Things You Should Know When Taking a Taxi in Bangkok

Often regarded as a backpacker’s dream destination, Bangkok welcomes visitors from around the world to its vibrant landscapes. Although most locals and tourists use the SkyTrain or MRT to travel to various hotspots across the city employing Bangkok’s taxi services is another option available to train weary travellers. From finding the right cab to knowing what to expect in terms of fares and services here are some tips on hailing a cab in the Thai capital.

1. Spot them Right
One of the first aspects to consider before hailing a taxi cab in Bangkok is the colours of the vehicles. Bangkok taxis are famed for their vibrant colours with a notably large number of pink coloured taxis occupying the city. Tourists must understand that the colours do not signify areas served or any particular variety of cab services but instead serves as markers for cabs that belong to various private cab operators. It is important also to notice that those you can hail will have an illuminated red sign which indicates availability. Note that the interior features of most taxis in Bangkok will be uniform with the exception of a few companies that provide high-end chauffer services.

2. Hailing Rules
Those who are based in service apartments in Bangkok including establishments the likes of Chatrium Residence Riverside Bangkok or resort bases have the option of booking a taxi through the hotel. Simply inform the front desk of the departure time and the rest will be attended to by the concierge. Travellers who are staying with accommodation providers who do not provide such services can head to the nearest bus stop and hail an approaching cab. Although one is permitted to take a cab in front of the bus stop be careful not to hail one as a bus is drawing near as this will inconvenience fellow commuters.

3. Know the Route
Although some cab drivers may be well versed and skilled at navigating their way around Bangkok’s many districts and precincts, do not expect all cab drivers to be familiar with your destination or how to reach it. It is advisable to search for your destination and possible routes using popular navigating tools and apps in your Smartphone and inform the driver of the route selected. Taking a physical map of the city will also help you find your destination with ease while having someone write the name of the street or the location in Thai will also prove valuable when asking for directions from locals. Don’t be alarmed if your driver is clueless on the area you wish to travel to, it’s not unusual in the least.

4. Fair Expectations
Commuters need not worry about unmetered taxis in Bangkok as a great majority are metered taxis. Be wary of drivers and independent cabbies that refuse to turn on the meter as they are likely attempting to swindle travellers. One might also come across cabbies who wish to negotiate the fair based on the distance without using the meter and such individuals should also be avoided.

5. Tipping
There is no need to tip the driver after the conclusion of the journey as it is not a local custom nor expected. It is, however, acceptable to round up the fare if you have enjoyed a pleasant experience and wish to show your gratitude by throwing in a few extra bhats to the cost of the ride. It is important to carry change as some drivers will falsely pretend to not have change for the amount owed so you will end up paying more than the fare.

6. Other Do’s and Don’ts
Taking care of your valuables and belongings while on a cab ride in Bangkok is entirely your responsibility and don’t expect the cab companies to compensate for any lost items or left behind phones and other belongings. If you come across a cab driver who refuses you service based on the length of the journey or other factors walk away. You can complain to the Land Transport Department in this regard if you manage to get the license plate of the vehicle.