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Taxis in Bangkok | Cabs and Fares

Bangkok Taxis / Cabs and Fares

There are 150,000 taxis in Bangkok. All taxis are metered with the starting fee of 35 Baht for the first 3 kilometers and then 5 Baht per Kilometer. There are many taxi companies and various coloured taxis but costs and fares are the same.

All Bangkok taxis must turn on their meters. It is illegal not to, but many drivers will try to bargain a flat fee if it is late at night or the weather is very bad and everyone wants one.

In general they are safe but some drivers tend to drive too fast so you should let ask them to slow down, which they will usually do albeit with a grin or a chuckle.

Bangkok Taxis - Fares:

The meter will start at 35 Baht and the fare shouldn't increase until after 3 kilometers or a certain period of time has passed. The fare then goes up by roughly 5 Baht per kilometer or by a certain period of time if caught in a traffic jam.

For most trips around Bangkok, the average fares is 50 - 60 Baht with your most expensive trip probably being to Suvanabhumi airport which will be around 300 Baht if travelling from the center of Bangkok.

Taxis will take you almost anywhere as long as it's within their working period as most drivers have to return their cab at the end of their shift.

A trip to Pattaya is in the region of 2000 Baht but this an estimate.

Bangkok Taxi Phone Numbers

Some phone numbers for Bangkok taxis are:

02 880 0888
02 911 5772
02 878 9000

Other Costs

Apart from the meter fee, you are responsible for any expressway toll fees. Expressways are better roads with a toll. They are must faster to use than standard roads and so if you are in a hurry, ask the driver to "by tang-duan" or "go by the expressway".

Tolls for the expressway range from 25 to 45 Baht with 45 Baht being the average fee. You usually only pay once in an average journey but some trips can incur 3 tolls. A trip to the airport from Silom has two toll fees. One for 45 Baht, the other for 25 Baht but this might depend on the route your driver takes.

It is possible to phone for a taxi rather than hail one. If you call for a taxi the control center will send out a call to find the nearest taxi and one will be with you quite quickly. There is an additional fee of 20 Baht for this service. It is not on the meter so you'll have this added to the meter fee later.

Should You Tip Taxis In Bangkok?

Tipping the taxi driver when you finish your trip isn't necessary although rounding up the figure on the meter makes things easy for the driver to pay you quickly.

Let's say the meter comes to 90 Baht. In this instance, we'd probably just hand over a 100 Baht note and get out rather than rummaging around for the correct amount.
If the meter was 35 Baht, we'd hand over 40 Baht, but if the meter was 40 Baht, we'd just hand over 40 Baht.

We round up if we don't have the correct amount but even if we do, we still round up from say 37 to 40 or 42 to 45.

Carry Small Notes

Drivers rarely have much money with them and will use this as an excuse to not give you the correct change. Certainly don't hand over a 500 or 1,000 Baht note for short journeys.
Carry a few 20s, 50s and 100s and if you can, have some loose change in 5 and 10 Bahts.

The Different Colours:

The different colours of Bangkok taxis represents the company rather than cost. All metered taxis must charge the same rate for distance traveled and / or time spent sitting in the taxi. A tariff chart usually hangs from the back of the driver's or passenger's seat so you can see the amount you can expect to pay. Presently, taxis do not give out any receipts but this will soon be introduced so you will be able to get a mini slip for the amount you have been charged. We've had one taxi provide us with one but it must have been a test taxi because we've not had one since.

Some of the colours are: Yellow and Green, Blue and Red, White and Red, Blue, Red, Pink as well as Orange.

Orange metered taxis in Bangkok

Yellow and Green taxis used to be newer, but many have aged. The drivers own their vehicles and, if new, take care of their property.
Blue and Red taxis in Bangkok are rented from a taxi firm. Drivers rent the taxis for the day and because the drivers don't own them, they are less careful and you generally find that these drivers have less patience and in their driving. However, as a rule of thumb, the older the taxi, the patient the driver. Either that or the driver is really old and you take twice as long to get anywhere.

The other colours, or the single coloured Bangkok taxis, are all fairly new and you'll get a smoother ride.

Pink metered taxis in Bangkok

Inside the taxi, on the door, is the taxi's number. This must be on display.

Taxis From Bangkok Airport

Taxis are available from departures and arrivals. At arrivals, there is a taxi stand immediately outside the airport, just walk up to the taxi meter counter, tell them your destination and they will present you with a yellow slip of paper which you then give to the driver standing in the queue to the right of the counter.

There is a 50 Baht surcharge for this service and does not cover toll fees if going by expressway. You will therefore pay the meter fee + 50 Baht + any tolls.

The only "problem" with taking one of those taxis is that it's very difficult to refuse a taxi that looks old. Once you have your ticket for your taxi, you take what you are given; old or new. It's a small issue for short journeys, but for long journeys, when it hot and the air-conditioning is not working and the car fumes are seeping into the cabin, it can make for a very long journey.

Alternatively, you can go to the arrivals section and try to get one of the taxis that has just dropped someone off. This will save you the 50 Baht surcharge.

Taxis from outside shopping malls

Siam Paragon has a taxi queue system which is situated outside the main and front entrance. People queue up whilst the taxis drive into the taxi rank area to drop passengers off and to pick up new ones. A Siam Paragon has appointed guards to asks you your destination and then shouts through a megaphone at the taxis to find out which driver wants to go to your destination. However, as with the issue above, you can't choose your ride and you can be stuck with the taxi and taxi driver from hell. This isn't the reserve of Siam Paragon, Central Chidlom has a queue from its side entrance and the situation is similar there. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do unless you don't feel awkward in waving it on and catching a newer one later.

Taxis queuing outside department store
Different coloured taxis
Taxis queue up outside department stores
Various colours but same costs

Be Careful:

Bangkok taxis are fairly safe in general but there have been reports of robberies and rapes taking place when people have been picked up from the airport. We guess this happens for two reasons:
  • People arriving are new to Thailand and no-one knows where they are or going
  • If fresh off a plane, you are probably more flush with money for your holiday
By joining one of these taxi rank queues, you reduce the chances of this happening because the taxi's number will have been recorded as well as its destination, so join a queue rather than hailing one yourself.

Also, drivers often work long hours and to keep them awake, they drink Red Bull style drinks. Now, if you've ever had a Red Bull, you'll know it perks you up a bit, but a Thai version of Red Bull is like drinking three in Western countries, and these drivers might get through 2 or 3 bottles a day and regular use coupled with lack of sleep can send a driver a little crazy and they go fast and drive erratically but the bad old days of wheel thumping and crazy shouting matches seem to be over. If a driver is going too fast, ask them to slow down ... just say "cha cha" which means slowly.

Tips For Getting A Taxi In Bangkok

Wait for the nicer looking taxis. If you don't like the look of the taxi that is stopping for you, wave it on and get a newer one. The ride will be more comfortable and the air conditioning will work better.
If grabbing a taxi late at night from a friend's place, get your friend to go to the taxi with you and go through the motions of taking a note of the taxi number. The number is not the license plate, but the number on the door outside the taxi, AND on a label attached to each door inside the taxi.

If traveling in a taxi alone, you might want to call a friend and tell them the taxi number. Drivers will pick up on the numbers you mention, even if you speak English, and you'll be less likely to be robbed but this is a fairly rare occurrence anyway.

Most taxis will have a photo of the driver, along with their license, placed on the dash-board of the taxi they are driving. If there is one, it's a good sign. If there isn't one, or the photo doesn't match the driver, then you might want to wait for a different taxi.

A Certain Smell

This is going to sound like an odd thing to discuss but because it's been happening more and more frequently in taxis we've been taking, we think it's worth a mention and that is the awful smell that some taxis have inside. This can only be down to the driver's diet as much of Thai food is very spicy and with loads of garlic. What is strange is that the same smell is found in so many of these taxis. There must be a taxi driver's restaurant where they all eat the same stuff.
One taxi we caught recently was so bad, we drove all the way home with the windows fully down.

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