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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
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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.



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Catching a taxi at BKK and general Thailand taxi discussion

Old Jan 28, 2018, 10:34 pm
  #1066  
 
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Originally Posted by craz
I think till they change the law that a driver cant refuse using the meter theres not much to report. Theres nothing wrong with a driver trying to get a person to pay a rip off flat rate, but once the rider declines and says 'meter' then a driver shouldnt beable to decline the ride and if they do there should be some easy ID for that cab so it can be reported, till thats done Id expect for the cabs I hail to drive away empty
There already is a law in Thailand requiring the taxi driver turn on the meter. I just checked and found many sites online confirming this, and I think it's on the paper you get at the airport when you take a cab from the stand, which is another good reason a first timer should use the taxi stand. Drivers refusing to use the meter should be reported. Did a driver tell you he didn't have to turn on the meter?

And you seem to not understand how GrabTaxi works. The app sends a cab to where you are, as opposed to your flagging a cab down. Regular cabs participate. It's not like Uber where it is a separate system. Flagging down a taxi that participates in Grab is no different than flagging down any other cab. They are the same cabs. You might be flagging down a different cab company's car, but that has nothing to do with the cab participating in Grab. You could not flag down an Uber. Uber is a company with its own system of cars and drivers that are not usually cabs. (They can be in some countries.) With Grab, you are using an app to call a cab, but it will be a licensed cab driven by a cab driver as opposed to a car or driver affiliated with Grab.
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Old Jan 28, 2018, 10:46 pm
  #1067  
 
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As is the case with many laws here - they may or may not have any enforcement in reality. If you really care you should report the drivers you think "cheated" you as that is the only hope for things to change. I hate the whole system, but in the end the taxi's are pretty cheap and the Thai's are affected as well as foreigners.
Outside of Bangkok it is a lot worse in some areas where there are real taxi mafias - with no options to use different transport (mts, brt, buses, etc), but no place is perfect and it's your choice whether you go to those places or in Bangkok choose alternate transport (eg I take local buses a lot b/c I'm not time pressed and I don't want to hassle with taxi's when I don't have to -but most foreigners don't).
Anyway - I think the point has been made at this point so maybe it's time to move on?
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 1:56 am
  #1068  
 
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A bit OT but grabbed an Uber from BKK to lower Sukhumvit today for 333.16 THB, all in, including one 50 THB toll charge. Straight to the credit card, no worries, nice Toyota vehicle. (The price was of the "upfront price" variety, which is Uber's way of saying fixed price.)
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 2:36 am
  #1069  
 
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Originally Posted by Diplomatico
A bit OT but grabbed an Uber from BKK to lower Sukhumvit today for 333.16 THB, all in, including one 50 THB toll charge. Straight to the credit card, no worries, nice Toyota vehicle. (The price was of the "upfront price" variety, which is Uber's way of saying fixed price.)
Where is the pickup point at BKK?
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 2:45 am
  #1070  
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Originally Posted by Powers106


Where is the pickup point at BKK?
Arrival floor, whichever door you set the pickup to be. Outside lane.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 8:39 am
  #1071  
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Originally Posted by Diplomatico
A bit OT but grabbed an Uber from BKK to lower Sukhumvit today for 333.16 THB, all in, including one 50 THB toll charge. Straight to the credit card, no worries, nice Toyota vehicle. (The price was of the "upfront price" variety, which is Uber's way of saying fixed price.)
Assume you mean UberX, right? I typically take Uber Black from BKK and I think it is a flat rate of THB 1K.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 9:06 am
  #1072  
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Originally Posted by CJKatl
There already is a law in Thailand requiring the taxi driver turn on the meter. I just checked and found many sites online confirming this, and I think it's on the paper you get at the airport when you take a cab from the stand, which is another good reason a first timer should use the taxi stand. Drivers refusing to use the meter should be reported. Did a driver tell you he didn't have to turn on the meter?

And you seem to not understand how GrabTaxi works. The app sends a cab to where you are, as opposed to your flagging a cab down. Regular cabs participate. It's not like Uber where it is a separate system. Flagging down a taxi that participates in Grab is no different than flagging down any other cab. They are the same cabs. You might be flagging down a different cab company's car, but that has nothing to do with the cab participating in Grab. You could not flag down an Uber. Uber is a company with its own system of cars and drivers that are not usually cabs. (They can be in some countries.) With Grab, you are using an app to call a cab, but it will be a licensed cab driven by a cab driver as opposed to a car or driver affiliated with Grab.
Ok let me try this 1 last time
1- at BKK went out the departure level and walked out the door of the term and saw I had to cross the road to where the cabs pull up to let out its passemger. A driver saw me crossing the street got out of his cab waved me over and lifted my bag over the barrier and put it in his trunk. I along with my rollerboard carry-on went thru the 1 way turning gate. I asked him how much he said 500 , I countered 300 he laughed at my price as being nuts , I countered no nuttier then yours, said use the meter nd he said OK. he never said no to using the meter

2- cabs in town day 2 going from hotel #1 to hotel #2 , there was acab sitting in front of the hotel Holiday Inn Silom, I showed him where I was going Bangkok Hospital he said 300 thb i said use the meter he waved me off and I walked donw the ramp to Silom Rd and hailed a cab, he said 200 thb I said meter and he turned it on it was 70 something thb

3- cab from Hex near Bangkok Hospital to hotel #3 Holiday Inn Shukumvit hailed on the street he said 200 i said meter he said get in and turns on the meter

4- cab from HI Shukumvit to Park Hyatt he said 200 thb I said meter he says OK get in, he turned on the meter as I was loading my bags into the car, I get in and the meter already was at 37 go around the hotel to exit and meter was 39.1st time a cabs meter was clicking away before we went the 1st km. when I got out I noticed it said grab on the window with a long green strip after the name

5- later that day near the National Stadium i stopped over a dz cabs showing on Mp where I wante dto go every one said 200 or 300 thb and when I said meter they all said 'No' and drove off. Finally a cab stopped that had grab written on the side window and he said where was I going i showed him and said meter he said get in. and once again the meter started clicking away immediately before we drove the 1st km.

The other cabs didnt start clicking away before we went 1 km. the last 2 that had grab on its side windows started clicking away from the get go. I assumed (maybe wrongly) that if you hail a cab that has grab written on its side windows then dont expect to get the 1st km for 35 thb since it will start clicking away from the get go

I never ordered a grab cab via any app, nor do I have any problems with them with the lone exception that it seems those cabs with grab written on them if hailed will have its meter click away adding 2 thb from the get go and not after having been driven 1 km like the non grab cabs

Both grab cabs I hailed had a very slim meter unlike the reg cabs I hailed and they didnt have any plastic ties on them like the non grab cabs. 1 even had the meter in the dash like a CD player

havent used any cabs after grab 2 was used yesterday, been walking 5 hrs a day and using BTS and MRT

now if any of the meters were so called fast meters or if I was taken on a longer path to get to my destination in order to increase the amount I will have to pay, I admit i have no idea, Id need to be here and use cabs alot more to properly answer that question
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 11:39 am
  #1073  
 
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Originally Posted by craz
The other cabs didnt start clicking away before we went 1 km. the last 2 that had grab on its side windows started clicking away from the get go. I assumed (maybe wrongly) that if you hail a cab that has grab written on its side windows then dont expect to get the 1st km for 35 thb since it will start clicking away from the get go
That's what we are trying to tell you. Even assuming everything that happened is 100% accurately being conveyed, the fast clicking has nothing to do with GrabTaxi being displayed on the side of the taxi. Let me try it this way: that's like blaming the post office for the mail you receive. The post office has no link to your mail's content, just delivering envelopes to your door. GrabTaxi only deals with your ordering a taxi via the app. Once you get in the taxi, or if you wave over the taxi, it is exactly like getting into any other taxi. GrabTaxi has nothing to do with the licensing of the car or driver, the meter or the route taken. This is very different from Uber which does not use cabs (usually), they use private cars, and are responsible for the car, the driver, the payment, etc, which are each Uber contractors.

Those two cabs may have clicked away faster, but your issue should be with those drivers: not Grab.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 11:44 am
  #1074  
 
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Originally Posted by yosithezet
Assume you mean UberX, right? I typically take Uber Black from BKK and I think it is a flat rate of THB 1K.
While I am not questioning your choice of Uber Black, I will point out Uber X has been phenomenal when I've used them in Bangkok. The cars are new, meticulously clean and driven by great people. I've actually ridden in several newish Mazda 323s (or whatever those are called in Thailand) and a couple Hondas. Small, but very clean and professional.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 12:58 pm
  #1075  
 
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I find this whole meter/no meter discussion bemusing. I would have made over 100 business trips to Bangkok (always used the hotel car for transfers), and have used taxis all over town. Then we bought a property in the north of the city and spend a fair chunk of time there each year. I cannot recall ever having a driver not use the meter or even raise the issue. Am I just incredibly lucky?
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 1:10 pm
  #1076  
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Over the past decades, I have probably made 300+ trips in cabs in Bangkok/airport and I'd say my rate of no-meter/rigged-meter is about 3% or so.

I'd have to guess some people just look/act more like potential marks for drivers.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 1:19 pm
  #1077  
 
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Originally Posted by Eltham
I find this whole meter/no meter discussion bemusing. I would have made over 100 business trips to Bangkok (always used the hotel car for transfers), and have used taxis all over town. Then we bought a property in the north of the city and spend a fair chunk of time there each year. I cannot recall ever having a driver not use the meter or even raise the issue. Am I just incredibly lucky?
wow...i would say yes. I've been the BKK 25+ times. It's generally ok from BKK, but to the airport, esp early flight (which the ones to US tend to be) - they almost always want flat rate.
Including the ones that come into a 4/5* hotel (JW, GH, InterCon...) the they "agree" with the bell boy to use the meter - then you drive out and say "you give me 500"

And the worst is from popular night spots - the taxi that picked us up at CoMo Metropolitan, and we asked for 2 stops (GH 1st, then JW)...at ~10 pm. Traffic was not bad - no way the meter would have gone past 100-120. And he "demanded" 250. We got it for 200...its just a huge PITA to say "stop, let me out" - over $2-3...oh well
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 1:39 pm
  #1078  
 
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Originally Posted by rwm818
wow...i would say yes. I've been the BKK 25+ times. It's generally ok from BKK, but to the airport, esp early flight (which the ones to US tend to be) - they almost always want flat rate.
Including the ones that come into a 4/5* hotel (JW, GH, InterCon...) the they "agree" with the bell boy to use the meter - then you drive out and say "you give me 500"

And the worst is from popular night spots - the taxi that picked us up at CoMo Metropolitan, and we asked for 2 stops (GH 1st, then JW)...at ~10 pm. Traffic was not bad - no way the meter would have gone past 100-120. And he "demanded" 250. We got it for 200...its just a huge PITA to say "stop, let me out" - over $2-3...oh well
I never use a taxi to/from BKK - I have no problem paying for a limo. In town, as I said, never happened. Maybe it is the “look”.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 5:02 pm
  #1079  
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Originally Posted by craz

4- cab from HI Shukumvit to Park Hyatt he said 200 thb I said meter he says OK get in, he turned on the meter as I was loading my bags into the car, I get in and the meter already was at 37 go around the hotel to exit and meter was 39.1st time a cabs meter was clicking away before we went the 1st km. when I got out I noticed it said grab on the window with a long green strip after the name

5- later that day near the National Stadium i stopped over a dz cabs showing on Mp where I wante dto go every one said 200 or 300 thb and when I said meter they all said 'No' and drove off. Finally a cab stopped that had grab written on the side window and he said where was I going i showed him and said meter he said get in. and once again the meter started clicking away immediately before we drove the 1st km.
Grab has nothing to do with this as you've been told over and over again; there is no cause/effect at play here.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by yosithezet
Assume you mean UberX, right? I typically take Uber Black from BKK and I think it is a flat rate of THB 1K.
I used what Uber is calling the "UberFlash" option in Bangkok....it sends whatever Uber will be quickest to pick you up. Sometimes it's an UberX, sometimes it's Uber Black. In this case, it was a Toyota Vios sedan, new, clean, leather seats. (So you actually have three options when choosing your Uber now - Flash, X, and Black.)
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