This is quite possibly the biggest complaint people have about Bangkok.  They have a great time partying, shopping, and meeting women.  But getting ripped off by taxi drivers is something that really irritates people.

So this post will focus on, “How to NOT get ripped off by taxi drivers

For those of you who have never been to Thailand, there are two kinds of taxi drivers.  Those that honestly follow the taxi meter in the car and those who look for foreigners and refuse to use the taxi meter.  The later of the two try to charge the foreigner up to 10 times the amount of what it should cost.

Here is a quick guide on how to always (almost) get a fair price on a taxi in Bangkok.

Bangkok Airport:

We’ve written about this before.  When you are at the Bangkok airport and leave the baggage claim, you will be bombarded by taxi drivers asking you where you are going.  Ignore this and proceed to the bottom floor of the airport following the sign, “Public Taxi”

The “public taxi” will add an additional 50 baht (1.50usd) to the taxi meter and the cost of the highway tolls will be your responsibility.  (70 baht / 2.30usd)

However, you will ALWAYS save money using the “public taxi” at the Bangkok airport.

In Bangkok City:

This is where the problems begin.  Often when you try to get a taxi, the driver will tell you a flat price based on your destination, refusing to use the meter.  (This is something that Thai people rarely have to deal with.)

Whether you are going to the mall, a restaurant, or a nightclub, this will happen quite a bit.

How To Get The Taxi Driver To Charge By the Meter:

If you are in a high tourist area like Khao San Road, Asoke, or Nana Plaza – all the taxi drivers that are parked on the side of the road will never charge by the meter.  You want to get a taxi as it is driving the direction you want to go.

This is what you do:
Step 1- You will need to walk one or two streets past the tourist area.

Step 2- Stand on the side of the road with your hand out.

Step 3- The taxis will pull over.

Step 4- Open the driver’s side passenger door and say, “Taxi Meter”

Step 5- If taxi driver nods or says yes, get in the back seat and tell the driver your destination.

If he says no, close the door and wait for another taxi.  The wait for another taxi won’t be that long, normally under a minute.

Notes About Getting Taxi Drivers To Use The Meter:

1- During rush hour (4pm – 6pm), there are many places that taxi drivers won’t drive to because of the huge amount of traffic.  In this case you are better off using the BTS (train system).

2- There are places that even I can’t get taxi driver to use the meter.  This almost always happens around 2:30am when RCA closes.  At this time there are hundreds of drunken people trying to get a taxi.  Expect to pay a flat charge of 200 – 400 baht to go anywhere (6usd – 12usd)

3- There are a few nightclubs in Bangkok that give the taxi a commission for bringing customers.  If you are heading to one of these places than the taxi driver will take you for free.  The clubs include: Insanity, Climax, Bossy, Spicy, Mixx, and Bash.  (Basically, all the hooker clubs)

4- If you are staying at a nice hotel, call down to the reception and have them arrange a taxi for you.  Most 4 and 5 star hotels will have this service for free.  And they will arrange the taxi to charge by the meter.

The Good News:

Even if you get ripped off by a taxi driver, the amount isn’t that much.  Most of the time the taxi driver will only try to overcharge by one or two hundred baht (3usd – 6usd).  Although if you are like me, it’s more of a principle thing than the actual cost.

Follow our plan and 99% of your taxi trouble in Bangkok will disappear.