I just spent about a week in Bangkok and thought I’d pass along a few tips in the world of taxis in Bangkok. I want to preface this by noting that while I did take a lot of taxis over the last few days, I’m in no way an expert and this info is purely from my own perspective. I’d also like to point out that most of the advice I got about taking taxis was useless in practice.
Upon arrival in Bangkok we walked out to the taxi stand and were handed a printed flyer noting that meters are required by law in all taxis in Bangkok and to insist on the driver using the meter. Advice I read online also said to only ride in taxis that are using their meters. I don’t know if this is a new law or just one that is heavily resisted because through the entire trip, the one and only taxi who would use a meter was that first taxi from the airport. In all other cases the driver would just quote a price, and if we asked about the meter they would completely ignore the request. We passed on a few taxis because of this but realized quickly that if we actually wanted to get a ride in one we’d have to compromise.
Also, accepting an offer from a guy standing on the corner to get you a taxi is about the worst thing you can possibly do. We found in every case the broker taxis quoted much higher prices and always wanted to take us somewhere else. This includes the taxi guys who stand out in front of hotels. The solution that seemed to work best for us was to know where we wanted to go and offer the price we wanted to pay with the destination request. In almost all cases when talking directly to a driver this worked out flawlessly.
An example of this was this morning when we needed to get a ride to the airport. Since we had a meter taxi on the way in we know roughly what that ride should cost, the inbound ride cost us 300B. As we walked out of the hotel the street taxi brokers started yelling to us they would get us a taxi to the airport for only 600B. We replied that was way too much and we would only pay 300B. They scoffed, then came back with 500B. We continued to decline insisting that the ride should cost 300B and that was all we were willing to pay. They finally said fine and waved a taxi towards us. Luckily we thought to ask the driver about the cost and he said 450B. Bait and switch in effect. At the same time another taxi pulled up to drop some guests off at the hotel and we went to him directly “how much to go to the airport” “300B” “done!” we got in and paid him 400B when we got to the airport.
I think that unless you have much better luck than I do hoping to only ride in taxis with meters working is going to be problematic, and you’ll be much better off just knowing what you want to spend and offering that.