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Getting around Bangkok by Taxi

over a quarter of vehicles appear to be taxis - Getting around Bangkok by TaxiInside the arrivals foyer at Bangkok Airport, like many bustling international airport, as an independent traveller, you will be met by a number of touts offering a couple of car transportation options. The most expensive option being Limousine hire; usually about twice the price of an un-metered taxi fare. (If you don't know the current un-metered or bartered taxi fare then you are working blind here anyway!). The second option being offered is un-metered Taxi hire which is probably difficult to resist and walk by as the apparently friendly smiling touts that are speaking reasonable English and will probably claim to know where your hotel is situated.

Blue and red taxis - Getting around Bangkok by TaxiOur experience of arriving at Bangkok Airport as fully independent travellers was a fairly new one for us having previously used a transfer service for our initial journeys on any foreign holiday. Our initial airport to hotel transfers on holiday have always been set up by our travel agent in our country of origin, no matter where that has been.

Yellow and green taxis - Getting around Bangkok by TaxiWe chose to walk out of Bangkok Airport and pick up a metered taxi. The Bangkok Airport 'Public Taxi' rank is close to the exit and managed by a small team of 'official' English speaking 'priorotisers' with a good knowledge of Bangkok city who will make sure the driver knows where you are going. This might seem like a bit of overkill but in our experience not many Bangkok taxi drivers understand or speak English. To compound this lack of English they don't seem to know where they are going anyway! For this initial journey though you can travel with a reasonable degree of confidence - do not despair. The 'official' at Bangkok Airport will also tell you roughly how much your journey will cost.

Blue taxi - Getting around Bangkok by TaxiIf your journey necessitates using the time-saving Bangkok Expressway then you will have to pay the toll (in advance of entering the Expressway) on top of the fare to the taxi driver. The driver should offer you the Bangkok Expressway ticket(s) as a receipt and will return any change.

Orange taxi - Getting around Bangkok by TaxiWe used metered taxis the first few days for getting around Bangkok city. Like any metered taxi anywhere in the world that we have been so far these taxi businesses are strictly licensed operations and consequently you should not get stung by an unexpected extortionate fare (providing you make sure the taxi's meter is switched on at the beginning of your journey). Your hotel should have a Thai language / English card with directions and sometimes a local map printed on it. Get (at least) one for each member of your party and keep them with you - at least you'll have some certainty you'll get back 'home'.

In rush hour and traffic jams your metered taxi may seem to be an expensive option but a trip across town is unlikely to go over the equivalent of a couple of pounds (GBP). Just sit back and enjoy the air conditioned views of Bangkok by day or night.

It seemed to us virtually useless to show your Bangkok taxi driver an English language map of Bangkok as apparently they can't recognise the city without Thai language annotation! It is also probably a waste of time expecting him to understand your attempts at a pronunciation of Thai road names and he probably won't know what any of the Bangkok landmarks are called in English.

Given the language barriers, we always ended up where we intended to go, eventually. Most taxi drivers we encountered that had accepted the fare were very keen not to be beaten.


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