Passengers arriving at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi international airport (BKK) enter the arrivals hall on Level 2. To catch a public taxi (known as a taxi-meter) you need to go down to Level 1. Despite various crackdowns by Thai authorities there are still some unlicensed touts hanging around so ignore shouts of “taxi” or “where you go?” and make your own way down to Level 1 following the signs for public taxis.
Once you arrive at Level 1 there are a number of different options for taxis. These include the ordinary taxi meters through to electric taxis and VIP services offered by the likes of AOT and CABB.
Information updated June 2023
Using a meter taxi is the cheapest and most commonly used option for taking a cab from Bangkok airport. Signs at the airport are in English in addition to Thai to help make things smoother for tourists.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you choose the right queue/lane to get your ticket. The lanes are:
- Short-distance (for hotels and locations close to the airport e.g. Lat Krabang)
- Regular taxi (standard sized car suitable for 1 or 2 passengers with small luggage)
- Big taxi (larger vehicle suitable for more than 2 people or those with larger luggage)
Once you enter the lane you use a multi-language touch-screen to print-out your queue ticket. The number on your ticket corresponds to the number of the bay where your taxi is parked. The ticket details the driver’s name, plate and operating licence number. The ticket also includes a QR code and contact details should you have a problem or complaint so make sure you retain the ticket.
How Much Will I Be Charged?
For destinations in Bangkok you will be charged on the meter rate which is in itself regulated by the Department of Land Transport. Note that the flag-fall charge is 35 Baht which will be displayed on the meter when you start the journey.
Taxis at the airport also incur a fixed airport surcharge of 50 Baht. This will not show on the final meter price so needs to be added on to whatever the final meter price shows.
The quickest and most convenient way into town for many of the main tourist areas involves taking the express-way. It is the passenger’s responsibility to pay the express-way fees. As an example, a trip from the airport to Silom, Sukhumvit or the Riverside area will typically involve two tolls; one at 25 Baht and one at 45 Baht. Try to have coins or smaller denomination notes (20/50/100 Baht notes) to make things easier.
For a trip to Silom or Sukhumvit you can expect to pay approximately:
- Meter charge 280 Baht (approximately)
- Express-way tolls 70 Baht
- Airport pick-up surcharge 50 Baht
- Total = 400 Baht (excluding any luggage fees; see below)
Pay the driver at the end of the trip. I usually add a small tip (20-50 Baht), but tipping drivers isn’t expected so it’s up to your personal discretion.
The issue of luggage fees has been a bone of contention for years. It used to be the case that an additional fee wasn’t charged for luggage. However, the rules were changed in November 2020 to help the drivers.
Small bags including smaller backpacks, laptop bags or carry-on bags are not subject to a fee and can be taken inside the cab with you. Wheelchairs and mobility aids such as canes are also not liable to a surcharge.
Larger baggage over 26 inches in size should go into the boot/trunk and will be charged at 20 Baht per bag.
VIP premium taxis
In addition to the standard taxi-meters there are more comfortable vehicles available. Although these work out more expensive than taking the taxi-meter, the service levels are higher and it can be especially convenient if there are lots of people waiting in line for the taxi-meters. These ‘VIP’ taxis charge a higher meter rate, but have the added advantage of not charging extra for luggage or taking the express-way. The stands/booking offices for CABB and EV Society can be found near the lanes for the public taxis.
CABB ‘London’ taxi
The distinctive shiny blue taxis are similar in appearance to London’s famous black cabs. With uniformed drivers, CABB taxi offer a premium service at reasonable rates. As a comparison for how much you will pay I took an identical journey in April and May 2023 from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport to a hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 20 (distance approximately 26 kms) and this is the breakdown of the total cost:
- Taxi-meter = 400 Baht
- CABB taxi = 755 Baht
Less than 800 Baht still represents decent value, but is almost double the fare compared to a standard taxi. Of course, this is like comparing a 2-star hotel to a 4-star hotel, so whether it is worth it or not will boil down to your preference.
It was good for me to try another option, but while CABB looks great from the outside, the actual ride isn’t that much more comfortable than the standard taxi-meter. CABB do advertise a few additional premium services like USB charging points and free wifi inside the vehicle although in my particular vehicle neither worked. Please note no option for cash payments; fare is payable via QR code or credit/debit card.
Another of the ‘VIP taxi’ options is to take an electric taxi operated by EV Society. The set-up is similar to the CABB service and the two taxi booths are located adjacent to each other. EV Society doesn’t charge an airport surcharge or extra fees for luggage. As far as I’m aware they don’t charge passengers the express-way fee either, but I am yet to use them so will need to double-check that.
Although I haven’t used this service yet, it looks like the flagfall is higher (150 Baht) and the per kilometre rate is around double what you can expect to pay compared to a standard taxi-meter. Using the trip to Sukhumvit Soi 20 hotel, I would estimate the fare to be similar to CABB and in the 700-800 Baht range. Unlike CABB, it does appear there is an option to pay by cash.
Operated by Airports of Thailand (AOT), this is Bangkok airport’s official limousine service. Unlike the other taxis, you will take the limo from Level 2, on the same floor as arrivals. The limousine service counters are located in the baggage claim area and in the arrival hall. It’s been at least 15 years since I last used an AOT limousine, so I should try it out again in the near future to write a review and compare it with the other taxi services.
With AOT limousines you can expect a premium service with professional drivers, comfortable vehicles and a smooth transfer to your hotel or destination. By way of comparison using the same Sukhumvit Soi 20 hotel in the other examples, I checked with AOT and was given a price of 1,200 Baht. Fares can be higher if you want more luxury or larger vehicles. See the AOT website for full details.
Book a taxi transfer online in advance
Private transfer services from Bangkok airport to your hotel (or any location in Bangkok) can be booked online in advance. Prices start from around 700 Baht upwards for private transfer with meet and greet by the driver/rep in the airport arrivals hall. This service will usually include a certain amount of waiting time (up to 90 minutes in case of flight delays), but double-check at the time of booking. Check prices in the links below:
Journeys Outside of Bangkok
For journeys outside of Bangkok you will usually be charged a flat rate fare and not on the meter. For example, a trip to Pattaya is approximately 1,500 Baht (including expressway tolls). Some taxi companies (notably those based in Pattaya) may be cheaper.
Most Bangkok airport taxi drivers only have a limited amount of English and you will help them and yourself if you have a print-out or screenshot of your destination address (in Thai).