Although you might have come across various claims online about Thailand taxis’ safety, We can assure you that taking a taxi in Bangkok is one of the safest and most convenient ways of travelling around the city. You just need to pay attention to the taximeter and be aware of the scam tricks to avoid all the problems.
With that being said, here are the common scams, risks and problems of Bangkok taxi and how to avoid them
1. Rip Off Drivers
The most common issue faced with many tourists are drivers charging way more than the actual cost as indicated by the taximeter. All the taxis in Bangkok operate on a meter, except the private and app-based taxis like Grab where the fee will be discussed and displayed prior to the transportation.
To avoid this, make sure the taximeter reads THB 35 when you get in the taxi as this is the beginning rate of a public cab. Avoid any driver that refuses to use the meter at all cost.
2. Taking Long Routes
Besides the heavy traffic in Bangkok, travelling from one place to another in the city shouldn’t take more than 30-40 mins. However, some taxi drivers will deliberately drive out of the way to increase the fare.
To avoid this, make sure you have a general idea of how long and how far it will take to reach your destination. Using a GPS or checking the map beforehand is a good way to get the idea.
3. Out of The Way Stops
Just like any other tourist cities, some taxi drivers in Bangkok are affiliated with the local shops such as jewelry stores, tailor shops, travel agencies, etc. in which they get extra commissions for bringing in customers. Therefore what some of the drivers will do is take you elsewhere other than your destinations to these places in order to earn some extra money.
To avoid this, make sure to insist the driver to just focus on reaching the destination. If you are still taken to any of these places, just don’t buy anything as they are usually overpriced.
4. Drivers Not Taking Customers
Another problem that you may encounter while trying to catch a taxi in Bangkok is drivers who are rude and won’t pickup new passengers. This mainly happens during the busy hours where there’s a lot of traffic jam and destination where you want to go is either too far or not profitable for them.
To avoid this, you can either book a cab directly via an app like Grab or wait for a new one to arrive. Taxis are pretty easy to find in the city, especially if you’re at a major location, say at the mall.
5. Beware of The Airport Taxi
This is exclusively for those who are going to use taxi to travel out of the airport. Just like any other taxis in major airports, the fare is often higher compared to the normal price.
To avoid getting scammed at the airport, we recommend you to either take the official taxi directly from the transportation desk located at the arrival terminal on level-2, take the metered taxi at the level-1, or book a reliable private one to take you to city center.
6. Lone Females Are At Risk
Last but not least, taking a taxi as a lone female traveler isn’t 100% safe. Although it’s not common to face any problem travelling alone as a female, Thai drivers can be creepy, suggestive, prying and sometimes a total pervert, as reported by this case.
To avoid or get out of this situation, just try not to engage in any weird conversation with the driver. Act as if you’re busy using your phone and avoid travelling at night. For safety, make sure to take a picture of the driver’s information that’s located in the front passenger seat (this is available to all public taxi in Thailand) so you can report to your friends or even call the police.