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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.


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 5, 2014, 8:32 pm
  #121  
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Originally Posted by whackyjacky
If the cabbie won't flip the meter, don't get in. Don't take taxis that hang around the hotels, they're going to over-charge you. At the hotel tell your doorman that you want taxi-meter. If the driver wants a flat rate, get out and complain to the doorman and/or the front desk. It's always best to grab on one the move. Guys that are parked are lazy and usually won't use the meter. No tollway (which means no traffic) to/from say Asoke is 200 or less. I've gotten there for as low as 170. To/from Lumpini will be a little more and from the River will be a little more than that. Tchiowa is correct though. 300 should do it from anywhere.
I strongly caution tourists from being obnoxious with Thai cab drivers. Is a 5 dollar saving worth getting into an argument, dropped off in the middle of nowhere or worse, being confronted by a bunch of taxi colleagues?

I also don't mind paying 500 baht for friendly and prompt service. Sure you can negotiate and say no. But pushing it too far can have in intended health consequences.
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Old Mar 5, 2014, 8:55 pm
  #122  
 
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Getting out or not getting in a cab that won't flip the meter is A LOT different than getting in a heated argument w/the driver. We saw the consequences of that a few months back. In SE Asia you should not let your temper get the best of you ever ! It's bad form, a loss of face, and counterproductive. Raising your voice to someone usually just shorts them out. IMO, it's people that willingly overpay, rewarding bad behavior, that is causing the escalation of prices recently. If the 1st guy won't use the meter, the next guy will.
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Old Mar 5, 2014, 10:03 pm
  #123  
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Originally Posted by Allvest
if you don't want to drive on the tollway you might find a taxi for 300 baht. most taxis use a fixed rate to the airport of 500 baht.

anyway, it's dirt cheap, even at limo prices.
Fixed rates are illegal. Don't accept that.
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Old Mar 5, 2014, 10:05 pm
  #124  
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Originally Posted by whackyjacky
If the cabbie won't flip the meter, don't get in. Don't take taxis that hang around the hotels, they're going to over-charge you. At the hotel tell your doorman that you want taxi-meter. If the driver wants a flat rate, get out and complain to the doorman and/or the front desk. It's always best to grab on one the move. Guys that are parked are lazy and usually won't use the meter. No tollway (which means no traffic) to/from say Asoke is 200 or less. I've gotten there for as low as 170. To/from Lumpini will be a little more and from the River will be a little more than that. Tchiowa is correct though. 300 should do it from anywhere.
And Whackyjacky is correct about taxis hanging out around hotels. They are not collecting fares while they sit there. They are waiting for a victim to overcharge.
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Old Mar 5, 2014, 10:07 pm
  #125  
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Originally Posted by Allvest
I strongly caution tourists from being obnoxious with Thai cab drivers. Is a 5 dollar saving worth getting into an argument, dropped off in the middle of nowhere or worse, being confronted by a bunch of taxi colleagues?

I also don't mind paying 500 baht for friendly and prompt service. Sure you can negotiate and say no. But pushing it too far can have in intended health consequences.
There was an ex-pat who worked for Caterpillar killed in a dispute with a taxi driver just a few months ago. So, you're right, don't get in an argument with the driver. Just don't take the taxi if he won't use the meter. 98% will use the meter.

Like you, I'm willing to pay a few bucks more for friendly and prompt service. The hotel will usually get you a hotel car to the airport for under 1,000. That's what I do.
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Old Mar 5, 2014, 10:12 pm
  #126  
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Originally Posted by Allvest
if you don't want to drive on the tollway you might find a taxi for 300 baht. most taxis use a fixed rate to the airport of 500 baht.

anyway, it's dirt cheap, even at limo prices.
Why would you pay anything over the meter toll plus tolls? No wonder taxi drivers always try to rip you off.
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Old Mar 5, 2014, 11:37 pm
  #127  
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Originally Posted by Allvest
if you don't want to drive on the tollway you might find a taxi for 300 baht. most taxis use a fixed rate to the airport of 500 baht.

anyway, it's dirt cheap, even at limo prices.
That's one of the most absurd declarations I've seen in awhile. In hundreds of taxi rides to/from the airport I've never paid a fixed rate outside of Toyota Innova rides and then only to the airport. Only occasionally will a driver even attempt to get a set fare.

Originally Posted by Allvest
I strongly caution tourists from being obnoxious with Thai cab drivers. Is a 5 dollar saving worth getting into an argument, dropped off in the middle of nowhere or worse, being confronted by a bunch of taxi colleagues?
Agreed, that's why you deal with this at the hotel or at the airport and never mid-drive.

Originally Posted by Allvest
I also don't mind paying 500 baht for friendly and prompt service. Sure you can negotiate and say no. But pushing it too far can have in intended health consequences.
So extortion based upon an infinitesimal possibility is all it takes? Why do you even bother leaving the house day in and day out?
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 4:48 am
  #128  
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero
I'd disagree. Finding taxis that will use their meter can be a big hassle, especially at busy times, raining, etc.
I take taxis to and from the office and to and from shopping. Probably and average of 25-30 taxi rides a week. Maybe once a month I get a taxi who refuses to turn on the meter. So that's 1%. During busy times they simply refuse the fare if they don't want to go someplace
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 4:51 am
  #129  
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero
Why would you pay anything over the meter toll plus tolls? No wonder taxi drivers always try to rip you off.
I find that if you get into a cab and instead of saying "take me to Siam Paragon" (for example) you say "Bai Siam Paragon" just the fact that you used one Thai word seems to make the think you're not a newbie so they don't try to play as many games with you.

If they start to pull out and don't hit the meter, just say "meter" and point. 99 times out of 100 that ends the discussion.
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 7:04 am
  #130  
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa
I find that if you get into a cab and instead of saying "take me to Siam Paragon" (for example) you say "Bai Siam Paragon" just the fact that you used one Thai word seems to make the think you're not a newbie so they don't try to play as many games with you.
^
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 8:55 am
  #131  
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Originally Posted by dsquared37
That's one of the most absurd declarations I've seen in awhile. In hundreds of taxi rides to/from the airport I've never paid a fixed rate outside of Toyota Innova rides and then only to the airport. Only occasionally will a driver even attempt to get a set fare.



Agreed, that's why you deal with this at the hotel or at the airport and never mid-drive.



So extortion based upon an infinitesimal possibility is all it takes? Why do you even bother leaving the house day in and day out?
The fixed rate TO the airport is clearly marked inside the authorized taxis. FROM airport it's meter plus tolls plus airport surcharge.

I hope those of you all reading some of the "damned-be-taxi" advice here will consider to be polite, respectful, and know when to stop arguing with Thais about the fare ,or indeed any issue.

Don't be hyped up by armchair know-it alls into getting aggressive with the locals. If you ever disturbed a bees nest you will know what happens when a bunch of them get angry.

Thais are very proud, and for good reason. They are also stubborn and once they had enough the smile will turn into more than just a frown.
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 1:12 pm
  #132  
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<snip>

Also, for getting back to BKK for my 11pm departure (TG F), how early should I head back from the city? And what are the chances of taxi drivers understanding me if I tell them I want to go to the airport, or if I want to go to the train station with the train that takes me to the airport?

Last edited by aBroadAbroad; Mar 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm Reason: Redirected from a different thread
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 2:12 pm
  #133  
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Originally Posted by agp423
Also, for getting back to BKK for my 11pm departure (TG F), how early should I head back from the city? And what are the chances of taxi drivers understanding me if I tell them I want to go to the airport, or if I want to go to the train station with the train that takes me to the airport?
Never had a problem with taxi drivers understanding either in tourist areas. Remember the rule, only hail a moving taxi, don't take a parked one, they try not to use the meter.

Also, IIRC, with TG F, you get F lounge access and a massage if you like (the legit kind).
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 5:47 pm
  #134  
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Originally Posted by Allvest
The fixed rate TO the airport is clearly marked inside the authorized taxis. FROM airport it's meter plus tolls plus airport surcharge.
Lots of taxi have a fixed rate display dangling from the the passenger headrest; this doesn't mean they are authorized to charge it!!

And considering the price of Innova's is different from different hotels I'm more inclined to think the drivers view their set rates as a take it or leave proposition with no authority to legally refuse the meter.

Originally Posted by Allvest
I hope those of you all reading some of the "damned-be-taxi" advice here will consider to be polite, respectful, and know when to stop arguing with Thais about the fare ,or indeed any issue.

Don't be hyped up by armchair know-it alls into getting aggressive with the locals. If you ever disturbed a bees nest you will know what happens when a bunch of them get angry.

Thais are very proud, and for good reason. They are also stubborn and once they had enough the smile will turn into more than just a frown.
Please tell me where anyone says to get aggressive with a driver? One instance? Will ya?

It's pretty simple you do not argue with a driver en-route, that's been pointed out many an occasion by many people.

At the hotel the staff will get involved for you and the option of bringing the police in to moderate a rigged meter is what the driver direly doesn't want. If you want to pay more then you're either too cowed or too much of a sucker.

Where you're getting the rest of this nonsense is beyond me.
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Old Mar 6, 2014, 6:48 pm
  #135  
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Originally Posted by dsquared37
Lots of taxi have a fixed rate display dangling from the the passenger headrest; this doesn't mean they are authorized to charge it!!

And considering the price of Innova's is different from different hotels I'm more inclined to think the drivers view their set rates as a take it or leave proposition with no authority to legally refuse the meter.



Please tell me where anyone says to get aggressive with a driver? One instance? Will ya?

It's pretty simple you do not argue with a driver en-route, that's been pointed out many an occasion by many people.

At the hotel the staff will get involved for you and the option of bringing the police in to moderate a rigged meter is what the driver direly doesn't want. If you want to pay more then you're either too cowed or too much of a sucker.

Where you're getting the rest of this nonsense is beyond me.
Hotel staff doesn't argue with drivers. Most good hotels have prequalified taxis at their stand. And police showing up? Are you talking about Thailand or a parallel universe?

I have lived and worked in Bangkok for nearly ten years. Anyone who reads this can take it or leave it, but insisting on laws, regulations and that sort of thing in Thailand is laughable.
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