Besides the BTS and MRT, the easiest and most convenient way to get around Bangkok is by taxi. Most taxis are new, spacious and, in addition to the traditional green-yellow and red-blue, they also come in funky colours like bright orange, red and even pink. Finding a taxi is not a hassle, especially around hotels, shopping malls and other tourist attractions.
However, you're in for a really long wait when it rains, and during rush hours. The fare starts at 35 baht, and stays there for the first two kilometres. Thereafter, the fare gradually works its way up with 2 baht at a time (roughly per kilometre). A surcharge applies in traffic jams (1.25 baht per metre when moving under 6 km per hour). Typical taxi fares for going a few kilometres are around 50 baht. Communication can be a problem with the majority of Bangkok's taxi drivers as they often speak little English. Improvise, and be imaginative.
Overall, there's never a shortage of taxis in a city that never sleeps, excepts when it starts raining of course. They're cheap and available virtually 24 hours a day. Meter taxis now predominate, but sometimes you may have to politely (but firmly) ask them to switch the meter on to save negotiating later. Since taxis are cheap and the drivers work all hours in traffic that is legendary, a small tip is often appreciated.
Interested in this tour? Book it here.
10 Useful Tips For Bangkok Taxis
- Taxi Colour Codes?
Bangkok taxis are famous to be very colourful, especially the pink ones: This means nothing to us, those are just different companies and fares and features are the same.
- How to Spot Available Taxis
Available taxis are the ones with the glowing red vacant sign.
- Fair Fares
No need to negotiate the fare as all taxis in Bangkok are now metered (well, sort of anyway). A driver refusing to use a meter is an indication of a suspicious agenda. If he insists on giving you a fixed fare, instead of using the meter, it's best to find another cab. Taxis standing by in front of hotels are usually suspicious.
- Unwilling Drivers
Don't be surprised if the driver refuses to take you where you wish to go. While there's not much you can really do about it you can report to Land Transport Department Hotline on 1584 and report the taxi if you were fast enough to take a picture of the car plate (plates are both inside and outside the cab). Alternatively you can download this app DLT Taxi to report the taxi. Better try your luck with the next taxi.
- Flagging a Taxi
It's ok to get a taxi at a bus stop when there's no bus approaching, otherwise you can expect to be honked at.
- Taxi Scams
Like tuk-tuks, watch out for an over-eager taxi driver who offers to take you to 'good' places, skip it or decline! Trust your intuition. If you don't get a good feeling about a taxi driver, rather wait for the next one. Again Taxis standing by in front of hotels are usually suspicious.
- Clueless Taxis
Don't expect Bangkok taxi drivers to know the city's every nook and cranny, as a driver qualification exam isn't required. It's always a good idea to carry a map, or the name and the location of where you're heading to written in Thai. (Pick up a hotel card when leaving your hotel if you are in a small street of Bangkok)
- Watch when stepping out!
Look behind you and make sure there's no motorcycle coming before you open a car door. It's very common for passengers to open the door without looking, and have a motorcycle slam into it. This can cause serious injury to the motorcycle driver, the taxi passenger, as well as considerable damage to the taxi itself.
- Tips? Change?
Tipping of taxi drivers is not required, though rounding the fare off to the nearest 5 or 10 baht is common practice (it's a nice thing to do, as they earn very little, work long hours in often stressful conditions). But remember: Taxis often pretend not to have change, so carry small amounts!
- Lost Items
Before getting out of a taxi, make sure you haven't left any valuables or shopping bags behind.