Bangkok Taxi Drivers

Old Feb 10th, 2003, 11:29 PM
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Bangkok Taxi Drivers

Has anyone ever had the experience I had recently in Bangkok, a taxi driver who no matter what would not take me to where I wanted to go. Any other temple but to the Emerald Buddha, any other museum but to the National Museum, any other shopping centre etc etc, in the end I said stop the car and I will get out and walk. What is the reasoning behind this? It was really weird to say the least but has kept friends entertained as a good story.
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 12:14 AM
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Maybe it's because the driver can't understand English too well. I speak pretty good English and I had trouble on a recent trip to Auckland. Seems most of your taxi driver there can't speak English only Hindi.
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 03:33 AM
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TipsBR>1> Have written down in Thai ( or the local language wherever you are going )exactly the place/s you wish to you.
2> Take a taxi from the hotel. Although the hotels' have naturally no liability for the drivers, the drivers are not totally stupid, they know that if they xxxx you around you may well give their number to the concierge.

I thin the OP message could be read 2 ways. Did the driver misunderstand or was he taking you to places wanting you to buy something ? Different scenarios.

In New York I had to explain in 'French' to reach my destination, in Paris French and some Arabic helps!

Sadly the cities where taxi drivers actually have to pass some form of written and oral test before getting a license are few and far between.

Taxis drivers come almost without exception into the Top 10 gripes for travel everywhere in the world.
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 06:48 AM
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I found dealing with the taxi drivers to be very frustrating. A lot of them are illiterate and can't read thai. Very few seem to speak any english at all and they seem not to understand it when you attempt to speak in Thai.
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 02:00 PM
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This is why you should always hire a private car with driver and guide. Yes, it is more money, but you don't have any problems. You could also hire a Mercedes at the Oriental or a long-tailed boat. An hour for a privat long-tailed boat is only $10 for 1 1/2 hours.
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 02:02 PM
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Ooooops. I meant to say that a long-tailed boat is $10 for 1 1/2 hours.
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Old Feb 11th, 2003, 06:25 PM
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what color were the taxis??? it makes a difference...in all my trips to bkk i have never had one problem with a green and yellow taxi (usually owned by the driver)...on the other hand i have nothing but problems with the red and blue taxis (employee driven)....one ride in november it took me 3 cabs before i got someone with some saavy...this is not an absolute rule but i will never take a red and blue guy again....
private car rentals with driver are not all that cheap, but cut out the problems---having said that we met one expat recently who was on her 5th driver in one year..
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Old Feb 12th, 2003, 12:55 AM
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Thanks for the replies, some helpful, some quite, well, we won't go there. The cab was green and yellow, the driver spoke good english, he was local and had attended a local temple when a monk, he showed me a photo as a monk, he was actually very nice but I still can't figure it all out. I think the person who suggested being taken to places to spend money may be more correct. Also I did not need to jump out of a moving taxi, and in NZ I use my own car so have no idea what language our drivers speak. Probably bad language. Anyway, I loved Thailand and look forward to a return trip.
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Old Feb 12th, 2003, 05:10 AM
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Kathy, we have had similar experiences, not just with cab drivers but also with private guides. I think, beyond the language problems, it is that these people think tourists will be happier with the usual tourist places. They know what tourists like and will take you there. No matter how often I told the guide I did not want to go to a shopping place or that I had already been to The Emeral Buddha, etc. somehow I was taken there again. It was only when we would hire a car and driver or a guide for several days that we finally got to do what we wanted to do without a hassle. Its...this is where tourists go and that's where you will go.
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Old Feb 12th, 2003, 02:04 PM
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Just returned yesterday from Bangkok. We didn't have any problems with taxi drivers taking us where we wanted to go. There were a few times that the driver had difficulty understanding where we wanted to go, we would then show him on our map and he'd take us. The routes the drivers take are not always the most direct, I think this is due to some of the roads being one way and with Bangkok's traffic the shortest route isn't always the quickest. We did spend a lot of time sitting in traffic. We had a few times where the driver would drop us off at the end of the block if our destination was located on a one way street. We used both the red/blue and green/yellow taxi companies. Taxi fares in Bangkok are very reasonable in comparison to most major cities. Our highest fare was a little over 100 baht when we went to the weekend market which was quite a distance from our hotel.
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Old Feb 12th, 2003, 03:28 PM
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You know, I've never had a problem with a cab driver in Bangkok. A funny story on my last trip there (December, 2002): I always have the conceirge write out my destinations in Thai for me before I head out for the day. On this day, my second or third destination was a speciality bookstore. I showed the taxi driver the Thai address, and he was having trouble figuring out where it was. I produced the map I printed from the internet of where the bookstore was, and he said in perfect English, "Oh, I know where that is!"
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Old Feb 12th, 2003, 04:37 PM
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Hi guys!

We were in Thailand in November, and did not experience that much trouble with the cabs.

We always had business cards in Thai of the hotels or places we wanted to visit.
We always arrived okay.

The only issue was that the metered taxis (ones we were told to use) DID NOT abide by the meter rules.

They always turned them off. We had to haggle with them before getting in.

Only Tuk Tuks were the issue in Bangkok. They always want to take you somewhere where they will receive commission.

Tuk Tuks were fine everywhere else around the country. They always took us where we wanted to go without issues. We also got some really funny video footage riding with this crazy driver one night! hehe

Our private guide was the issue while in Thailand. The guide we had was horrible and was not keen on taking us to the sites we had set in our itinerary. We fought with him, and did get to see everything we wanted. It would have been nice to have toured with someone who actually liked his job.

Ingrid



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Old Feb 12th, 2003, 10:59 PM
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Thanks for all that. I might mention that I used a company called World Travel Service for about five different tours and they were fantastic, so efficient and professional. Enjoyed the tours so much and great value for money.
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Old Feb 13th, 2003, 08:21 PM
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Kathie, you are SO right. Many people try to pronounce a place or use basic Thai but it is essential to understand that the Thai language is very precise and your pronounciation must be exact, which takes years to perfect. But as so many signs are in English for shops drivers actaully recognise the printed name, hence they can find it.
I have no problems in Bangkok, I rate Paris taxis as the worst. Australian taxis are probably the friendliest and most helpfull.
Ouside of Bangkok a car with a driver is the best idea.
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Old Feb 13th, 2003, 08:30 PM
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I also wanted to mention, perhaps in the way of a little amusement, 'hand signs'. I and others use basic signs that are recognised pretty much anywhere in the world, but I have never found any website or mention in guide-books. A lot of people use this unofficial language which is understood worldwide.
If you don't know the language you won't be able to have a conversation but you can strike up a form of contact with others.
Walk to a waiter looking around and rubbing your hands together will get you directed to the washrooms/wc anywhere. In the most desolate of places wiping your forehead and using your hand as if you are drinking will find you the cold drinks. Using your hand as if using a spoon finds you food.
'Airport' is simply a 'whoosh' and your hand sailing upwards. You can get stomach upset pills anywhere ( use your imagination! ). Using your hand in a signing motion gets the check.

So come on, who has some real gems?

I am sure everyone has their own ones to add?
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 12:21 PM
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I've had mostly average experiences with cabs in Bangkok. I do have one bad ride experience.
My last time there I had just got ff the plane and waved down a taxi. Maybe I was a little tired from the flight but I just got in. I didn't ask him to use the meter before I got in. I realized my mistake when I got settled and we were already on the highway. Of course he said the meter was broken. He wanted 600 baht because it was rush hour. By then I realized I couldn't just get out with my luggage in the middle of the highway. IT was rush hour and the ride did take almost two hours. But I was so mad at myself for falling for this. If I had just told him no before I got in I would have gotten another cab to turn his meter on. I would have tipped big for rush hour too. But I don't like the idea of being forced to pay more. I blame myself almost entirely. I've been to Bangkok three times before and did it right every other time. I think I'll have a caffeinated drink before I land next time in Bangkok.
Moral of the story is. DOn't get in unless he agrees to put the meter on. Just wait for the next taxi. There are plenty. In some cases where you won't get a guy to use a meter, don't agree to a price unless you know about how much it costs.
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 05:55 PM
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over the last few years i have noticed that less and less do you have to ask the driver to use the meter....its almost automatic...in fact i see they sometimes throw it on the way to pick you up once you or the doorman has signaled them to come....
unless you are on the4 highway just tell him to stop and get out....
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Old Feb 14th, 2003, 05:59 PM
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Never had trouble getting where we wanted to go, except the taxi driver who got lost on the way to the airport. We told him to take the express road to save time, and I guess he was not that familiar with it because he exited too soon. We proceeded to wander around the Bangkok "suburbs" for way too long, getting more and more anxious about missing our flight. Finally he saw another taxi pulled over and stopped to ask directions. From the looks of the conversation, that guy was lost, too! We did get there, barely in time to make our flight. Next time we take the hotel car.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 07:25 AM
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Hi

I have never had a problem with taxis in Bangkok...but tuk-tuk's on the other hand ...on a vacation in Thailand in 1998 we were met by a tuk-tuk driver outside of the hotel and he said something about a public holiday and that he would take us to Wat Pho for just 20 baht. It sounded to good to be true of course but we agreed to get into his tuk-tuk. But after a few meters he stopped and he said that the Wat Pho would not open until 12.00 so he could take us to another Wat in the mean time. We told him that we only wanted to go to Wat Pho and he agreed and he started up again. After a few minutes he stopped by a temple and we protested and he said that he had to go to the bathroom. He went in and out came another person and he asked us who we were waiting for and he talked to us about where we were going and that we should use the opportunity to see this temple instead. The driver came after about 10 minutes and again he started talking about taking us to other places. He wanted to take us to a Thai export center because then he would get some free gas. I told him that I would pay him extra if he would just get us to Wat Pho but he refused. So he ended up saying that maybe we should get a another tuk-tuk or a taxi. So we jumped out and found a meter-taxi which is in my opinion much better and still very cheap. When we finally arrived at the Wat Pho we were stopped by this guy outside the Grand Palace. He asked us where we were from and so on and he said that the Wat Pho was closed for the day because of the Buddhist holiday and he said that we should go to different wats that he recommended. So we started walking back towards the river cause we needed something to eat. We were followed by this tuk-tuk driver and we could not get rid of him and once again he said that he would take us wherever we wanted to go for 20 baht but once again he told us that he had to take us to a place where they sold clothing so that he could get free gas. My girlfriend started feeling sorry for the poor guy so we agreed that he would take us to this tailor shop, we would do our “duty” there and then he would bring us to Kaosan road so that we could get something to eat and then he would bring us back to Wat Pho. All this worked out great until we had been to Kaosan road. We jumped back into the tuk-tuk and we wanted to go back to Wat Pho. But then he started talking about Thai export center and talking us to other temples. So we ended up getting out of the tuk tuk once again. We walked along and it started to rain and we felt like it was one big conspiracy to prevent us from seeing the sights of Bangkok. So we jumped into a taxi and got back to Siam square and did some shopping instead. All this made us very suspicious of persons walking up to us and we said no to all the tuk-tuk drivers. I guess we seemed very unfriendly in the way we behaved.

Regards
Gard
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 07:45 AM
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expats have the best taxi stories check out bangkok phils take on bangkok taxis

http://philipwilliams.freeservers.com/paget.html#tailor
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