Traveling by Taxi in Thailand

One of the many unique cultural experiences you’ll find on your trip to Thailand is travel by taxi – Thai style! Thai taxis range from normal automobiles to cars crossed with motorcycles, truck/bus hybrids or limousines. Read this guide to taxi travel in Thailand so you can choose a method that is safe and reasonably priced.

Tuk tuk - Taxi in Thailand Taxi in Thailand

On Arrival

When you arrive at the airport, you can ask your hotel to send a special taxi – or a limousine if you prefer. While hotel taxis are generally more expensive, the comfort and safety they offer tend to be worth the extra cost. If you take a public taxi, it’s wise to carry a piece of paper with the name of your hotel written on it in Thai script, so you don’t have to rely on the driver’s understanding your pronunciation of the unfamiliar words. By the same token, when you leave your hotel you should ask one of the staff to write out the name of your destination for you.


Normally it is quite inexpensive to take taxis in Thailand. However, drivers can be tricky with foreign tourists and try to charge higher prices. One of the favorite ways of doing this is by refusing to turn on the meter. Look for two-colored taxis with a sign on the roof saying taximeter and make sure the driver starts the meter. With any form of transportation, it is important to either insist that the driver use a meter or to agree on a price before you leave.

Song Thaew

Song Thaew is a typically Thai way to get around. This is a cross between a deconstructed truck and a bus. Passengers sit on benches in the back, which has an overhead roof and open sides. During the day song thaews are used as buses, but in the evening they operate as taxi services with a corresponding increase in prices.

Tuk Tuk or Motorcycle Taxi

The tuk tuk is yet another Thai hybrid, this time a combination of motorcycle and automobile. This common method of getting around Bangkok is fun and cheap. You may find yourself wondering, though, why the driver stops at so many stores. He’s not running his personal errands – he gets a commission from the store if you stop and shop!

Motorcycle taxis are also inexpensive and fun. Make sure you can borrow a helmet and watch out as you zigzag at top speed through Bangkok’s busy traffic. Road safety rules are definitely not the same as they are back home.

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