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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.



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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Feb 15, 2014, 5:57 am
  #76  
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Just when I assumed this thread couldn't get any more pedantic or silly, we now have "rules".

1) Take a newer model taxi:

Any advice on identifying acceptable model years for taxis? Is a 2008 model acceptable?

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.

After one has identified that something is wrong, what are the corollaries to the 555 Rule? Jump out of a moving taxi on the motorway in the vicinity of Srinakarin Road?
I guess this rule assumes that while the meter may be hot, the distance measurement is warm?

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.

Should we leave our bags behind? Is it OK to "jump out" of a moving taxi?
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Old Feb 15, 2014, 6:01 pm
  #77  
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Originally Posted by transpac
Just when I assumed this thread couldn't get any more pedantic or silly, we now have "rules".

1) Take a newer model taxi:

Any advice on identifying acceptable model years for taxis? Is a 2008 model acceptable?

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.

After one has identified that something is wrong, what are the corollaries to the 555 Rule? Jump out of a moving taxi on the motorway in the vicinity of Srinakarin Road?
I guess this rule assumes that while the meter may be hot, the distance measurement is warm?

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.

Should we leave our bags behind? Is it OK to "jump out" of a moving taxi?
Best post of the thread.

You forgot to ask- what level of life risk is acceptable to challenge the 50 THB assumed overage?
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Old Feb 16, 2014, 9:32 pm
  #78  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by transpac
Just when I assumed this thread couldn't get any more pedantic or silly, we now have "rules".

1) Take a newer model taxi:

Any advice on identifying acceptable model years for taxis? Is a 2008 model acceptable?

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.

After one has identified that something is wrong, what are the corollaries to the 555 Rule? Jump out of a moving taxi on the motorway in the vicinity of Srinakarin Road?
I guess this rule assumes that while the meter may be hot, the distance measurement is warm?

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.

Should we leave our bags behind? Is it OK to "jump out" of a moving taxi?
Obviously, it is an attempt to explain how to avoid ending up in a taxi where the pax may be subjected to a con of a higher rate, "hot" or "rigged" meter as many term it. Further, how to be aware that something is amiss both at the start of the journey and later on. To assist others avoid situations where they can be ripped off.

A subject of numerous concerns and complaints as evidenced by the number of posts on this thread. It was explained why and how it works. Clearly you already knew that and the issue doesn't concern you. However, that is not the case for many others. People can use the info or ignore it.

I don't really understand why you would feel compelled to deride such information? Criticize or correct the information if it is inaccurate by all means or even better add your own insight for the benefit of others. However, just being cynical for the sake of it, is really a waste of time.

And frankly, you really should have been able to entertain the thread with a much more sarcastic post with funny culturally specific queries than just "it is ok to jump out of a moving taxi". That is way too simplistic and displays a patent lack of creative thought in your post. One would have expected something much more witty from yourself.

Again, follow those simple rules and one will (almost) never encounter a "hot" or "rigged" meter taxi ride.
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Old Feb 16, 2014, 10:07 pm
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Yappofloyd
I don't really understand why you would feel compelled to deride such information? Criticize or correct the information if it is inaccurate by all means or even better add your own insight for the benefit of others. However, just being cynical for the sake of it, is really a waste of time.
Personally, I consider my cynicism to be a source of great personal pride. :-)

One thing that can throw the meter off from the 555 rule is if the driver turns it on while you're still loading your bags, etc. into the taxi. That initial wait time can get calculated in.

Your advice can be summed up fairly simply: Be aware of your surroundings and use your head.

Not so bad after all.
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Old Feb 16, 2014, 11:32 pm
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
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.
If memory serves it's <6 kph. But we were charged the entire time, at all speeds. Quite a sly move by the fox.

Originally Posted by William S
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.
Putting aside the previous snide comment regarding your minimal tip, methinks you did get scammed. At 50 (meter queue) + 75 (tolls) you're paying 325 for the meter which, unless very bad traffic or a terribly far distance, was too much.
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Old Feb 17, 2014, 10:16 pm
  #81  
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Originally Posted by dsquared37
Putting aside the previous snide comment regarding your minimal tip, methinks you did get scammed. At 50 (meter queue) + 75 (tolls) you're paying 325 for the meter which, unless very bad traffic or a terribly far distance, was too much.
Actually I thought his original post was sarcasm. Even in terrible traffic, airport to downtown has never been anywhere near what he quoted.

Possible thought. Some posters have said they have encountered hot meters more than once. I've never had one and I estimate I've taken 3-5,000 taxi rides in Bangkok. But the descriptions of actual hot meter rides all seem to start at the airport, and I never take a taxi at the airport. So I'm wondering if that's the difference.

For those who have had the problem, did you pick up the cab at the airport? Or am I making too many assumption?
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Old Feb 17, 2014, 10:52 pm
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
Actually I thought his original post was sarcasm. Even in terrible traffic, airport to downtown has never been anywhere near what he quoted.

Possible thought. Some posters have said they have encountered hot meters more than once. I've never had one and I estimate I've taken 3-5,000 taxi rides in Bangkok. But the descriptions of actual hot meter rides all seem to start at the airport, and I never take a taxi at the airport. So I'm wondering if that's the difference.

For those who have had the problem, did you pick up the cab at the airport? Or am I making too many assumption?
It's possible I missed the sarcasm; I'll have my detector rechecked.

In many many taxi rides to Puthummonthon and other far northwest reaches of Bangkok I've never noticed a rigged meter... and otherwise quick hops around town might be barely noticeable.

All of my incidents have been on trips beginning at the airport IIRC and this makes sense. Where else is there an almost guaranteed 25+km trip going to emanate from?
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Old Feb 18, 2014, 12:05 am
  #83  
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As a new part of the "Taxi Thread".

Over the weekend I had family from up north visit. My niece wanted to see "Safari World". My wife worked a deal with the taxi driver on Langsuan near Lumpini. This is one of the "van" taxis, larger ones that seat many people as there were 5 of us. He took us there, waited there serveral hours for us (as we moved from Safari to Marine walked us through the necessary directions, etc.) took us home in the evening. 1,500 THB That was a negotiated fare. But if we had taken 2 regular taxis and then had to wait and flag down 2 more to get home it might have been just as much. The guy didn't make me give him a deposit or pay in advance. Waited at the park for us and only paid in the evening on our return.
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Old Feb 18, 2014, 5:48 pm
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
But the descriptions of actual hot meter rides all seem to start at the airport, and I never take a taxi at the airport. So I'm wondering if that's the difference.

For those who have had the problem, did you pick up the cab at the airport? Or am I making too many assumption?
Originally Posted by dsquared37
All of my incidents have been on trips beginning at the airport IIRC and this makes sense. Where else is there an almost guaranteed 25+km trip going to emanate from?
My most recent hot meter incident (which I reported on FT) started at T21. Meter read 497 on arrival at DMK with nearly no traffic. I agree with DS, -- airport runs are perfect for hot metered taxis.
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Old Feb 23, 2014, 11:34 pm
  #85  
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Leaving my hotel on Sukhumvit last week, I got the doormen to call me a taxi, agreed to the meter, jumped in and was off...

A hundred meters down the soi, he starts bargaining for 450THB. I told him to take me back to the hotel. "OK, OK, meter," he says and I agree. Not even another 50 meters and he's spewing some of this fixed price stuff again, so I made him turn around and send me back to the hotel.

Hotel staff was happy to call another cab. Again, agreed on the meter. We were barely out of the parking lot when he demands 500THB. It was an easy U-turn right back to the hotel entrance to try another cab.

This one, turned on the meter, and drove the other way (Asoke bypass) to avoid the first tollway. Because of the protest detours and the normal Rama IX traffic, the meter was 89THB when we reached the motorway entrance.

199 on the meter at BKK, plus 25THB for the one toll. I gave him 300THB. We were both happy. (total 325THB)

I'm a bit tired of these taxi games. But, if you have extra time, it's worth switching cabs.
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Old Feb 24, 2014, 4:09 am
  #86  
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Originally Posted by seanthepilot
199 on the meter at BKK
My latest is BHT255 from BKK which I suspected the meter has been tempered but too tired to dispute, however the return journey the following day is also BHT250. Both in clear traffic using highway.

Looks like the percentage of taxis with "hot" meter is on the rise, or is it me who is just plain unlucky getting 2 in a row
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Old Feb 24, 2014, 8:46 am
  #87  
 
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2 of us will be arriving Suvarnabhumi around 6:30/7pm on a Sunday heading to the JW Marriott for our first Thailand visit. We'll have a large suitcase each, but can carry them fine.

With traffic and train schedules around that time, would you recommend taking the skytrain or taxi? Normally I would just take the train, but it looks like it would require 2 transfers. Any alternatives which require a short walk?

Thanks!

Last edited by doctor15; Feb 24, 2014 at 8:55 am
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Old Feb 24, 2014, 9:15 am
  #88  
 
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Originally Posted by doctor15
2 of us will be arriving Suvarnabhumi around 6:30/7pm on a Sunday heading to the JW Marriott for our first Thailand visit. We'll have a large suitcase each, but can carry them fine.

With traffic and train schedules around that time, would you recommend taking the skytrain or taxi? Normally I would just take the train, but it looks like it would require 2 transfers. Any alternatives which require a short walk?
Thanks!
It is not the skytrain as the BTS is known but the ARL, Airport Rail Link run by the SRTET. http://srtet.co.th/en/index.html

To answer your query, given that there are 2 of you with a large suitcase each and your destination just take a taxi. At that time on a Sunday it should take all of 20 mins max. Not worth the hassle and time of taking 2 or 3 diff metros.
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Old Feb 24, 2014, 9:24 am
  #89  
 
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Originally Posted by mario33
My latest is BHT255 from BKK which I suspected the meter has been tempered but too tired to dispute, however the return journey the following day is also BHT250. Both in clear traffic using highway.

Looks like the percentage of taxis with "hot" meter is on the rise, or is it me who is just plain unlucky getting 2 in a row
What was your starting point? Did you use the 555 guide to check?
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Old Feb 24, 2014, 12:25 pm
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by Yappofloyd
It is not the skytrain as the BTS is known but the ARL, Airport Rail Link run by the SRTET. http://srtet.co.th/en/index.html

To answer your query, given that there are 2 of you with a large suitcase each and your destination just take a taxi. At that time on a Sunday it should take all of 20 mins max. Not worth the hassle and time of taking 2 or 3 diff metros.
Whoops... thanks for the clarification on train systems! Will most cabs be able to accommodate 2 suitcases + 2 people?
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