Bangkok and the Taxi Mafia!

Planning to Exploring Bangkok via a Taxi/Cab?

On a recent trip to Bangkok, I had a first hand experience of the taxi mafia- Good news, by end of day 1 I LUCKILY got the most awesome driver who explained the entire mafia to me and how to work around it!

Airport to Hotel- As soon as you get out of the Airport, you will be required to but a pre-paid slip, which you will give to one of the zillion taxis lined up outside the airport, which will take you to your hotel.

  • There will be at least 2-3 such pre-paid counters. Ask the lady on the first counter how much the pre-paid coupon is for (should be around 50 baht). Whatever she says, go a recheck with the lady at the next counter. Buy the coupon if the price quoted is the same (after hearing a few friends’ experiences I did not trust ANYONE in Bangkok. In fact in all of Phuket NEVER BUY ANYTHING WITHOUT CROSS CHECKING WITH ANOTHER SELLER OF THE SAME THING- YOU WILL BE AMAZED AT PRICE DIFFERENCES.
  • Once you get the coupon, go to the driver and DEMAND that he start the meter. Pay the highway toll separately, do not get that added into your total bill. If the toll is 60 baht they will charge you 100. The driver will give you a lot of crap about his ‘monthly toll card’ and that you should pay the toll to him, but do that ONLY once you see at the toll, how much is being deducted from his card, and most importantly whether it is for one-way or for return journey.
  • Its a good idea to use GPS to see whether or not they are taking the shortest route to your hotel.
  • Remember, if you are travelling from Don Muang Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport OR vice versa, use the free airport shuttle bus. They let you carry as much luggage as you want. OR there are 1-2 direct public buses with only 1-2 stops between the airports (I think it was bus # 554 & 555 ) which you can consider taking since the frequency of the free airport shuttle bus is not that great.

Exploring Bangkok

  • My biggest learning- each time you visit a place of sightseeing, like a museum or Grand Palace or Safari World or Siam Ocean Park- NEVER USE THE METER! Yes! I am not kidding. Bargain..bargain like crazy..through the bottom of your nose! Khao San to Safari World is over 500 baht by meter, and I actually went for 150 baht!! How? Well, each time a driver drops you at there ‘key locations’ they get 20 lt of petrol as a reward/payment for dropping you at the attraction site! On your way back to the hotel, you MUST demand that the meter be on.
  • If you see some over sweet guy who will charge you peanuts to not only drop you to your location, but even wait for you DO NOT AGREE! And NEVER  pay a penny in advance. They are definitely going to run away even though they promise ‘free waiting time’ (we were left deserted at Safari World 😦  ..Its was on the way back from Safari World that we met this driver who gave us all these tips, which I am not sharing 🙂 )
  • NEVER sit in the autos who will promise you dirt cheap rates(like 1/10th the meter rates if you stop for ‘5 min’ at 2 shops. You will be required to spend 5 min at the first shop and they will be really sweet to you. While you get down at the second shop they will either run away or claim you did not spend enough time in the shop or that you need to buy something
  • Avoid going to the police. I saw numerous instance wherein the police blindly backed the locals.
  • Consider travelling via the local buses! I enjoyed this thoroughly! Its not only the metro train that makes different parts of Bangkok well connected, its the very well spread buss network! Google your to and fro points and see options of available public buses- Awesome fun and super economical.

Tour Packages

  • First step, check with your hotel reception about any package you are interested it. Chances are that they will try to sell you their own package. Hear them out as it will give you an idea of the rates etc.
  • Once you have done that, start exploring- Thailand is a country that flourishes on tourism. You will see millions of people selling packages on the streets.

Hotel to Airport

  • If you do not want to spend that much, consider asking your Hotel Reception to arrange a minibus for you. I thought it was super convenient and super comfortable for 120 baht per person. Also, the mini bus picked me up right from the entrance of my hotel.

Hope these tips help and in case you have some other suggestions that helped you during your Bangkok trip, feel free to share in the comments here 🙂


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