Bangkok cabbies often “take people for a ride”, both literally and figuratively. Although being taken out of the way or overcharged does not occur as often as you would think by reading travelers’ comments and blogs, it is important to be savvy and understand the do’s and don’ts of taxi travel in Bangkok. Please keep in mind that even if you are “ripped off”, it is usually only a small amount of money and there are some things that can be done to discourage this behavior. Check out the Do’s and Don’ts suggested below.
Do make sure you have plenty of time to get from point A to point B. Anything and everything can and will happen in a Bangkok cab, so be patient.
Do make sure your cabbie speaks English (don’t trust the “I speak English” sticker you may see), if he cannot understand where you want to go, then don’t get in his cab. Otherwise it can be an exercise in frustration for you and the driver.
Do make sure you ask if there is a toll way, or highway fee. Sometimes it is faster to go on the toll way. You pay a bit more, but if time is of the essence, it is often worth it to pay for a toll and spend less time sitting in traffic.
Don’t get offended If a taxi driver quotes you an inflated price off the meter (which they often do in the rain or for longer trips outside of the city center) pass him up, there are plenty of taxis in Bangkok and you can always find another one.
Do call ahead whenever possible for a taxi. Arrange to have a taxi called for you from your hotel, restaurant, and condominium by Thai staff. They tend to be more accommodating and less apt to take advantage than when summoned off the street.
Do be prepared for taxi’s to refuse to go where you want to go. It is not a personal thing, they often have routes that they like to frequent and are particular about going off route. Just flag down another taxi until you find one that will take you where you want.
Do be creative, If it is raining, stay where you are until it stops, or go to the nearest fancy hotel and have the front desk call you a cab. If not, you may be standing in the rain waiting on a taxi cab for hours.
Do tip the taxi driver $1.00USD (30baht) to $3.00USD (100baht) if you get from point A to point B with no problems. This encourages fair practice for future passengers and drivers.