This is one major problem which Bangkok needs to solve and they are definitely working on it – Bangkok Taxi Scam. And so to help you, this is How To Avoid Airport Taxi Scam!
The first encounter with a Thai local, other than the immigration officers or the telco officers, will likely be the taxi drivers, because we need to leave the airport. So if the experience is bad for the tourists, it will definitely leave a bad impression on the reputation of Bangkok and Thailand.
Even though there are official taxi stands at both Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang Airport, I really don’t trust the taxis at all because all the following experiences:
*Disclaimer: I don’t mean that all airport taxis are fake, just that I always encounter the black sheep. I believe there are still some authentic ones.*
- Start engine, and drive off without turning on the meter, insisting on a fixed price.
- Start engine, turn on the meter, drive off and convinces you to pay a fixed price
So, you either tell them to use the meter or lower the fixed price. When they have failed to convince you, the meter will be turned on. Sometimes, you might even notice that the meter seems to be jumping extremely fast.
I don’t like to be cheated like this and so I have 3 ways to avoid the airport taxis.
#1 Take the train
Train (Airport Rail Link) is only available at Suvarnabhumi Airport. So, if I’m heading to somewhere where it’s connected by trains, I will use it because it costs just 45 baht from the airport to Ratchaprarop Station in Pratunam!
#2 Book a cab via Grab
Although it might be a little troublesome, I still prefer doing this. Why do I say it is troublesome? Firstly, you need to have a data connection in order to use Grab, so it means that you have to get a Prepaid SIM Card at the airport. So, here’s what I do…
- Purchase Prepaid SIM Card
- Open Grab app
- Register Thai local number via the app (because the driver needs to call you to confirm your pickup location)
So, it definitely takes awhile to have all this set up. The driver usually can speak simple English and the gist of the conversation is to either tell them where you are or be given instructions on the pick-up point. Take note that there is an additional 25 baht of booking fee. However, they have frequent promo codes which means the booking fee is waived.
#3 Book a car via Uber
It’s almost similar to the steps used in GrabTaxi. The only difference it that it’s a private car and the payment is cashless.
Some of you might find it troublesome or inconvenient. So it’s really up to your preference. I know that many tourists have a phobia of taking Bangkok taxis. The good news is that authorities and doing their best to catch all these errant drivers who give the industry a bad name.
The fare quoted usually ranges from 500 to 1000 baht. Some of you might think that it’s cheap! It might be cheap as compared to some countries, but I just don’t like the feeling of being cheated. If they are honest, friendly and provide good customer service, I’m more than willing to give them additional tips.
So how much do I usually save by booking via GrabTaxi? Easily half the fare quoted by taxi scammers. My journey to Pratunam or Silom costs just approximately 250 baht including the tolls. :)
Don’t fear taking taxis in Bangkok. There are more good taxi drivers than bad ones. Just flag down those that are cruising on the roads and you won’t have much problem.
If one does not want to take you to your destination, there is always the next one.