Getting around Thailand
I had so many transportation worries and concerns when I first went to Thailand. Here are some things I wish I knew before going to the land of smiles!
BEWARE!!! If you are a tourist, it’s almost guaranteed that you will be scammed by a taxi at least once on your trip. Our mistake was that we didn’t know any relevant costs of the taxis.
Here are some helpful tips for taxi cab riding in Thailand.
Alleviate the language barrier: Communication with the taxis was our hardest language barrier. I suggest printing the addresses of your hotels, airbnbs ect. In Thai! It’s easier for them. If not have it up on your phone where you want to go. Sometimes they don’t know what you’re saying. Just pull up the address in Thai and ask how much.
Ask to turn on that meter: Taxi drivers do not want to turn on the meter. Research before hand: You don’t need to know a lot. Just enough not to loose out on too much money. Check out this website: http://www.numbeo.com/taxi-fare/city_result/jsp?country=Thailand&city=Bangkok. You can do fare estimates. In Bangkok, I checked my uber app and what do you know! Thai uber! If you can get an uber it would be way cheaper! If there aren’t any available, at least check the fare estimate so you can negotiate lost to that estimate.
Negotiate: If they say 300 baht say 150 at least! Bargaining is normal in their culture.
Don’t let the taxi cab tell you where to go: Don’t give them an option on where you would like to go. They will always choose the shortest distance to make the most amount of money.
Ask for help!: Thai people are so friendly. We were talking to the hotel concierge our first morning in Bangkok, he spoke a little English, and he offered to hail us a metered taxi. This is when we realized how much we were scammed our first ride from the airport. We paid 1500 baht from the airport to our hotel which should have been around 260 baht. Your first taxi ride from the airport will probably be your most expensive. They know you’re new and looking to start your Thailand adventures. Try to uber if possible!
Tipping: Round up for tip. If they scammed you don’t tip. If your trip is 500baht we would give like 550. Up to you. If their not nice you don’t need to tip!
TukTuks will scam you even more! We knew this from the beginning, but we needed to do it for the experience, and oh man is it an experience. Tuk Tuk drivers are not afraid for anything! They will drive extremely fast, really close to other cars, they’ll drive in the emergency lane and cross over the center line whenever they please. I have no idea what the traffic laws are in Thailand, but there seems to be none. Tell your driver where you want to go and hold on!
Many of the islands have their own versions of Tuk Tuks. In Koh Phangan they have seats in the bed of a truck and call it a Tuk Tuk. When you are further out from the city, it is harder to negotiate. There are only a few transportation options and the drivers know it. They don’t really have meters and they can pretty much make you pay whatever amount they want. Still try to negotiate as much as possible.
FLYING BANGKOK AIRWAYS:
Fly Bangkok Airways! I totally recommend this airline. We were only in Thailand for 11 days and we didn’t want to waste time on long bus rides ect. Best transportation decision for us! It is a lot more expensive than a bus or a ferry, but it was so worth our time to fly. You can take a bus for 8 hours of your day or take a short 1 hour plane ride. So it really is up to you. What is worth more? Your time or money? I booked my flights online about a month in advance. The flights are extremely affordable compared to any domestic flight back in America. The planes are very safe and the staff is extremely friendly. TIP: If you’re early for your flight head to the Bangkok Airways lounge. You will be offered free snacks and beverages as well as free wifi!
We took a speedboat from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan and back. Try to book ahead online or ask your hotel for help calling. We didn’t book our boat until we were on Koh Samui. Our amazing property manager at our airbnb called to book our speedboat. Below is a link to our amazing airbnb in Koh Samui. Our boat coming back was about half an hour delayed, but over all, pretty smooth sailing.
Driving on your own would actually be a cheaper option. Especially if you want to rent a moped. Why didn’t we choose to drive ourself? None of us trusted ourselves to drive! We experienced so much crazy driving in Thailand that we didn’t want to drive especially in a country where the street signs are so unrecognizable and where they drive on the opposite side of the road than we’re used to. So we paid the extra few dollars to get picked up! Worth it!
How do you get around Thailand? I would love to know for my next go around.