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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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4 Useful Tips to Remember When Using Bangkok Taxis – Be Taxi Savvy

Here're some useful tips you might like to keep in mind when hopping into a taxi in Bangkok.


The Colours of the Rainbow

If you've been to Thailand before, you may have noticed that the taxis there come in all sorts of colour variations, from uni-colour ones in a variety of hues such as hot pink and bright orange, to dual-colour ones sporting a mix of shades such as orange-yellow and blue-red. What does this all signify, you ask? Well for all purposes and intent they differentiate between company-owned cabs and those owned privately, sometimes by the cab driver themselves. They all operate in more or less in the same manner. However, some people do say that they prefer the dual coloured green-yellow taxis, as they indicate that the cab is owned by the driver. This is more likely to mean that that the cab will be better maintained, and so on. So the next time you're looking to flag a taxi down, and see a swarm of them sporting all colours of the rainbow, you'll be better informed as to what the colour codes really mean. If all you're after is a quick lift, however, you don't really need to worry about the colour of the taxi.


Are They Taken?

There're certainly plenty of things to do around Bangkok, and so you'll always be in a hurry to get to your next stop and make the most of your vacation; but before you flag down a taxi, how can you tell if they are free or taken? Don't worry, there's no need to desperately try to discern if passing by cabs are carrying passengers inside, or face the embarrassment of frantically flailing your arms around akimbo on the side of the road while trying to woo a cabbie who's already taken. There's an easier way to tell. Just check for the presence of a glowing red sign which will usually be located in the front passenger seat. The sign usually reads the equivalent of 'free' in the Thai language and indicates that the taxi driver is on the prowl for their next hire.


What Are the Options?

Except for when it's pouring cats and dogs, one of the easiest and quickest ways to get a taxi is to just hail one from the side of the road, given the vast number of them that you can find driving through the roads of Bangkok at any one time. However, one can also pre-book a taxi using a taxi service via a telephone hotline or a mobile app taxi app. Note that some of these services do charge a small booking fee. If you're staying at one of the capital's many hotels and resorts such as AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel or any other, another option would be to request the front desk or concierge to ring up a cab service for you. Many of these established hotels also have their own car services that you could make use of, which can cost quite a bit more than just catching a taxi off the street, but may have a lot more to offer in terms of safety, comfort and cleanliness.


Last but Most Certainly Not Least

Taxi drivers in Thailand are required by law to use meters during hires so that passengers don't have to deal with unreasonable cab fares at the end of the journey, and to also reduce disputes over fares between both parties. However, many drivers may require a polite, but a firm nudge in the right direction when it comes to actually turning the meters on, especially if they perceive that you might be a naive tourist who is largely ignorant of this rule. So do make sure to request the driver to refresh and start the meter at the beginning of your trip. If the cabbie insists on trying to barter over fares with you and refuses to turn on the meter, then you're better off disembarking and finding another cab that will follow the rules.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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