How to get around in Bangkok without getting scammed: by taxi, tuktuk, boat, metro, train
The traffic in Bangkok is INSANE, but there are many different options on how to get around. Be CAREFUL, there are so many scams and things you should keep in mind! SO here’s a guide on how to get around in Bangkok without getting scammed or losing money.
Tuktuks are a very common way to travel in Bangkok. There are about 9000 of them in the city. First of all, a taxi is a little bit cheaper than a tuktuk, but for short distances it’s an experience you should make at least one time during your thailand trip. But be careful! When we arrived in Thailand we thought we would be prepared for all the scams you read and hear about. But they still go us!
When we first arrived in Bangkok and got out of the train, we still had a couple of kilometres to get to our hostel. It was a rainy day and our first time in Thailand, so we didn’t really know what to do. We heard about the app grab, but no taxi was available for us. Sooner or later tuktuks started stopping and asking to take us on a ride. We told him the address and he said it would be 200baht (5,43€) for two people. We said okay, since it was our last chance. Later the day we took another tuktuk which was less than half of the price for more than double pf the distance. They will always try to take high prices from you tho.
How to avoid: ALWAYS discuss prices! Tell them half the price (or even less) of the one they proposed to you. They will laugh at it, but they will propose a new price that’s already a little bit better. Now you need to act like your still not convinced, act like you insist on yours and then tell them to meet in the middle. The price they propose now will be way lower than the starting one. Always go TWO times down with the price!
A very known scam is the “shopping stop” one. The tuktuk drivers get comissions for literally EVERYTHING, so they take you to shops (for example tailors) and convince you to buy the most random, useless things. You will not only spend more money, but also lose time.
How to avoid: After discussing the price and before getting in the tuktuk, ALWAYS tell them to go straight with no stops. if he had another plan in mind, he is probably gonna ask you for “one short stops for me?” or something like that.
3. Wrong location:
A VERY CHEAP TUKTUK (30Baht for two) wanted to bring us to “a place where we can officially book our train tickets”. He said he knew what place we mean, when we asked him to take us to the ticket office and where to buy the cheapest tickets. he drove us to one of the tourists offices that plan your entire trip and left us there (waiting outside to take us back). The people there tried to convince us to buy their plan for their trip (including the train tickets, which wasWAY more expensive than at the translation, where we actually wanted to go). We insisted on saying no and after this office was not a success, he took us to another one. After this one we finally went home. Never say YES to any of that! It will end up with you loosing more money than you have to.
How to avoid: Show them your EXACT location that you want to go to on google maps.
4. The temple is closed:
This is the scam you’ve probably heard about before. You’re on your way to the grand palace or another monument. TikTok drivers will stop you to tell you the monument you want to visit is closed or that the Thai people would be praying. Then he offers you a “great ride” to somewhere else.
Taxis are a little bit cheaper than tuktuks and work pretty well. Nevertheless, there are the same rules as for tuktuks.
The taxi rules:
– tell them to go straight with no stops
– discuss a good price or ask them to take the taximeter (which will ALWAYS be way cheaper than the price they’ll tell you)
– Say NO to bad deals, you’ll find a better one
– SHARE taxis: If you’re a solo traveller or a couple, ask around if anyone else needs a right to your location. Sharing the price will save you a lot of money.
Read here for the “scam” that happened to us, when we wanted to visit the floating market
There is the app “grab” in thailand on which it is very easy to order taxis. In our personal experience we always got better prices by stopping taxis on the street and discussing prices with the drivers (or using the taximeter). So always ask first and then compare with grab.
My favorite: Download the app “Bolt”. The prices are way better than on grab (still compare). Sometimes you might need to wait a little bit until a Bolt is available but in my opinion it is worth it1
Boats are one of my favourite ways to go through Bangkok.
The river is well centred and the boats are much cheaper than a tuktuk or taxis. We always went with the Phraya express boat. On the sign it says a single ride would be 30 Baht (81cents), but for some destinations it is even cheaper. The first time we used the boat, they charged us 30baht each. Another time they charged us only 16 baht for the exact same ride. The next time she did try to charge us 30baht again, but after we told her that we only paid 16 baht, she said “okay” and gave us the ticket. So make sure to get the right price.
The busses are 50/50. They are the cheapest way of transport. But sometimes they were not trust worthy. We once spent one our on a bus and ended up somewhere completely different! The woman on the bus insured us two times. Because of the traffic, it can happen that the busses don’t show up at all or way later than it says. So if you are in a rush, I would not recommend taking the bus. If you are not, and you budget travel, busses are a good way to get around in Bangkok.
How to find the right bus: Use google maps (apple maps doesn’t show the public transport), and see the number and direction. Some stations are very hidden, but google maps usually shows them correct. If you are lucky, the bus station has a sign with a map of its route and stations, so you can double check if it is the right one. There is also a qr code to track the busses live!
You should always show the name of your station to the bus driver as well and ask if he goes there.
Here you can download the Live tracker app!
For apple: https://apps.apple.com/app/id1074208600
For android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.indyzalab.transitia&hl=en&gl=US&pli=1
5. Train and Metro
Trains and metros work very well. We didn’t take them too often, but they are affordable and reliable. You can pay at the machines with cash only and you get a token to enter the platform.
You can use google maps for them as well.