Tips to use taxi in Bangkok
You probably know already that taxi is one of the most convenient ways to move around the city. It is cheap, easy, widely available and normally fast, but it can also be challenging if you are not used to it.
Every taxi and taxi driver is a different story, but we hope the next guidelines or tips will help you to avoid any possible problem and commute safer and happier. These are our tips for a better taxi trip.
1. Remember the plate
This is probably the advice you will hear more often. It is even included in the taxi driver identification card which you will normally find on the front seat.
Every taxi has two different identification. First, the license plate of the car, which consists on a letter and some numbers and is easier to remember. Also, there should be a driver identification card as well, consisting on some numbers.
It is always a good idea to remember at least the license plate, as you can use it later to report any problem to the passenger call center 1584. This is useful not only to revenge from a horrible ride, but also might be your only chance to get something back you might have left behind on the taxi.
2. Check the meter
Luckily, the taxi service on Bangkok is kind of standard and 99% of the time you won’t have any problem with this but, just in case, make sure the meter starts at 35 THB and the driver starts it on your ride.
Familiarize yourself with the meter as well. The big red number is the fare and the two numbers on top are the time (on the left) and the distance in kilometers (on the left). Keep in mind that some meters only show the time in which the taxi is driving slow (and therefore has an extra charge) and not the total time of the ride.
3. Ask before getting inside
Depending on where you are from, you might think any taxi driver should bring you anywhere, but that hardly applies in Thailand and other countries. Before getting into the taxi and seating comfortably, ask the driver if he wants to drive you to your destination.
This will save you time if your destination is not so desirable for them and you have to try many different taxis, but will also make sure the driver knows how to get there. You don’t want to force any driver to give you a ride to a place he doesn’t want, as he will be upset and the ride will be very annoying and, somehow, dangerous.
4. Know the way, approximately
There are several ways to know approximately what is the normal route to go to a place, but the best way is just to experience it by yourself. You can try Google Maps or our Taxi fare calculator, but the reality might be different.
Google Maps always choose the fastest way to use, according to the information they have about the traffic, but your driver might not agree or have more updated information about the traffic. Also, they normally prefer to stick to main roads and easy routes rather than complicated shortcust through intricate Sois that Google might choose as best route.
Anyway, if you have some approximate idea of what is the route and the distance, you can avoid some tricky taxi drivers, specially if they try to force you to use the Toll way (which, remember, you have to pay). Toll way price goes from 30 to 60 THB so it can be quite an extra charge if it’s not strictly necessary.
5. A moving taxi is better than a parked one
There are countless exceptions to the rule but, if you can, avoid the taxi drivers who seem too comfortable waiting for customers at the exit of any major attractions or shopping malls. There is some probability that they are waiting for their “perfect ride”, which is unlikely to coincide with your destination: it will either be too close or too far. Either way, they will be annoyed.
On our experience, taxis caught “on the run” are normally more in the mood of work than those who are parked and chilling out.
6. Prepare the money precisely
Taxi service on Bangkok is very affordable, and many taxi drivers are not so happy with the current fare, frozen for some years. So you will find quite often that they don’t really want to give you your change back.
Therefore, it is a good idea to use small bank notes as close to the meter as it can be, because it is likely you might never seen the change. This, of course, depend on how honest the driver is, but you will feel better if it is you who decide how much and if to tip the driver rather than them just getting it by themselves.
Did we miss anything? Any other tip you wanna share? Add it on the comments!