Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taxi Scams - Bangkok (Read this if you're coming here for vacations)

First of all, I must say that Thailand is a really not-too-bad country. I am loving the culture as well as the people here. I had been staying here for almost 2 months and all things are good so far. 

Enough for the introduction, let's go to the stories. MY stories. 3 different taxi drivers tried to cheat me 3 times in a row on 2 consecutive days. 

Scam 1:
I touched down again in BKK yesterday and as usual, I got a taxi from the airport. It all went well. The meter was on, the driver DID NOT "beat-around-the-bush" and he sent me directly and exactly to where I wanted. 

Once he stopped the car, he immediately turned off the engines (and the meter turned off as well). 

"Nung roi ha sip baht (150 baht)", he said. "Mai chai! Nung roi yii sip sam! (No! 113 baht!)", I exclaimed while taking out 100 baht bank note and coins from my wallet. He was shocked, and he snapped the 100 baht from me and drove away quickly. 

This is something new I experienced!

Lesson: Always keep your eyes on the meter as it goes. It might just helps you in time like this. 

Scam 2: 
I was taking some sourveniers to work today morning. So it's not convenient for me to take the Soong Diao (a type of local transportation, bigger than a tuk-tuk, normally costs about 6 - 8 baht) to work and hence, I get a taxi to work. 

This guy is a cliche one, he tried to bring me to another way, a much longer way. Lucky me that I know the place, I told him that I know the direction and please go as I said. He had no choice but to follow. 

Lesson: Learn about your location and destination. At least, you roughly know where you are even though you can't speak/stop them for bringing you around the destination. 

Scam 3:
Another cliche one.

I wanted to go to airport and fetch my colleague. So I got this taxi and went in it, telling him that I would like to get to Survanabhumi Airport. 

"Soong roi (200)", he said. 

"Mai daii (Cannot!)! Meter!"

Then only he use the meter. The actual fare is only 95 baht from my location to the airport. 

Lesson: Whenever you're in Thailand, ALWAYS insist on using the meter. You often lose on negotiated price when it comes to taxi. 

Some facts about taking 4-seater taxi from Survanabhumi Airport (I'm not sure about the other airports):
1) Whenever you get a taxi from the airport, there's a surcharge of 50 baht (excluding fare and toll). You MUST pay this amount. However, the 50 baht surcharge will not be implemented if you get the taxi from other places (outside airport region), and going to the airport. 

2) If you're taking taxi from airport to the town, you will experiece the below scenarios:
    a) The taxi driver will pay the toll first, and you will need to pay them the toll fee later on.
    b) The taxi driver will ask you to give them some money first (example: 100 baht), and when you reach your
        destination, they will give you back the change. 
    Shall you need receipt for toll, you may tell the driver "Bill/Check". They will get the toll receipt from the operator on 
    the way. IF I'm not mistaken, I don't recall getting any receipt for taxi fare though. 

3) Whenever you're taking a taxi, make sure you have SMALL CHANGE (100 baht or 500 baht). The taxi driver might not 
    be able to return the change to you if you're paying them 1000 baht. So, go get something from the stalls for small 
    change before leaving the airport. 

4) From the Survanabhumi Airport, the average travelling time to reach the city center (Silom Road, etc) are about 35-45 minutes [no traffic jam] and 45 - 90 minutes [or more, if during peak hours]. Schedule your arrival time and avoid peak hours. The taxi drivers usually drive at 120kmph whenever they can. 

5) Average taxi fare from Survanabhumi Airport to city center are about 220-300 baht (or a little bit more). Toll fare will be about 85 baht and gives you a total of 300 baht - 400 baht max (city center). 

Extra facts: 
You may also take the Airport Rail Link to the city from the Survanabhumi Airport if you dislike travelling by taxi. 

a) You may take the direct link from the Survanabhumi Airport to Mahkasan for a fee (sorry I don't have the price). 
b) You may take the normal train (stop by several stations) from Survanabhumi Airport Station to Phaya Thai Station roughly about 45-60 baht per person. From Phaya Thai Station, you will be able reach other parts of the city at different fares. 

Useful phrases
1) Hello/ Goodbye = Sawadeekrap (male speaker) / Sawadeeka (female speaker)
2) Sorry/Excuse me = Korthor krap/ka
3) Where is the toilet/washroom? = Hong naam yuu tii nai krap/ka
4) How many (quantity) = Tao-rai
5) How many baht/ How much = Gii-baht? 
6) Have/Don't have = Mi/mai mi
7) Want/Don't want = Aau/mai aau
8) Can/Cannot = Daii/mai daii
9) Cheap = tuuk (normally you won't want to say cheap when  you're bargaining, right?)
10) Expensive = Pheng
11) very very expensive = Pheng maak maak
12) thank you = krob khun krap/ka
13) station = Satanii

If you are looking for cheap hotels, Kao Shan Road is the best place to find when you're visiting Bangkok. It's averagely start from USD 11/night. I don't know what way you would like to book/find your hotels but, I had always been using www.agoda.com (nope they didn't pay me. I wish they would LOL). Agoda.com offers really great deals all over the world. (Again, they DID NOT pay me.) If you don't believe, you can try to check out the rates =) 

Hope these experiences of mine give you a better pleasure when you're visiting Thailand in the near future. =D

A colourful tuk-tuk placed at the entrance of MBK shopping center as tourist attraction.

Disclaimer: I am not bad-mouthing about Thailand, but just to raise awareness of our rights as tourists. Thailand is a great place, lots of fun and lots of good food. You will <3 Thailand. Do forgive me if there's any inaccurate information provided, I'm only a human. =D


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Më| §zë said...

thanks for the informative post kenny!

buttercup said...

Mei Sze: hehe.. you're most welcome =D

Tan Fang Chin said...

Just came back from Bangkok and kinda forgot you were there. Lol. Well, I always ask for meter before I hop on the cab

buttercup said...

LOL. It's okay. Yeah, that's the best policy. say no even if they offer cheaper! XD

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