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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.


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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Dec 16, 2017, 8:15 am
  #1006  
 
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Originally Posted by CJKatl
It will be interesting to see how UberTaxi works. Ordinarily, in any other country and presently with Uber in Thailand, you see the fare on the app and that's what is charged at the end of the ride. It seems with UberTaxi, you see a possible fare, but are charged whatever at the end of the ride. What's the process is the amounts are widely different? It seems like this is a way to corral victims rather than any real solution to horrible cheating cab drivers.
THIS. When I read about this new service my initial reaction was "why is this good for someone paying for transportation"? Answer - it isn't. This is almost the antithesis to the reason that Uber was founded in the first place and looks on the surface to be just a way for Uber to appease the government so that they can continue to skim profits in Thailand.
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Old Dec 16, 2017, 5:49 pm
  #1007  
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It will be interesting to see how UberTaxi works.

My guess, and it's just that, is that HOWA is simply enhancing their existing call center telephone dispatch service (+20 THB) by partnering with Uber. The service is similar to GrabTaxi, and it is impossible to exactly determine the taxi meter fare for a journey based on the variables (traffic, time of day, routing), hence a range is offered. You pay the meter plus some sort of fixed fee (hopefully less than 50 baht).This is what GrabTaxi does.

My sense is that if the service doesn't offer any sort of value customers will likely avoid it.

I guess I'll reserve judgment until the service actually rolls out and there is some consumer feedback.

GrabCar and Uber are different sorts of services and utilize private vehicles. I think pricing is easier for them, they probably apply some fixed price per Km, then jigger that upwards based on current supply/demand?
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Old Dec 17, 2017, 1:46 pm
  #1008  
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I agree with transpac - this just seems to be a GrabTaxi clone. It's useful if you're at a location where there isn't a lot of taxis passing by, and you can't speak Thai well enough to talk to dispatch/driver. With the app, you can call for a taxi and the driver knows the destination - sufficiently valuable for me to pay the fee.

The drawback is that relatively few taxi drivers are on GrabTaxi, but it does still provide value.
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Old Jan 20, 2018, 6:04 pm
  #1009  
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is it possible to grab a taxi on the Departures Level rather then the Arrivals?
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Old Jan 20, 2018, 6:40 pm
  #1010  
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Originally Posted by craz
is it possible to grab a taxi on the Departures Level rather then the Arrivals?
I believe it would be possible, although the airport may not be too happy about it.

However, there's no guarantee that you won't also get a dodgy taxi driver from up there, and, there's no protection offered by the automated taxi receipt you get from the arrivals level.
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Old Jan 20, 2018, 7:48 pm
  #1011  
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF
I believe it would be possible, although the airport may not be too happy about it.

However, there's no guarantee that you won't also get a dodgy taxi driver from up there, and, there's no protection offered by the automated taxi receipt you get from the arrivals level.
True but besides saving the 50 bhat I thought I might beable to get a cheaper flat rate, thinking they wont hav eto go onto any line and wait,of cause if they ask for more then Arrivals I go
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Old Jan 20, 2018, 10:33 pm
  #1012  
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Originally Posted by craz
is it possible to grab a taxi on the Departures Level rather then the Arrivals?
Yes, this practice was in full swing during my departure, and arrival all in the past week. If going to my home near the airport I use this method, as much to save time, and avoid dealing with an unhappy cabbie downstairs, rather than saving the 50 baht. Saw a dozen or so cabs waiting, no authorities. The one-direction revolving gate may represent some challenges with larger bags?
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Old Jan 20, 2018, 10:39 pm
  #1013  
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Originally Posted by transpac
Yes, this practice was in full swing during my departure, and arrival all in the past week. If going to my home near the airport I use this method, as much to save time, and avoid dealing with an unhappy cabbie downstairs, rather than saving the 50 baht. Saw a dozen or so cabs waiting, no authorities. The one-direction revolving gate may represent some challenges with larger bags?
Is there anyway to go from the Arrivals level outside up to the Departures Level, most airports have escalators or elevators, will be traveling with a wheeled garmet bag, so getting thru a 1 direction gate might not be so easy
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Old Jan 20, 2018, 11:25 pm
  #1014  
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Originally Posted by craz
Is there anyway to go from the Arrivals level outside up to the Departures Level, most airports have escalators or elevators, will be traveling with a wheeled garmet bag, so getting thru a 1 direction gate might not be so easy
If the one directional gate is even working. They were pretty annoying, and the last few times I was there they had been disabled (the ones by TG's premium check-in at least).
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Old Jan 21, 2018, 5:56 pm
  #1015  
 
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Originally Posted by craz
Is there anyway to go from the Arrivals level outside up to the Departures Level, most airports have escalators or elevators, will be traveling with a wheeled garmet bag, so getting thru a 1 direction gate might not be so easy
Yes, you can go up either escalators or an elevator from Arrivals to Departures (inside the terminal). There are "one way gates" outside but they are relatively easy to circumvent since there is room to squeeze between the gate and it's siderail when moving the gate. (Also, the gate is not even waist high so if you can lift your bag to your waist you can lift it over the gate.)

The idea is not to get a cheaper flat rate - it's to avoid the flat rate "game". They guys at Departures are usually happy enough to have a passenger on the return trip to Bangkok that when you tell them you want to use the meter they're willing to do so. And, yes, you also should not pay the 50 thb airport fee when catching a taxi from Departures.

Edit: (FWIW, the last time I took a taxi from Departures - two weeks ago - the guy tried to negotiate a 400 thb flat rate, which is the same as what the guys two floors down try to get. I said no and we used the meter.)

Last edited by Diplomatico; Jan 21, 2018 at 6:07 pm Reason: Clarification
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Old Jan 21, 2018, 6:02 pm
  #1016  
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Originally Posted by craz
Is there anyway to go from the Arrivals level outside up to the Departures Level, most airports have escalators or elevators, will be traveling with a wheeled garmet bag, so getting thru a 1 direction gate might not be so easy

No, at least not to the outside lanes where the taxis are. Obviously one can move up to the Departure level (4) (from the Arrivals level{2}) within the main passenger terminal building, via elevators/escalators/moving walkways.

You can probably hoist your bag over the barricade, or try to wedge it through the initial opening?

I think most locals go up to level 4 to save TIME?
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Old Jan 21, 2018, 6:08 pm
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Originally Posted by transpac
I think most locals go up to level 4 to save TIME?
Pretty much.
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Old Jan 21, 2018, 7:10 pm
  #1018  
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Originally Posted by Diplomatico
Yes, you can go up either escalators or an elevator from Arrivals to Departures (inside the terminal). There are "one way gates" outside but they are relatively easy to circumvent since there is room to squeeze between the gate and it's siderail when moving the gate. (Also, the gate is not even waist high so if you can lift your bag to your waist you can lift it over the gate.)

The idea is not to get a cheaper flat rate - it's to avoid the flat rate "game". They guys at Departures are usually happy enough to have a passenger on the return trip to Bangkok that when you tell them you want to use the meter they're willing to do so. And, yes, you also should not pay the 50 thb airport fee when catching a taxi from Departures.

Edit: (FWIW, the last time I took a taxi from Departures - two weeks ago - the guy tried to negotiate a 400 thb flat rate, which is the same as what the guys two floors down try to get. I said no and we used the meter.)
thx, but when you say its avoid the flat rate game, wouldnt they be willing to take someone for less then the meter rather then wait around till they get someone? But meter it will be

transpac thx to you as well
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Old Jan 22, 2018, 6:16 am
  #1019  
 
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Originally Posted by craz
thx, but when you say its avoid the flat rate game, wouldnt they be willing to take someone for less then the meter rather then wait around till they get someone? But meter it will be

transpac thx to you as well
The flat rate will be higher than the meter rate 99.9% of the time.

And if you are going to catch a taxi from the Departures level, those guys have about 60 seconds to wait around after they drop off their fare for you to come out and hail them before the traffic guys tell them to move on. So there's no "waiting around until they get someone".

If you're the type of person that is more comfortable knowing what the rate will be in advance (and from your posts here....) then by all means offer 400 thb and tell him him you want to take the toll road and the flat rate includes tolls. Really, we're talking about a $1.50 - 2.50 US difference here. If traffic is really bad it may even be close to a "wash", as they say.

On balance, though, you're really overthinking a simple $10-12 taxi ride, in my disinterested third party opinion.

Last edited by Diplomatico; Jan 22, 2018 at 7:22 am
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Old Jan 22, 2018, 10:21 am
  #1020  
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Originally Posted by Diplomatico
The flat rate will be higher than the meter rate 99.9% of the time.

And if you are going to catch a taxi from the Departures level, those guys have about 60 seconds to wait around after they drop off their fare for you to come out and hail them before the traffic guys tell them to move on. So there's no "waiting around until they get someone".

If you're the type of person that is more comfortable knowing what the rate will be in advance (and from your posts here....) then by all means offer 400 thb and tell him him you want to take the toll road and the flat rate includes tolls. Really, we're talking about a $1.50 - 2.50 US difference here. If traffic is really bad it may even be close to a "wash", as they say.

On balance, though, you're really overthinking a simple $10-12 taxi ride, in my disinterested third party opinion.
I'll let you know how it went when I get in on Weds. its all apart of the(my) game. I usually would have gone with the train, in HKG I take the A21 to Kowloon drops me off opposite the hotel and picks me up in front of it back to the airport. Never cabbed it or train Expressed it. I only cab it when thats the only option. NRT its the limo bus,SIN its the train, Europe its usually bus or train(subway) or the train that isnt non-stop so its alot cheaper for an extra 15-20 mins.

In BKK once I was told about long staircases and greater distance to the hotel from the station and the roads arent rollerboard friendly, cab it was, if I was flying with only carry-on then I might have tried the train 1 way and depending how it went either train it back or cabbed it back when leaving, now it will be cabs both ways.

btw since I will be staying at 4 different hotels it will cabs getting between them as well, thx to IHGs Accelerate Promo and a DSU with Hyatt
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