How To Get A Taxi In Bangkok – Basic Tips

A quick little guide on how to get a taxi in Bangkok.

Bangkok is a huge city, and taxis are everywhere. Pink ones, yellow and green ones and blue ones will streak past you on an exceptionally regular basis.

How To Get A Taxi In Bangkok
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We’ve been in Bangkok for four days now, and have caught a few taxis all around the place. Why taxis? Well, because if you follow these tips they are actually a completely reasonable and affordable way to get around Bangkok. Public transport can be great, but there are a lot of times when a taxi is a much better option.

A common trend I’ve noticed in the hostel when talking to other people is that some backpackers are allowing taxi drivers to set a price or even haggling over a price prior to getting in the taxi. Don’t do this!

If there is one tip or piece of advice you get from this article, it’s to ensure they are happy to turn the meter on. Here are five things to know about catching a taxi in Bangkok.

Tip #1: Catch a taxi’s attention with a hand gesture as they approach, most will be happy to pull over and then you can see if they want to take you where you want to go. You’ll know it’s a taxi (pink ones are very common) as on the roof it will read “TAXI-METER”.

Tip #2: Once you’ve flagged a taxi down, they’ll want to know where you are going before accepting your fare. It’s common for a driver to decide he doesn’t want to take you. When we moved accommodations in Bangkok it must have taken about six taxis before we found one that wanted to take us.

Tip #3: If you’re going somewhere a bit out of the way (like the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market) ask a Thai person (such as your hostel/guest house receptionist) to write the name & address in Thai for you. This will help out the drivers’ who don’t know any English lettering or cannot understand your pronunciation.

Tip #4: Once the driver has agreed to take you and you hop in, he will switch the meter on. You’ll know he has done this because the taxi meter will read “35” in red (meaning 35 Baht – this is the normal starting price for a taxi) and the number above will be “0” which is the distance travelled. This “0” will begin flashing when the cab starts to move.

Tip #5: All good taxis will have their photo and name resting on the back of their chair in the taxi. This may be stereotyping a little, but I’ve noticed that the taxi drivers Trudy and I have had good experiences with often have buddhist items hanging from their rear view mirror. I guess buddhists are very honest people by nature! 😀

Ideally you want a driver who agrees immediately to having the meter on, or who doesn’t give you a “price” at all, but simply turns the meter on as soon as you get into the cab.

Don’t be intimidated by the process, and feel free to wave the cab on if you’re not comfortable with the driver or if they try to haggle a price.

13 Responses to “How To Get A Taxi In Bangkok – Basic Tips”

  1. Amazing thing for me about taxis in Bangkok is the percentage of times they do NOT know where you want to go. I’ve actually flagged down a half-dozen cabs before (regularly), until I finally get a cabbie that knows where I am going. Can be really frustrating.

    • Tom says:

      Haha, yep, I know what you’re talking about. We often flagged down anything from 3 – 8 taxis before you get one that will take you, I was never sure if it was because they didn’t know where to go or if they just didn’t want to drive that far 😀

  2. Cecille says:

    It was really stressful… Actually,both taxi and tuktuk… The only place where we had no issue with the driver was at the taxi lane at the mall… We just didn’t have the charm and the talent of hagglingin other areas…

    • Trudy says:

      Hi Cecille, I understand. The thing is if you just insist that you catch a metered taxi then there should be no haggling, makes the whole thing much less stressful and always cheaper. Good luck with it!

  3. Ash Clark says:

    Just reading the title of this post sends shudders down my spine!

    The MRT subway and Skytrain systems are both incredibly efficient, cheap and clean. I find it best to just get a taxi to the closest station of these, then I dont have to worry about being held up in traffic.

    Another hot little tip if you are staying over in the older part of BKK, such as the khao san Rd part which hasnt got good access to public transport, but you need to get somewhere on the other side of the city during peak hour (when most drivers will refuse to take you due to all the traffic) I found it best to get them to take you to Hua Lamphong station, as most drivers will at least get you to here, then u can get the MRT to where ever it was that you wanted to go.

    • Tom says:

      Good tips, Ash! The SkyTrain was pretty awesome, and yeah Bangkok traffic in peak hour can be horrendous on the road. We got stuck for like 45 mins in a taxi on the way to the Myanmar embassy to get our visa… ended up just having to get out and walk haha. If you’re not travelling at peak hour they’re all good though.

      Something else to add is that if you are in Khaosan Road and it IS peak hour and you need to get somewhere, you can also catch the ferry down the river to get to the other side of the city (there is a ferry port very close to Khaosan) – some of the ferry stops can put you close to a SkyTrain as well so you can keep on the public transport.

  4. Hiring means of transportation is really a very big headache at any unknown place. Thanks for sharing tricky tips TOM……..:) :).

  5. Thomas says:

    Great advice Tom! Although when in Bangkok I always prefer to taske the Tuk Tuks, much more dangerous, much more fun! 🙂

  6. Stephen S. says:

    Love the tip about asking the hostel staff. They had saved me so much frustration in the past. Before booking a hostel I always see what the reviews say about how the helpful the staff is.

  7. Juanda says:

    I have never been to Bangkok, but from what I heard, the traffic is pretty bad, worse than Jakarta which is where I live. That reason alone has succeded in making me not want to go to Bangkok. My loss, I know hahahaha. Loved my trip to Phuket last year though.

  8. jimmy says:

    Thanks for the post. We are suppose to visit Bangkok next month and your tips must be v.helpful for us.
    Jimmy

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