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.
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.