Taxis are a convenient and comfortable manner of travelling in Bangkok. They are very affordable compared to Western equivalents, use meters without exception, and are air-conditioned. You will never have to wait long for a taxi as there are so many of them travelling throughout the city. They can be flagged down on the street or called in advance if you would like them to pick you up from your house. The only time taxis are not practical is during rush hours when you risk being stuck in traffic for a long time – some particular stretches are notorious for jamming up during rush hours.
You can tell if a taxi is occupied or free by looking for the red sign in the corner of the front window. If the sign is lit, that means the taxi is available.
When flagging down a taxi, remember to keep your palm down and wave him in with your fingers. It’s considered bad manners to do otherwise.
Taxi fares start at 35 Baht and then increase pr. kilometer and time spent. The current rates are:
- Minimum fare: 35 Baht for first 2 Km
- Fare above minimum fare until 20 Km: 5 Baht/Km
- Fare above 20 Km: 5.5 Baht/Km
Taxi drivers usually do not speak much English so it’s good to practice a few Thai phrases first. You usually tell where you are going by naming either the main road of your destination and then the soi (Ex. Sukhumvit Soi 77) or a landmark (Ex. Emporium). Make sure you know exactly where you are going and always make sure that your driver understands you. It’s a good idea to take a map with you and the directions written in Thai, or at least the address.
Each colour of taxi represents a different company. If you find you like a certain driver, you can take his number and call him privately.
The largest companies are:
- Bangkok Taxi: +662 880 0880
- Bangmod Taxi: +662 870 6915
- Taxi Bangkok: +662 880 0450
- Union Taxi: +662 223 5582
- Veerawat Taxi: +662 214 4113
Don’t count on any of the taxi dispatchers to speak any English, but you probably won’t ever have to call one anyway since taxis are everywhere in Bangkok. If you need a taxi urgently and it’s late at night or in a desolate area, then it’s better to talk to a security guard or staff at any condo or apartment building.