Thailand taxi services differ from place to place and they’re mainly available in the cities. The great thing about Thailand is there are always transport options if taxis are not the mode of transportation wherever you’re staying.
I will run through the basics of getting a taxi in popular tourist places and throw a few tips in I have learned over the years in Thailand.
First things first, safety. Most of us who have been in Thailand for some time will know from experience that a few taxi rides can be dodgy to say the least. Driving too fast, taking customers to commission based establishments, not knowing where they’re going, avoiding putting the meter on to overcharge and the odd aggressive driver.
Fortunately, I have not experienced many issues. A couple of times taken to girly establishments that earns the driver commission, a few drivers in a hell of a rush and the worst in Ubon Ratchathani that was pissed off we were only doing a small trip and drove like a lunatic then threw our bags out at the bus station. However, most drivers are just quietly doing their job and many I have enjoyed practicing my poor Thai language with or English for them without any problems at all.
Women alone should be more careful on the evening when taking a taxi alone. There have been issues of taxi drivers choking their chicken (masturbating) while they’re driving with females in the car. This is reported incidences and there would be many more not reported, and this happens during the day.
Most people don’t have any negative experiences or maybe minor issues that can be resolved or ignored (might not be worth an argument – let it go).
Getting a Taxi and Charges
Taxis in most places can be flagged down that have a red light switched on in the corner of the windscreen and have a pick up rate of 35 THB, and then a rate per distance calculated on the meter. You can view the cost for distance on a card hanging on the back of the front seats and waiting time charges, but I have never given them any attention as taxis are so well priced and the meter is usually put on.
Grab Taxi and Uber
Uber is like a posh version of Grab taxi, mainly available in the big cities. Uber is more expensive but you get a stylish car and suited driver. I use Grab taxi very often in Bangkok and have nothing but applause for them. Most drivers speak enough English, fares cost an extra 25 THB booking fee only, and the drivers name is registered, and your trip.
Both services have mobile apps that work really well. You’ll know where your driver is and the approximate fare cost.
It’s much safer in terms of getting a good driver and the map shows them and you where you’re going. No trying to explain or the driver getting it wrong. If you’re somewhere where there are plenty of taxis to flag down you might not need a taxi service such as grab taxi, however, if you feel more secure then you might want to go with a service.
Transport Varies in Different Places
The best advice would be to do a quick internet search about the place you’re about to go and stay. Each city and place varies as mentioned above in terms of transportation services provided and options. You’ll prevent problems and misunderstanding, and possibly have less frustration if you know more about how taxis at each place in Thailand operate before you go.
Keep in mind that a taxi may not be the best option, especially in Bangkok where there’s a lot of traffic and the quicker option of using the underground or skytrain.