After having my third ride in a bad taxi, I thought I would write about things you should know about thai taxis. This will probably only interest you if you are going to be an exchange student in Thailand, are going on vacation in Thailand, or if you like reading blogs about taxis.
Here's what I've learned from my experiences:
1. Avoid taking a taxi as much as possible
Take the skytrain, subway, or bus. Walk if you can. But only take a taxi if you must!
2. If you are alone or with just one other person, take a motorcycle taxi
Motorcycle taxis are cheaper, faster, and, as hard to believe as it may be, safer.
3. Always settle the price before getting in the taxi
This is super important! If you don't do this, you may end up yelling in english at a thai driver for trying to make you pay 6000 baht ($200) for driving 3 blocks. This rule applies to regular taxis, motorcycle taxis, and tuktuks.
4. Don't take a tuktuk
Yes, they are fun to try once and they are good if you want to have a personal tour guide around the city. But tuktuks are expensive, slow, and usually take you to an expensive shop that gives the driver free stuff if you shop there.
5. Listen to that little voice in the back of your head
If something about the taxi or driver makes your spidey-sense tingle, then trust that feeling. There are fake taxis that look very real and motorcycle drivers with similar vests to taxi drivers. (Real motor taxi drivers wear orange vests.) Keep a look out and get out of the taxi if something doesn't feel right.
6. Always get the number
Each taxi and motorcycle taxi driver has a number. In a taxi its on the drivers card and each motor taxi driver has a number on their orange vest. Remember this number so if something goes wrong or they try to scam you, you can report them. Tuktuks don't have a number but they do have a license plate so you can get that instead. (If there is no number don't get in/on the taxi.)
7. Know the right direction
Taxi drivers will tell you they know a place even if they don't. They just want to get you in the taxi so they can get paid. Plus many places have similar names (ex. Lumpini Park and Lumpini Center). So make sure you know which direction you should be going in to avoid being taken to the wrong destination.
That's about it! Not all taxis are bad but as a foreigner, you will be seen as easy to trick or confuse. So just to be safe, try to remember these rules if you are traveling in Thailand.
Till next time!