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Bangkok Taxi's and Tuk Tuk's

Taxi's

bangkok-taxiTaxis are everywhere in Bangkok , at night the city often seems full of them with no other vehicles on the road. If you are travelling outside the rush hour, at night for example then taxis are by far the easiest, quickest and most comfortable form of public transport with the rate starting automatically at 35 baht, and increasing 5 baht per every 2 Kilometres with a little time surcharge if stuck in traffic.

All licensed taxis have a black and yellow number plate, not the white and yellow plate that some have and it's of course advisable to take the licensed cars. Taxis also come in a variety of colours, the yellow / green taxis are owned by the taxi driver and all others are rented out for the day. If you need a taxi to come and pick you up then dial 1661 a taxi will come for you soon after, and for this service you only need to pay an extra 20 baht.

At the airport you can take a taxi from the taxi stand at the main arrivals hall, just pick up a coupon at the taxi stand desk, it's an extra 50 baht charge to get a taxi way but you can be sure of a safe hassle free trip to your destination which can be a blessing for newcomers to Bangkok that are a bit disorientated. Tipping a taxi driver is not necessary but it's a common practice to round up the fare to the nearest 5-10 baht and a taxi driver will often reciprocate this by the occasional rounding down of the fare.

There are no set rules for a taxi driver in Thailand and though the government is trying to make the taxi service more foreigner friendly, many will not be able to speak English and those new to Bangkok will simply not know there way around the city. There's not a great deal you can do here, apart from try another taxi and put it down to the novelty experience of travelling in an Asian country.

Every Bangkok taxi is supposed to be metered and you should be able to get a taxi from any location to any destination on the meter. In Bangkok 's busier tourist areas such as Patpong and Khao San Road sometimes you will experience problems with the taxi driver saying "no meter" and offering an exuberant charge but simply close the door and go on to the next taxi, and soon you will find a metered one. It's worth bearing in mind that you will find a metered taxi a lot easier on the road than parked outside these places.

The exception is when you want to travel to the next district out of Bangkok and then you will generally have to pay off the meter, but this will not often come to much more than what would be on the meter, but it that's assuming you know the rough price of the trip anyway.

Tuk Tuk's

bangkok-tuktukThe famous Tuk Tuk is almost a novelty method or transport for many foreign visitors, used more often by tourists wanting to get the 'real feel' of Thailand than foreigners that live in Bangkok . The Tuk Tuk is actually based on a Japanese delivery vehicle, and came in to use in the 1960s when the traditional samlors (cycle rickshaws) were banned from Bangkok . They are now exported to several countries around the world. They are called Tuk Tuks because of the loud 'tuk tuk' sound their engines make, a sound you'll soon become used to when travelling around Bangkok .

The Tuk Tuk can be an exciting way to travel around Bangkok , especially for the new comer where its open air design allows you to really get a feel of Bangkok as you are exposed to all the sights, sounds and smells of the city, though mid day travelling might want to be avoided when it's very hot. Tuk Tuks never have meters and the price of the journey must be bargained beforehand, and unless you're going on a very short trip you will often pay the same price, if not more than you would if you took an air conditioned taxi instead so the Tuk Tuk is best avoided for long journeys.

bangkok-tuktuk-2Though certainly a fun way of travel it is worth mentioning that sometimes in tourist areas Tuk Tuk drivers will often offer you a 10 baht ride to tour the city and take you to countless overpriced tailor shops, overpriced handicraft shops, and to the scam stores trying to sell Gemstones to unsuspecting tourists. Never let a Tuk Tuk take you anywhere that you haven't decided on going, if he takes you to one of these shops then simply refuse to go in, do not in anyway feel obliged.

Though this method of transport will eventually be faded out as Thailand becomes more modern it's still a very popular way to travel for the local Thai people, especially those travelling to and from the markets where the Tuk Tuk's large baggage space comes in useful. You will often see school children in remarkable numbers travelling by Tuk Tuk, not just all squeezed in the back seat but on the floor space in front of the seat, and hanging on the sides and back of the vehicle as well learning the value of cheap travel at a young age! Though not everybody's favourite method of travel around Bangkok , a holiday in Thailand would not be complete without at least one Tuk Tuk journey.

Motorbike Taxi's

Found mainly off the main roads leading into the back streets of Bangkok are the orange vested motorbike taxis. Travelling by motorbike taxi can be a hair raising experience for longer journeys as they tend to race in between heavy traffic at breakneck speeds, and though this can be a life saver if you need to travel somewhere quickly through Bangkok's rush hour traffic there is also a certain dangerous element to it, especially since by law it's only the driver that is required to wear a motorcycle helmet.

Usually these are for quick 10-20 baht trips though depending on the driver they will go further, and all fees are to be negotiated before the journey. If you need a short quick journey they are ideal and generally cheaper and faster than a Tuk Tuk, but for long distances it pays not to use them too much bearing in mind the safety factor.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 March 2011 17:07  

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