Saturday, 14 January 2012

Taxis in Koh Samui

There is a certain knack to catching taxis in Thailand. The trick is to know the correct way to proceed. In Bangkok there are of course taxis around Khao San Road that refuse to use the meter. From the street around the corner this is not the case. Knowing these types of things in Thailand saves you both money and stress.

It is not always the case that the taxi driver is being greedy or obstinate. Some journeys require toll fees to be paid. Some passengers will complain that are being cheated if this additional fee is added on to the meter price. Other times it is because the traffic is very bad or there is a one-way street that means a driver would have to go several miles out of his way.

In Koh Samui all the taxis say meter taxi but to a car none of them will do so. There is very little room to negotiate prices. The main advice is to know what the price should be for a journey and make sure you pay a similar amount. You can ask any number of people about this. It is always worth checking if you come back a year later as the prices change frequently. On Koh Samui many ex-pat residents use their own transport or the songthaew system which is like a ‘bus’ system.

For short journeys an alternative form of public transport is ‘mototaxis’. These are men with yellow vests that often mill around in groups on road corners. You negotiate in advance a fee and jump on the back of a small motorbike. If you have little baggage and find a friendly motorbike taxi driver this can be a relatively cheap way to make short trips.

At the airport there is a taxi limousine service. That is pre-paid. It isn’t any cheaper than the normal price, but it is a stress free system. Cheaper is a mini bus system that is also pre-paid at the airport. However, if there are more than three people traveling together taxis can be a better option than paying per person.

Many resorts will offer a transfer service. This is a convenient way to get picked up the airport but is usually a 100 Thai Baht more expensive than regular yellow taxis in Koh Samui.

The best advice about taxis in Koh Samui is not to get angry. Your frustration will not bring about change. Complaining on the help line numbers will also bear no fruit. Just accept the situation and always remain polite. Shouting and swearing is regarded as serious escalation in Thailand and is sometimes met with similar or greater emotion.