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Thailand forum

taxis and tuk tuks

Posted by Ellen on 13/7/2006 at 05:22

So I just got back from my holiday in Thailand, will post about it all when I get over my jet lag,

but one thing I have to say is, what's up with the taxis? I couldn't find a taxi anywhere in Bangkok that would use their meter, even at the airport, they refused.

I also only found one tuk tuk that would take me to my destination (at a ridiculous price) without stopping at a gem shop en route.

We got frustrated with the whole taxi/ tuk tuk senario and used public buses and trains instead. Which weren't too bad at all 5 baht from the airport to hulumpaloong and 8 baht by bus from there to southern bus terminal, slower maybe, but it was fun being the only farangs in sight

I was shocked by the change in Thailand, since my last visit 4 years ago. I only found 1 squat toilet in 2 weeks, last time I only found 1 western toilet in 4 months...

need sleepies, more crazy observations and accomodation reviews to come

#1 Ellen has been a member since 25/5/2006. Posts: 12

Posted by somtam2000 on 13/7/2006 at 07:51 admin

Hi Ellen, glad to hear you had a good trip.

I find that very surprising about the cabs (tuk tuks are another matter) I'd need to ask the cab to put the meter on maybe once every hundred trips...but ike you say, the buses work great.

Loop forward to your trip report -- why not add it to our new Trip Reports section?

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Posted by neeners on 13/7/2006 at 13:43

That's odd. I never had that experience with the taxis in Thailand. They usually turn on the meter when I got in. The only time I had to content with paying a fixed price was upon my arrival in Samui (was too tired to object and look for another cab) and on my way to the airport.

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Posted by wolfman on 13/7/2006 at 17:49

dear ellen: 4 years is a long time, there´s a change in europe as well in that period. i never had any probs with cab drivers, demand the meter or change the cab! i don´t mind western toilets-the main thing is the pipe, or the bucket. if you would travel issan, you might say: no change at all.

#4 wolfman has been a member since 31/5/2006. Posts: 80

Posted by Lother on 13/7/2006 at 20:17

The same happened to me constantly in Bangkok this April. Most drivers simply refused to use the meter and let me walk out when I insisted. They all wanted to agree on a price beforehand. I had a longish discussion about the matter with one driver, who said the meter cost levels haven't been increased in four years, and so don't reflect the price of gasoline and other expenses, but I don't know about that.

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Posted by Tilapia on 13/7/2006 at 23:56

Like most of the others, I also have never had trouble with any taxi drivers, or tuk tuk operators, for that matter. There have been times when I've sat in the cab, wondering if the metre was on because it can take so long for the cost to change, but it's always been fine.

However, I also noticed that in my last 3 trips, there have been no changes in the base rate, and there have been major fuel hike increases. So, I'm not surprised to hear about something like this.

Cab drivers ... mostly from the northeast. Most have families either in Bangkok or back home. Most work 7 days/week, up to 14 hours per day, with no days off. On a good day, most make about $4-$8 (US) per day. With that $ they are expected to pay the rent, pay for the kids' education, pay for food, clothing, and everything else. If they are also required by the cab owners to pay for their own fuel, then I DEFINITELY am not surprised to hear about this.

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Posted by tokyobelle on 14/7/2006 at 06:59

I'm not looking to screw anyone over, just trying not to get screwed over myself. So, if they do have to pay for their own fuel and the rates don't reflect that (I'm sympathetic to this if it's true) what are acceptable fares for Bangkok, Samui, and Chiang Mai?

My perspective is somewhat skewed because I never took taxis back in the States and here in Japan, it's more than $6 for 2 km, so if you could give me an idea...

Only one week until I go-I can't wait!

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Posted by exacto on 14/7/2006 at 14:06

i haven't had this problem in bangkok on this trip, but definitely have had trouble with taxi drivers quoting outrageous prices to me in places like chiang mai, kanchanaburi, nong khai, ayutthaya, and the worst place for sure, koh samui.

a big part of that problem is the two-tiered price structure here in thailand, where westerners (tourist, expat, etc.) are charged more than thais. it seems even worse to me on this trip than ever before.

but what folks have written above is definitely true too about meter rates not having increased in many years, while the price of gas here has at least trippled since 2000.

i typically try to get an idea from my guest house what a taxi fare should cost, and if i get even close to that, i'll accept the fare, and even give a good tip too, because, as people have written above, the taxi drivers work hard and don't make much money. in bangkok, i always insist on going on the meter, and only once in six years have i even had a problem.
be friendly. give a tip. that usually (but not always) works. regards.

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Posted by neeners on 14/7/2006 at 14:26

The metered fare from Khao San Road to MBK Center is approximately THB 70-80, depending on the traffic and which route your driver takes you. That was what I paid during the daytime (around noon) and there was moderate traffic.

From my hostel in Silom, I paid THB 60 for a ride to Hualampong train station. Also from my hostel in Silom, the taxi driver charged me THB 300 + THB 50 (for toll) to the airport. There were hardly any traffic on a Saturday afternoon (around 4pm).

From the ferry pier in Ko Samui (I know it's not Nathon), the taxi driver offered to drive me to Moon Huts in Mae Nam for *drumroll*

500 frickin' baht.

I was too tired and hungry that I just nodded and got in. It's my consolation that the road to Moon Huts wasn't paved. Nyaha.

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Posted by Laura_B on 14/7/2006 at 15:39

Taxis are so cheap in Bangkok! I always asked for the meter, but would always tip, these guys generally did a good job.

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Posted by Tilapia on 15/7/2006 at 01:42

Tokyobelle, from the airport to the Banglamphoo or Samsen Districts, the metre usually clocks in at around B300, depending on when you go. I've made it for B250 in the early morning without taking the thruway. This is for about a 30-45 min. trip. If it's a busier time of the day, expect to pay around B300-B350 plus thruway fares (about another B50).

From KSR to Chatuchak or Morchit (about 20 min. on a good day), it's around B80-B100.

I always tip taxi drivers. It's not done in Thailand, and I'm not so sure that it should be encouraged, but I must say that I have only had one instance when the driver seemed to expect one (and he didn't get it). Otherwise, these guys will load your luggage, unload it, chat to you the whole way or stay quiet if you like, play any music you want ... or not ... etc. etc. etc. and only expect what's on the metre. Having been a volunteer in the country for a couple of years, receiving slightly more than a cab driver's average takehome pay, it's something I'm more than happy to do now.

For that matter, and this is not related to cabs or tuk tuks, the folks who work on the trains who take food orders ARE NOT paid any kind of salary or wage. They earn 15% of the total of peoples' food and beer orders. For overnight employees, when 19/20 passengers are sound asleep, the potential for earning is zilch. Many live on the trains where they work and when you pull into Bangkok from Surat Thani or Nong Khai or Chiangmai and head off to a guest house, they hunker down in the steaming hot station until it's time to go back again. So, don't be afraid to slip a B20 note (or larger) to the nice guys who come along and make your bed, pull down your sheets and fluff your pillow. Or to the pleasant ladies who take your food order and then bring you your overpriced fried rice. They earn as much, or less than the average cabbie.

I seem to have ranted ...


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