- Opening taxi door
Every passenger needs to be very careful before opening a taxi door.
Make sure to look behind the car or taxi and watch out for motorbikes, cyclists and other cars before you open the door.
The passenger or the car owner is liable for all damages if the car door is open and another vehicle or motorbike hits the door, causing damages and injuries.
It is perfectly legal and normal in Thailand for motorbikes to drive and park in the spaces between cars, lanes and curb.
- Taxi driver English skill
Most taxi drivers in Thailand do not speak English. They will generally recognize the English name of some popular attractions if your pronunciation is understandable to them. However, be careful not to miscommunicate. If you encounter this situation, here are some suggestions:
- Have the location written in Thai and English. You may ask a hotel staff to help you write Thai. Most hotels have business cards at the front desk, usually in Thai and English. Make sure to grab the hotel business card before you head off. Whenever you need to come back to the hotel, you can just hand the business card to the taxi driver.
- Bring a smartphone and use Google Maps, or a physical map to point out the location.
- If you find a driver that is having a hard time understanding you, try a different taxi.
- Meter-taxi (price base on distance) vs non-meter taxi (fixed price)
Meter taxi: In general, majority of taxis in Thailand are meter-taxis. Meaning, you pay based on the distance you travel. If you do not want to spend double, triple or spend more money than you need to; stick with a meter-taxi.
Non-meter taxi: Non-meter taxis are allegedly illegal in Thailand because of huge amounts of complaints by tourists and locals; however, since they can make a lot more money with a fixed rate, there are still a good amount of non-meter taxis on the roads.
Non-meter taxis are usually parked in front of hotels, train stations and bus terminals. The drivers tend to be more aggressive to get your attention.
- Other Costs
Beside the meter fee, you are also responsible for any expressway toll fees.
The expressways are generally better roads with less traffic. They’re usually the faster route to travel than the regular roads. If you are in a hurry or you don’t want to be stuck in traffic, it is a good idea to pay the extra baht to zip through traffic.
Normally, the taxis driver will ask for your permission before going to the expressways.
Expressway fees vary from 25-50 baht; depending on the distance, you might need to go through 1 expressway, but for longer travel, you may end up going through multiple expressways and have to pay multiple fees.
If you’re coming from the airport:
50 TBH surcharge + Taxi fare
If you’re coming from the airport and use expressway:
50 THB surcharge + Expressway toll + Taxi fare
If you’re not coming from the airport:
Just the taxi fare
- How to wave / hail available taxi
If you see a red led light at the front glass on the passenger side, it means that taxi is available. If the red led light is off, it is not available.
When you see an available taxi, just stand on the side of the road away from the traffic and wave your hand.
Tipping a taxi driver or tipping in Thailand, in general is not necessary.
However, rounding up the fare to make it easier for you and the driver is normal. For example, if the cost was 151 baht, just pay 150 baht or if the cost was 95 baht, you can just hand over 100 baht.
- Taxi Colours
There are many different taxis colours in Thailand. Some are green, pink, blue, yellow, blue/red, orange and so on.
The colors represent the different companies and not the cost. All taxis charge the same rate for the distance traveled or time spent sitting in the taxi, except non-meter taxis; they charge you whatever they think they can get away with.
Personally, I don’t pick any particular color taxi; as long as they’re not a non-meter taxi with a fixed rate.
When possible, I like to pick newer looking taxis because they tend to be cleaner, better air condition, better sitting and generally more comfortable, but this is not always the case.
- Lost items
Make sure you always double-check the seats before you leave the taxi.
If you lost something in the taxi, assuming you have the taxi number written down or took a photo of it (the taxi number should be on a yellow plate next to the back doors), you may try calling the taxi company and ask if the driver found your lost item.
If you’re coming from the airport, you would have a piece of paper with the taxi driver’s information. Call the phone number located in that paper and tell them you left something inside that taxi. That is why you have to pay the 50 baht surcharge when boarding taxis in the airport, because stuff like this can happen.
- Reluctant drivers
There will be times when the driver refuses to take you or perhaps they want to charge you a fixed rate.
Maybe there’s too much traffic and the driver doesn’t want to take you. Perhaps you’re going somewhere close by and the fare is not high enough, or whatever the reasons; don’t worry, this happens sometimes – just look for another taxi.
- Washroom break
If you need to take a washroom break, grab something to eat, or whatever reasons you need to leave the taxi before you arrive at your destination.
Make sure you have at least one person you know in the taxi watching over your luggage and other belongings. If you are traveling alone, make sure you take all of your luggage and belongings with you.