Getting around Thailand is a major issue for the tourist. Public transportation is underdeveloped, and in the forms in which it is available, is often not trusted by foreigners. Thais can easily transport their animals, such as goats, in buses and sung teos. Tuk-tuks, although as mobile as possible, still leave much to be desired in terms of comfort: the open sides guarantee road dust and exhaust fumes, and in rainy weather - even dirt. In general, transport in Thailand is a real disaster. You often can't do without a cab in Thailand.
Tourist, of course, can always rent a car or a bike. However, firstly, for this you need to have the right to drive, and secondly - the desire to be immersed in an absolutely chaotic traffic, which is regulated not so much by the rules as by the established customs of Thai drivers. For this reason, many tourists choose to travel by cab. Today in the field of passenger transportation there is a certain competition, thanks to which you can always find a more or less satisfactory on the money option.
Cab in Thailand
If we talk about cabs in the strict sense of the word, in Thailand, they come in three kinds:
- municipal cab;
- cab private companies for the transportation of passengers and goods;
- private individuals working for themselves.
Cabs in Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, as well as all over Thailand, are licensed activities. In theory, the state guarantees the required level of training for drivers and a certain level of safety for passengers.
The municipal cabs are called Taxi Meter. You can spot them by the inscription on the roof of the car. The distinctive feature of municipal cabs is the presence of a meter - that's why they are called that. However, the meter is not always on, and tourists should insist on paying by the meter if they want accuracy in the calculation of the trip.
You should keep in mind that a metered cab is always cheaper in Thailand than a fixed-rate cab. On the other hand, there is a kind of cab fraud, such as making a detour, i.e. when they take you not by the shortest route, but by a detour in order to get more money for the meter.
In general, as with everything else in this country, in dealing with cab drivers should be careful and attentive. At the same time, when communicating, do not allow rudeness or raising your voice.
In Thailand, there are many private companies that provide passenger transportation services:
- Some of them serve one or more neighboring communities.
- Others are geared for transfers and have airport parks.
- Thirds are represented by pan-Asian networks with branches all over the country.
Today almost all transport companies have their own Internet sites: it is easy to search for a cab remotely. You can order a car not only by phone, but also using messengers (Viber, WhatsApp), e-mail, a form of communication on the website. As in any other country, in Thailand you can use the services of a private driver, who may not be engaged in transportation on a permanent basis, but will not refuse a few hundred baht, especially if it is on the way.
The work of global cab ordering services, such as Uber and Grab Taxi in Singapore, is also noteworthy. Despite the fact that the carriers operating through these services were subjected to restrictive regulations back in 2014, these applications operate within Thailand's tourist areas. As elsewhere, global passenger transportation services are dumping prices. For example, a ride from Pattaya to Bangkok with Kiwitaxi will cost from $42 or more. Uber offers such a trip for $35.
Tuk-tuks and moto-sai
In the classical sense, neither tuk-tuks nor motorcyclists engaged in hauling are full-fledged "cabs. Nevertheless, these modes of transport are extremely popular in Thailand.
If we talk about moto-sai, the price factor plays an important role:
- A short distance ride, within 2 km - 25 baht;
- further - 3-4 baht per km.
If you don't have far to go, the moto-sai is an ideal option. In addition to being budget-friendly, its main advantage is its "youthfulness," an important advantage in big cities. The activities of moto-sai are licensed - such bikers are dressed in orange vests. But there are also those who engage in motorcycle hauling on a non-permanent basis, without any official registration.
Tuk-tuks (here we are not referring to the two-bench tuk-tuks, but tuk-tuks for 2-3 passengers) give the traffic in Thailand an exceptional flavor: unusual, differently shaped, absolutely unlimited in color. They often have a "Taxi" sign on the roof.
Tuk-tuks are inferior to motorcycles, but superior to cars. Most importantly, they are exotic, which is important for tourists. Locals don't use them.
The tuk-tuk fare is slightly lower than the cab fare, and in many cases it is similar. It all depends on the insolence of the tuk-tuker: there are no meters in these vehicles, and the pricing is subordinate solely to the driver's desire to earn money.
Cab in Pattaya
All of the above fully applies to such a tourist center of Thailand as Pattaya. A trip within the city limits in a municipal cab will cost $3-$15 depending on the distance. The cost of such a cab ride in Pattaya is made up of the fare per ride ($1) and the mileage of the ride.
Some routes, for example: to the airport, to the railway station, between airports and others, demanded by tourists - are charged at a fixed rate. Cabs in Pattaya, in spite of the Meter sign, do not always use the device to count the time of the trip and in most cases cab drivers prefer to call either a fixed rate, or what comes to their mind at a particular moment.
Curbside cab drivers can "slap" a higher price if they see the level of urgency and the potential opportunity to pay, rather than a desire to save money.
The cost of a cab ride in Pattaya booked through the apps of global cab services rarely exceeds $6-$7. The services of such services in this city are popular not only because of their cost, but also, above all, because there is almost always a free car nearby. A sensible tip for those who are going to take a cab in Pattaya is to negotiate the tariff principle or the final cost of the trip in advance.
Cabs in Phuket
There is almost no cheap transportation in Phuket. There are tuk-tuks, but even they are more expensive compared to the same Pattaya, if you compare similar in length and kilometer trip. In addition, despite the general crowding, there is no cheap sunteo. Municipal buses are clean and tidy - not a bad option if you are a person who does not have much of a complaint.
The familiar "meter" cabs in Phuket only provide transfer services from the airport and back. The island itself is covered by private taxis and cars of rental companies.
If we talk about the cost of a cab in Phuket, it corresponds to the general background of spending on the island. So, a trip to Phuket Town is about $10 (from Chalong) to $20 (Mai Khao). From the airport, the meter is $15 to $30. Between beaches, cab drivers usually charge a flat rate of about $10.
Cabs in Bangkok
The Thai capital has a developed infrastructure: subway, civilized buses, tuk-tuks, sunteos, water transport - in general, the whole set of means of transportation is present. For this reason, cab services in Bangkok are in much less demand than, say, in Phuket.
As in any metropolis, the question of the priority mode of transport depends on the time of day, the remoteness of the end point, and the possibility of reaching it by other means. The main problem is, of course, traffic during the day. Fast tuk-tuks and large buses in the dedicated lane, not to mention boats, have an undeniable advantage, as they often get you to your destination faster and cheaper.
If you need to go not in rush hour, a cab in Bangkok is convenient, fast and, it seems strange, but cheap:
- boarding, as in other cities, costs 35 baht;
- Then 5 baht for each kilometer;
- If you idle/drive in a traffic jam, you pay 1.5 baht per minute.
For short trips, especially for two or four people, cabs are cheaper than public transportation.