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Using a taxi in Bangkok Thailand
The easiest method of getting around the city of Bangkok is to use one of the thousands plentiful taxi’s available. Basically there are four main operators within Bangkok, but there are also others. All are easily distinguishable as each uses its own colour livery on its vehicles. The common ones to look for are coloured yellow/green, orange, blue and even bright pink!
All taxi’s are licensed and carry the picture and identification of the driver along with its own number clearly displayed outside and within the compartment of the taxi, along side the number for customer protection help centre telephone 1584 this being your assurance if you encounter any problem. All taxi’s are air conditioned sometimes too cold and smoking is not permitted.
It is an easy matter to obtain a taxi at anytime of the day or night, either you can ring for one yourself to your hotel room if you know the number or alternatively you can get someone to do for you. Remember using this method will incur an additional small charge of 20 baht, which will not be recorded on the meter, but is a normal practice. To avoid this charge you can flag an empty taxi down in the street or approach a parked up taxi with a driver. The procedure is to simply to open the rear door and state destination, and agree price then simply jump in.
Importantly check that the driver sets the meter on commencement of journey and note that the meter will be set to start at 35 baht. The driver will not use toll roads within Bangkok without your permission and will only do so on your instructions if you were in a hurry etc. Note the cost will not be registered on the meter and your driver may ask for payment as you approach a toll booth. These costs are small typically around 30 baht.
Journeys around Bangkok are typically around 100 to 200 baht longer journeys will obviously be more. If you knowledge of the city or your Thai is limited or non existent it is always an idea to carry about your person written in Thai your place of departure to make it easy for anyone to understand on your return, within a short distance it is very easy to become disorientated and loose one’s bearings and forget how to get back.
Tipping is not expected to taxi drivers in Bangkok but obviously if your driver has been exceptionally helpful and friendly it can be a good gesture, a tip is if you are more than happy with your driver ask for his mobile to use again. This can be useful if you wish to negotiate a longer journey without a meter at some point in the future. Sometimes a driver will wait for you several hours whilst you visit an attraction or venue. Everything can be negotiated with some drivers, if at anytime you feel pressured to go anywhere with the driver you not want simply ask the driver to stop and disembark, but this would be very rare. Be aware that tuk tuk’s a three wheeled motor bike off sorts is completed different and is only used by tourists for fun and short hops around the city. Note these are not subject to the same regulations of regulated taxi.
Always check before leaving the taxi that you have not left any personal items in the taxi, as it would be near impossible to have any items returned to you.