Taxi scams, Bangkok
This was my 3rd trip to bangkok and i realized most of the taxi driver has changed and refused to go on metered and asked for flat rate. But 1 thing i would like to share is though some of them asked for flat rate, there are still kind ppl out there and they charge on flat rate could be due to difficult living and the terrible traffic condition in bangkok, etc.
My unforgettable experience was i flagged down a taxi from platunam area and it was raining and massive jam... the 1st taxi asked for very high rate and shouted on us 'get down from my car and take your luggage, FUXK U' when we were not agreed on the high flat rate that he offered and he has yet to move his car... then we subsequently flagged down another pink taxi (if im not mistaken) and he offered a reasonable flat rate so we take it. Along the way, i realized the picture shown in the license doesn't look like him so i asked and he told me he rented the taxi for night shift... then when we have arrived our hotel (I-Residence in silom) and paid him the rate that both have agreed then he left. After 10 mins in the hotel, then only i realized i left my bag consist my passport, wallet and iphone5 under the front passenger seat. I almost fainted as the next day i need to go back to my country and i have no passport now... But based on our previous short communication with him while in the taxi, my sense tells me that he is a kind person and therefore i have good faith on him and believing he will return my bag to me if he see it before other passenger see it... so i waited outside the hotel for 5 mins and he really came back to return the bag to me... but due to i have yet to recover from previous trauma and i don't have much cash with me,,, i gave him a very little tipping for his kindness which make me feel so regretted till now... wish him good luck and good returns ahead...
Just back from Bangkok. This is my third trip there and just like everyone there, I have encountered my share of the taxi scams there. But I have to said that there are still many good and honest drivers around beside the bad eggs I have met. My past experiences taught me how to handle the rogue taxi driver and the only time I felt I was cheated was at China Town. We waved down a few taxi but they refused to take us to our destination. It was probably due to the very bad traffic. There was finally a taxi who stopped and agreed to take us back to our hotel. When we were in the taxi, he quoted me a price of 200 baht! I actually want to bargain with him, if not successful left the taxi. But seeing the tired look of my wife and young daughter, I decided to pay the quoted price as it was still not "extortion" price. I guessed the trip was around 150 bahts based on the very bad traffic jam to the hotel. I have taken 8-9 taxi trips this time round and only 1 time was not a very good experience. The rest were actually honest and happy rides. Few tips to share if you do not wish to be overcharge:
1. Never take taxi park outside place of interest and hotels. They are ready to slaughter you! Flag down any travelling taxi at the road. They are likely to be metered taxi.
2. Always tell the taxi driver your destination along with the word "Meter". If he disagrees, get out of the taxi and board another one. There are plenty around.
3. Never trust lowly quoted flat price by the taxi drivers. They are bringing you to places where they can earn big fat commision from you. Common places are gem shops and restaurants.
4. Remember the word "Big Buddha". Once any taxi driver want to bring you to see "Big Buddha", kindly decline. Good chance he is bringing you to a lesser known wat (temple) and then to the gem shops or cut throat restaurant.
We have just come back from Bangkok and used the taxis on 3 occasions. The first was from the airport to downtown Bangkok. We went to the taxi counter outside and told the young lady which hotel we were going to. She pulled over a taxi driver and informed him of our destination. When we got into the taxi he implied if we wanted fixed price or meter. We told him "meter please" so he turned it on. We asked him to take the expressway and we paid the tolls as we came to them. On our arrival at the hotel he added the airport surcharge of 50 bahts to the meter price and we paid him.
The next use of the taxi was when we had to get to the railway station from our hotel. Across from the hotel was a taxi rank so we approached the taxi to take us to the station using the meter. He flatly refused to use the meter and told us it would cost 200 bahts. We refused and had not walked more than 20 yards when another taxi stopped and took us to the station with the meter on. The cost was just 75 bahts.
Our last issue with taxis was when we had to get from a different hotel back to the airport. At the taxi rank outside the hotel a driver told us it would cost 500 bahts all in. We refused and started to walk away and then he relented. He initally forgot to turn on the meter until we reminded him. He used the meter, we paid 75 bahts on 2 toll booths and the price on the meter was 250 bahts.
The moral of the story is " Only use taxis that use their meters. Make sure they switch them on. And if they dont, walk away, there will be someone else to take the trade"
I have travelled too and within Thailand for twenty years now. I love the country and the people there. Like everywhere there are good and bad people. The first lesson I learnt about Taxis is only use a metered one. If you are booking one from a reputable hotel ask at the reception desk if can thay recommend one. Often it may be a family or friends Taxi, usualy when it arrives thay will take down the number and driver details and keep them untill you return or phone to say all is well. Agree where you are going before you get in, as often the metered fare is fair as long as the driver can expect to get another one from where you are going too. I have when going way out arranged a price for the day, like a private hire deal as the driver has to earn his/her living its not a holiday for them.Respect and be fair to the driver.I have had a few bad experiences with taxi drivers,driving the long way round, trying to up the price, wanting to turn off the meter after midnight, wanting to take you to a resturant or to the sevices of a lady of the night. But remember this your in Bangkok not London or New York, you are the forigner. Allways , allways be polite and calm you still can be firm in the way you talk but be respectful. I have had by far more good experiences from taxi drivers including a lovely mature lady driver. Many did not expect a tip or did not want to take a tip often I just leave in the door well as I step put. I have never had a bad experience where the taxi and driver show the Buddist symbols and white markings inside the car.Many will try to help you and can talk some English. For you try to learn a smuttering of Thai, it will no dout amuse the driver but more to the point it show you are trying to learn their about them and there culture. For me I have had many a interesting chat and leannt much this way. If not able to chat a smile and a good demenure will help. Remember the driver can have a bad day too, fall out with the wife, kids playing up, a big bill arrive and more recently the Western Desease of stress. Many Taxis plying for less fares with tourest numbers down whilw fuel, taxi rent and housing prices on the forever rise . So like anywhere be carefull but allso enjoy and learn. But never , never argue, barter a little yes, do not shout or scream if you do lose it just remember you may lose more than a few Baht. Never let the Thai loose face, thay can with each other but not with a forigner. Yes the some of the Police are corrupt but many more are helpfull buy again never be angry or disrectfull to them, you will not win and will do yourself or other forigners any good. Try to be an ambassador for what is good about us westerners, be calm , respectfull and tolerant and you will more than enjoy your visit to such a beatifull , lovely country and people.
My friends and I, 2 girls and a guy, were looking for a cab to bring us to the Taling Chan floating market. We were scouting for a cab for the longest time outside the Grand palace to take us there using meter. We were approached by this guy at the Grand palace and he promised to bring us to the floating market with meter. Once we got into his cab, he was over enthusiastic and called to a "friend" and said will "take care" of us. He drove for 2 hours to a deserted place where his friend is to a boat which said would lead us to the floating market. When we realised that it was a scam, we quickly got back into the cab and insisted we go back to the city. His friend keep coaxing us to stay but we quickly got back into the taxi and closed the door, so they could not bring us any place else. The taxi driver got angry and screamed at us claiming that we did not go to the floating market. We insisted he drive us back to the city and he finally did. We boarded the cab at 1.30p.m. at the Grand palace and reached back to city, Siam Square at 5.45p.m.
When we reached the city, we did not want to pay the amount of THB $1600 (Singapore $60). He ran out of the cab and grabbed my friend and refused to let go. By then, my friend and I were screaming at him and he keep insisting for us to pay. Just then a police came along and we told him the story. We explained that the taxi driver was cheating us and we are not going to pay him. The police and the taxi driver could not speak English well so it was to out disadvantage. The police just stood there and whispered " Can I see your passport?" " You must pay." But most of the times, he just stood there and looked at us with blinking eyes! I think he was scared because we and the scammed taxi driver were having a very heated argument at this point. We refused to show our passports or go to the police station because our flight was in 3 hours time. The taxi driver told the police that we asked him to drive very far away! But we didn't! We even showed the police the place we wanted to go in Thai!We were so mad and seeing that the police did nothing to help and we had a flight to catch, we paid the taxi driver! We did not even go to our destination and who would have known what would have happened if he went on that boat!
Later that day, we found out that Tha Chang (the ferry pier near the Grand Palace) costs THB$9 to get to the floating market and its near the Grand palace, taking only less than 30 mins!
When we left the cabbie asked us to return him his card. I think he feared us reporting him. I later read on other websites to take picture of the cab and the cabbie if necessary to protect yourself. I would have done that. There is no one there to help you, even the useless police.
We had a very bad experience with the driver of a pink taxi. We came from Siam Paragon and was having a hard time finding a taxi that would use the meter, so we agreed to the flat rate of 150 baht that the driver charged us with.
The taxi driver was irritable from the heavy traffic, and was driving very fast when he got the chance. Upon arriving at our hotel, he did not see the first door (probably because of his speed) where the hotel lobby was. Instead, he went straight ahead to the next wing where there was no bridge to the main lobby. My brother who was sitting beside him called his attention (nicely) and told him that we were supposed to get off at the first door. It was roughly only 20 to 30 steps away from where he stopped, and he was also going to pass it on his way out of the hotel premises. It was raining so we thought we would just get off at the lobby for us not to get wet. He angrily shouted "200 baht! 200 baht!" and stepped on the gas so hard to make a U turn. Startled with his outburst, I sternly told the driver that we would just get off right there, and that he should not treat tourists so rudely. My brother, after being shouted at, slammed the car door as he got off. The taxi driver did not stop there. He too, got off the car, and opened the trunk. He took his tire wrench and was supposed to attack my brother with it! The hotel guards stopped him just in time and asked him to leave. While driving out the hotel premises, he left a threat to us that he will be watching us and waiting for us outside. I was able to get the taxi's plate number from the guard. It is a hot pink taxi and the plate numbers looks something like "NS4521" (the NS was written with curves? I guess it is in Thai? Sorry I'm really clueless, but I kept the paper with the plate number that the guard gave me).
It is only our 3rd day here in Bangkok, and we have so far rode taxis around four times. The first time was from the airport where we were charged 500 bhat. We had no problem with that since the driver just went about his business and was professional. It was a blue taxi. The second, third, and fourth time were all pink taxis, wherein not once had it been a good experience for us. For the second taxi that we rode, the driver told us that the mall we wanted to go to had closed early, and that it would be better to just have dinner somewhere near the night markets. He then suggested a "cheap and good" seafood restaurant, so we agreed. When we arrived, we noticed that the prices were ridiculously high, and later on, upon reading the same stories on the web, realized that we were scammed.
The same thing was offered to us by the next taxi driver (also of a pink taxi). Since we already knew better, we declined his offer and just made up an excuse.
Now, the last taxi that we rode had the rudest and meanest taxi driver that I had ever encountered in my entire life! These 3 encounters all from pink taxis had made me wonder if this is a common practice among them.
I really lost all the excitement I had for Thailand tonight. Shouldn't they be doing something about these taxi drivers if they really want to promote tourism in their country?
I am really looking forward to flying home next week. I believe this has by far been the worst vacation I have ever had. I have never been scammed and treated so rudely so many times in a row! My Bangkok vacation has turned out to be very frustrating, disappointing, and infuriating,
If you have friends or relatives who are coming to Bangkok, please warn them about this particular taxi driver. Also, please ask them to read about the different scams that some locals trick the clueless tourists into. Please pass this email to your friends and family. It is best to come prepared and aware, so as to avoid these kinds of experiences. Thailand sure has plently of things to offer, but if this comes with visiting their country, I think I would rather not return unless needed, and would not recommend friends and family to come and visit too.
Article Publied in Bangkok Post 27 March 2010
Tens of thousands of taxis roam the streets of Bangkok at any given time of the day or night.
They compete for the right to service passengers, which is good in that it offers more choice.
However, many observers believe that overall service standards have declined since deregulation of the industry ushered many more taxis onto city streets.
Before 1992 the number of cabs in Bangkok was capped at 13,500 vehicles for fear the streets would become too clogged.
Under this strict limitation, taxi registration plates were like gold, costing even more than the cars for anyone wanting to enter the business.
But as the city's population grew, the government came under pressure to lift the limit.
Since the industry was deregulated in 1992, the Land Transport Department has registered 80,000 taxis, of which 60,000 are constantly on the move to find passengers.
This free-for-all policy ended the problem of insufficient taxis, but in the process created new ones.
In the past the behaviour of drivers could be better kept in check by the department because there were fewer taxis and they tended to be more established. It's not the case today. The number of drivers and vehicles has grown far beyond the capability of the department to monitor them.
With it has brought crime and unethical practices of unmitigated proportions, obliterating reports of honest and professional drivers.
In addition to waves of complaints about poor service and driving standards, many passengers tell horror stories of rape and robbery, while murder and extortion of foreign tourists is not unknown.
Topping the list of complaints to the department's call centre is the refusal of drivers to accept a fare.
Chairat Sa-nguanchue, the department's director-general, concedes there are just too many taxis for the agency to control. "The liberalisation of the taxi policy was successful in the sense that it led to new services. But other problems have arisen. And that has put Thai taxis far below the standard of taxis in other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and England," Mr Chairat says.
The new services include a requirement for fares to be charged by meter instead of the old practice when passengers had to bargain with the driver. A vehicle's lifespan is set at nine years to force old taxis off the roads. The regulations apply to the main yellow and green taxis driven by the owners as well as taxis of other colours run by small firms on a cooperative basis. Each cooperative has a different colour.
Qualified drivers are required to be at least 25 years old, possess a public transport driver's licence, learn the code of conduct and receive training on taxi driving skills. But many companies ignore the rules as they are desperate to find anyone who is available to drive their vehicles rather than leave them sitting idle and losing money in a garage.
The Siam Taxi Cooperative estimates that only half of all drivers are qualified. "Many owners do not ask for a licence and other information from those coming to rent their cars because they fear losing money," said Siam Taxi chairman Vitoon Naewpanitch, who drives as well as runs a taxi business.
One of the main problems is that many drivers will refuse a fare if the destination is clogged by traffic because they know the authorities will not go after them for breaking the rules, he said.
It is the duty of the department to make sure the rules are adhered to. Mr Chairat said officials are regularly sent to monitor firms and individual owners. But with a task force of just 80 officials, it is impossible to undertake thorough checks.
Taxi drivers who fail to meet the requirements are blacklisted and their cooperatives receive a warning before action is taken, including the most severe measure of a complete ban on its operations, he said.
When a crime is committed in a taxi, police from all units are required to help the department as its officials have no arrest authority. "This problem needs the cooperation of all agencies."
A new meter to be installed in taxis was launched this year and the department is hoping it will kill the practice of drivers using longer routes to pad out fares. The meter will issue a receipt with the fare, distance and time of the ride.
The department once floated the idea of installing a driver compartment in the taxis for the safety of passengers and drivers, but it faced strong opposition from taxi firms which did not want to invest more in their vehicles.
Mr Vitoon said the department alone cannot tackle the problem of ruthless drivers and poor service.
Jear Youtamnat, a veteran driver who was plying his trade before liberalisation policies were introduced, bemoaned the falling driving standards. "Part of the problem is they compete fiercely for passengers as there are too many taxis in Bangkok now," the 63-year-old said. "Unlike the old days, now there is no sympathy, even among drivers themselves," he said.
be carefull if arriving at MOCHIT bus station north of bangkok if you arriving from Changrai or Changmai because the official taxi touts with yellow vests will cheat you.I was quoted 1000 baht for a journey to my hotel which turned out was only 2 kms away.I eventually knocked them down to 400 baht but they would not accept less. when I reached the hotel it was near a sky train station only 2 stops from MOCHIT!
I have met my fair share of taxi drivers trying NOT to go via meter and try to stick me with an inflated taxi fare, especially when night falls and you are returning to the hotel late. I usually slam the door shut and walk off and find the next available taxi, not that there are any shortage!
I am no push-over tourist and you shouldn't be too, no matter how strong your currency is compared to the local currency. (Incidentally, I was chatised once for remarking on this which I find most amusing. The case was made for "aiding the locals". Well, what can I say? There are folks who are utterly and philanthropically generous....chuckle!)
Also, watch out for the Tuk-tuks. It has never happened to me but my friends had suffered in their hands. Instead of driving them to the requested location, the Tuk-tuk driver sent them to shops that they had commissions with and tried to get them to buy items off these shops. My friends were pretty much chagrined and enraged and refused to part a single cent. They pretty much swore off all Tuk-tuks in Bangkok thereafter. However, not all Tuk-tuk drivers are unscrupulous though so exercise your judgement.
First Photo: Taxi with Taxi meter
Second photo: Taxi with Taxi meter
Third photo: Taxi with Taxi meter
Forth photo: Taxi with Taxi meter
Fifth photo: Taxi with Taxi meter
I just spent eight days in Bangkok and due to the extreme heat I opted to take Taxi's around the city, as this is a very cheap way to get around when compared to other places.
Daily I found myself having to repeatedly insist that the cabbie turn on the meter. Most would pull away once you got in and never turn on the meter. Often I would ask the driver to turn the meter on and he would completely ignore me, acting as if he hadn't heard me. So I would insist more forcefully that he turn on the meter, then they would try and quote me a flat rate, which was often three or four times the metered price. I'm normally pretty laid back and take things in stride but after eight days of fighting with dishonest drivers my patience was starting to wane.
Add into this that most carry no change, or claim to not have any change so if you don't carry a lot of small bills and change, expect to pay more than the meter.
In eight days I think I had one honest driver who immediately turned on the meter and made change for me, but I told him to keep it as it was nice to find an honest driver.
It's not the money that matters as with exchange rates the scams were in reality only a couple dollars at best. Not a big deal. It’s just the principle of it.
After eight days of scam artists and few honest people, I was more than ready to leave the city.
If you take cabs in Bangkok, Always insist the meter be turned on and carry plenty of small bills.
I benefitted alot from this website and would like to contribute my latest surprise.
Came back from bangkok yesterday. Upon arrival with my hubby, we headed for public taxi stand as many advised. We were given a chit, metered taxi with 50baht surcharge. Fair enough. We got up the taxi (plate number attached), my mistake was not checking on the meter thinking that its supposed to be metered as stated. The driver started up the highway and broke it to us he wans 400baht. I asked for meter, he says spoil. We politely ask to get out. He got fed up and on the meter and slowed the taxi to 40km/h!! He stated this is the speed we will get for 'metered' taxi. What a rude shock. We offered him 300baht. He clearly showed he wasnt happy but accepted telling us to pay toll, he sped up to 80km/h. He took us thru 2 tolls (40+35 baht) (we only needed to go thru 1 toll (35baht) on our way back to airport upon our return). Our hotel was at Pratunam area. He was smart to counter us asking for meter by slowing down so be prepared.
Throughout our 7 day stay, my husband really was hesitant to take taxi. It's not money, it's just having to face such a situation. Luckily we stayed pratunam so we walked.
We asked a taxi driver to pick us to airport. She said ok but never turned up. Time agreed was 6am. Phone number given was incorrect.
Dear travellers, please take note of the cab rides.
NEVER trust a taxi driver to bring you to your intended destination. This is especially if you are headed to a RESTAURANT, A SHOP, MASSAGE PLACE or anywhere where you intend to spend money. Even with instructions to your destination written in Thai, road map, etc, will not help.
Most taxi drivers will pretend to be blur or confuse about directions. But trust me, they know exactly where you want to go with 100% certainty..... the period where they exhibit a momentary lapse of memory is when they are thinking of which alternative (imitation place) of the destination you intend to go.
1. The basic rule in Bangkok is that there are fake everything and buyers beware.
2. Never ever trust your taxi driver to bring you to the place you want to go for FOOD, SHOPPING, or ANYTHING RELATED TO AN EXPENDITURE (MASSAGE, RESTAURANTS, etc). This is inspite of giving them specific directions written in Thai.
3. The problem is, for every famous place, there is an imitation (eg the famous Somboon Restaurant versus the fake Somboondee Restuarant). All taxi drivers will automatically bring you to the fake places period (regardless of instructions in Thai / English, etc). They are paid 30% commission on every dollar you spend.
4. All fake places charge at least 5x - 10x the price of the original places.
5. I had a simple seafood dinner consisting of 800grams crab, 900gram Fish/Seabass, a fried rice and a plate of vegetables (Kangkong / Morning Glory). The cost came out to a shocking 7,000 bahts. The correct price should probably be only about 800 baht to 1,000 bahts in Bangkok.
6. Even the restaurant owners will lie to you upon being confronted. They will lie about the road / location they are on, the name of the restaurant, etc.
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At Least Do This: Use a credit card to pay if you suspect of being scam. Then deliberately sign under a different name or initials. Upon receiving the bill, tell your credit card company that you didnt sign for that bill. One scam deserves another scam!! The only people who loose out are the original scammers as the credit card company will back charge the restaurant or shopping place.
Alternative: Always take the sky train or MRT if you intend to go to any restaurant or shopping places. Make sure you have a photo of the place you want to go to.......otherwise be prepared to be brought to a fake location where prices are easily 5X to 10x of the origional.
With the busy traffic in Bangkok and the speed that is being used, please make sure your taxi has a safety belt. We were caught out the moment you wanted to put one on....tell your hotel doorman before he gets you a taxi!
After the Skyrail closed I was looking for a taxi to get home at 2 a.m.
My first taxi trip in Bangkok.
The driver was waiting at the wheel outside a hotel in Sala Daeng, I asked him how much to Nana.
He put up two fingers and said "Two" he acted like he knew very little English.
I thought he meant 200 baht but had no idea how much taxis charged in Bangkok.
When I got to Nana I gave him a 1000 baht note and he looked at me confused and said, "No, two!" and demanded 2000 baht. I didn't want to cause a scene and assumed after the Skyrail closed taxi drivers probably up their fees as it did seem expensive compared to everything else I bought in Bangkok.
I was taken for a ride alright, after checking out this site I see it should've cost about 200 baht.
Left me with a sour taste in my mouth for Bangkok.