steps - which is really just the first rule - and you should never be put in that situation.
I have compained before and will again should I encounter any abnormalities. Nobody has ever gotten back in touch however.

Each time it's happened I've known relatively quickly that something's amiss and each time i wait until at the destination to do anything about it. One driver was livid but preferred to take a lesser amount of money than wait for the police. The other times the driver knew he was caught and graciously took a lesser amount of money rather than involve the police.

It is rather infrequent but it does happen... that was the point in my previous post.
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Old Feb 12, 14, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
I have compained before and will again should I encounter any abnormalities. Nobody has ever gotten back in touch however.

Each time it's happened I've known relatively quickly that something's amiss and each time i wait until at the destination to do anything about it. One driver was livid but preferred to take a lesser amount of money than wait for the police. The other times the driver knew he was caught and graciously took a lesser amount of money rather than involve the police.

It is rather infrequent but it does happen... that was the point in my previous post.
And it was a good point.

I more just took the opportunity for your post to explain the 3 simple steps semi regular users should follow to avoid the situation all together or to be aware that something is amiss. Of course for new travelers many drivers will usually try to take advantage.

Bad experiences with taxis obviously generate a good wealth of complaints from travelers on forums. Everyone hates having to negotiate the hassle and potential threats from a driver attempting to con you by breaking the law. Enforcement of the law, as with everything in thailand, is another matter altogether.

The advantages here is that there are always plenty of taxi options. It is not NYC.....
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Old Feb 12, 14, 8:39 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
I have compained before and will again should I encounter any abnormalities. Nobody has ever gotten back in touch however.

Each time it's happened I've known relatively quickly that something's amiss and each time i wait until at the destination to do anything about it. One driver was livid but preferred to take a lesser amount of money than wait for the police. The other times the driver knew he was caught and graciously took a lesser amount of money rather than involve the police.

It is rather infrequent but it does happen... that was the point in my previous post.
One thing to consider is that not all of the taxi drivers are "stable". Just last year there was an article in the BKK Post about an American who worked for Caterpillar in Bangkok who disputed a taxi fare. It's was less than 50 baht, IIRC. The taxi driver took a machete to him. This was on Sukhumvit aound soi 50 or 60. Heck of a place to die.

Your life is worth more than 50 baht. If the driver got livid with me, I'd pay and depart the scene.
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Old Feb 12, 14, 10:09 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
One thing to consider is that not all of the taxi drivers are "stable". Just last year there was an article in the BKK Post about an American who worked for Caterpillar in Bangkok who disputed a taxi fare. It's was less than 50 baht, IIRC. The taxi driver took a machete to him.
Remember the video on Youtube

That's why all say not to dispute till you get to the hotel

Happened to me in MNL, and once at the hotel, told the driver what I paid last time (to same hotel), and he took what was offered and went on his way.

I did mention that he was going the long way when he took the long way around the airport.

Of course, I don't speak Thai, so in BKK it would be more of a challenge.
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Old Feb 12, 14, 11:12 pm
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
One thing to consider is that not all of the taxi drivers are "stable". Just last year there was an article in the BKK Post about an American who worked for Caterpillar in Bangkok who disputed a taxi fare. It's was less than 50 baht, IIRC. The taxi driver took a machete to him. This was on Sukhumvit aound soi 50 or 60. Heck of a place to die.

Your life is worth more than 50 baht. If the driver got livid with me, I'd pay and depart the scene.
I don't live my life in fear nor do I engage in wanton stupidity. Perhaps that was from growing up in NY in the 80's. If the 7-11 attendant was livid would you pay additional money to them?

All the same, about your story, yes i remember it. I also remember the driver claimed it was over a disputed fare and the man wasn't able to corroborate since he was dead.

The point of the story? Give in to petty crime? Live in fear?

I choose not to do either, you're free to do both if you so choose.
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Old Feb 13, 14, 9:41 am
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Well, on the heels of my recent posts we had a taxi this evening from the airport which clocked in at 245 baht to Suk Soi 57. I know from prior trips that the meter for distance totals 180 Baht but tonight we also had traffic.

What couldn't be justified is this: at 1.5 baht an additional charge of 60 Baht can only be from 40 minutes of stoppage time.... odd considering our total trip was 40 minutes. So we were charged for stoppage time the entire trip.

Oh, and there was no time nor distance shown on the meter, only money.

Clearly a rigged meter even if it doesn't add a tremendous amount to the total cost.

When queried by the door staff the driver couldn't (wouldn't) even say what stoppage time cost!
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Old Feb 13, 14, 6:31 pm
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Well, on the heels of my recent posts we had a taxi this evening from the airport which clocked in at 245 baht to Suk Soi 57. I know from prior trips that the meter for distance totals 180 Baht but tonight we also had traffic.

What couldn't be justified is this: at 1.5 baht an additional charge of 60 Baht can only be from 40 minutes of stoppage time.... odd considering our total trip was 40 minutes. So we were charged for stoppage time the entire trip.

Oh, and there was no time nor distance shown on the meter, only money.

Clearly a rigged meter even if it doesn't add a tremendous amount to the total cost.

When queried by the door staff the driver couldn't (wouldn't) even say what stoppage time cost!
Memory has it that the meter is supposed to calculate stoppage time not on actual stoppage but below a certain speed. 5km/hr or something like that.

Of course at my age memory tells me a lot of interesting things.
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Old Feb 13, 14, 8:02 pm
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I think I had Bangkok's best taxi driver yesterday from the airport to town. That driver actually picked me out of the line (and showed me to a free counter which the form was filled out by a lady) and I was actually wondering if he would be using the meter or not. First thing he did was to put on the meter. I asked him to use the highway which he did. He actually gave me recipts for the tolls paid at the two gates. Traffic was bad though, it all ended up with the airport surcharge at 454 THB. I rounded up to 460 (should probably have tipped more). He didn't even drive at 140 km/h nor even attempt to scam me. I was attemted scammed though yesterday night when I went home from a bar to my hotel, but I managed to convince the driver to use the meter which was of course less the fare he quoted.
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Old Feb 14, 14, 1:43 am
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Originally Posted by William S View Post
it all ended up with the airport surcharge at 454 THB. I rounded up to 460 (should probably have tipped more).
The driver must still be counting his blessings with such a generous tip .
What do you give to a less than "best ever" driver?
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Old Feb 14, 14, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by RTW1 View Post
The driver must still be counting his blessings with such a generous tip .
What do you give to a less than "best ever" driver?
Rounding up is the norm. Tipping is not. Same as several other Asian and EU countries - would you tip the cab driver in Japan, Singapore or London for example?
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Old Feb 14, 14, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by tide View Post
Rounding up is the norm. Tipping is not. Same as several other Asian and EU countries - would you tip the cab driver in Japan, Singapore or London for example?

People should keep that revolting tipping disease contained to the small parts of the world already infected by it.
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Old Feb 14, 14, 10:45 pm
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Originally Posted by dsquared37 View Post
Clearly a rigged meter even if it doesn't add a tremendous amount to the total cost.
Yes, slightly rigged meter that few would notice. Clever.
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