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Is there Uber in Bangkok? No! In recent years, Uber has ceased operations in Bangkok, Thailand. The company transferred its Southeast Asia operations to Grab, a regional competitor, in a deal made in March 2018. This strategic move has left Grab as the primary ride-hailing service in the city, alongside local alternatives that have since emerged. Bangkok, known for its vibrant street life and ornate shrines, offers a variety of transportation options that cater to the needs of both locals and tourists. From traditional tuk-tuks to modern ride-sharing apps, navigating the city can be an adventure in itself.

Bangkok, the bustling capital of Thailand, is not only the country’s economic, cultural, and political heart but also a hub for transportation innovation and diversity. While Uber’s departure marked a significant shift in the ride-hailing landscape, it opened up avenues for other services to thrive. This guide explores the current state of ride-sharing in Bangkok, alternative transportation methods, and practical advice for getting around the city efficiently and safely.

Is There Uber In Bangkok?

cartoon of man ordering a taxi, a large phone shows the different options for different taxis
Image by storyset on Freepik

Uber is no longer available in Bangkok as of 2018 when its operations in Southeast Asia were acquired by Grab. This acquisition has made Grab the leading ride-hailing app in Bangkok, offering a range of services from standard car rides to premium options and even motorcycle rides, known locally as “GrabBike”. The transition from Uber to Grab was significant for both drivers and passengers, leading to a more localized service that caters specifically to the needs of the Thai market.

Set quick and efficient pickup service abstract concept vector illustration.
Image from Freepik

Are There Other Ride-sharing Apps Like in Bangkok?

Following Uber’s exit from the Southeast Asian market, Grab has dominated the ride-sharing scene in Bangkok. However, the city’s dynamic and competitive transport sector has seen the emergence of other ride-sharing apps, providing residents and visitors with various options. Here are the notable alternatives to Uber in Bangkok:

Grab

Grab remains Bangkok’s most comprehensive ride-hailing app, offering a wide range of transport and delivery services. It’s widely used for its convenience and reliability. Grab can be more expensive than its major competitors.

Download Grab

  • Services Available: Grab offers a comprehensive range of services in Bangkok, including GrabCar (private car rides), GrabBike (motorbike rides), GrabTaxi (metered taxis booked through the app), GrabExpress (courier service), and even GrabFood (food delivery service).
  • Costs: Prices vary depending on the service, distance, and time of day. GrabCar starts with a base fare of approximately 35 THB ($1 USD), with additional costs per kilometer. GrabBike is cheaper, making it a popular option for solo travelers looking to navigate Bangkok’s traffic more efficiently.
    • Example fare:
      • GrabCar: For a ride within the city center, covering a distance of about 5 to 10 kilometers, you can expect to pay between 80 THB ($2.40 USD) to 200 THB ($6 USD). A longer journey, for instance from Suvarnabhumi Airport to downtown Bangkok, approximately 30 kilometers, might cost between 300 THB ($9 USD) to 450 THB ($13.50 USD), depending on traffic and time of day.
      • GrabBike: A short trip of up to 5 kilometers may cost around 50 THB ($1.50 USD) to 100 THB ($3 USD), making it an affordable and fast option for solo travelers.
  • Known Issues: Common complaints include surge pricing during peak hours and occasional difficulties in finding drivers in less central areas of Bangkok. However, Grab remains the city’s most reliable and widely used ride-hailing service.
  • Other Relevant Info: GrabRewards, Grab’s loyalty program, allows users to earn points for rides and use them for discounts or other benefits, enhancing its appeal among regular users.

Bolt

Bolt made its way into the Thai market, offering competitive fares and an easy-to-use app interface. Similar to Grab, Bolt provides options for car and motorcycle rides, focusing on affordability and quick service.

Download Bolt

  • Services Available: Bolt in Bangkok focuses on providing competitive and affordable car rides. They do not currently offer motorbike services in the city, limiting solo travelers’ options.
  • Costs: Bolt is known for its competitive pricing, often slightly lower than Grab for similar distances. However, actual costs can vary widely depending on demand, specific location, and time.
    • Example fare: Bolt’s pricing model is similar to Grab’s, but it can be slightly cheaper due to promotions or lower base fares. A typical city center ride might cost from 70 THB ($2.10 USD) to 190 THB ($5.70 USD). However, Bolt’s availability and exact pricing should be checked in real-time using their app.
  • Known Issues: As a newer entrant to the Bangkok market, Bolt may have fewer drivers compared to Grab, potentially leading to wait times longer.
  • Other Relevant Info: Bolt often runs promotions and discounts for new users or during specific times, which can make rides significantly cheaper.

inDrive

inDrive is unique in its pricing model, where passengers can negotiate the fare directly with drivers. This can lead to more affordable rides, especially during off-peak hours. It’s gaining popularity for its flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Download InDrive

  • Services Available: inDrive allows users to negotiate the fare directly with drivers for car rides, providing a unique approach to pricing that can benefit budget-conscious travelers.
  • Costs: Since fares are negotiable, inDrive can offer some of the lowest prices, especially if passengers are adept at bargaining. However, the final price is always subject to agreement between the driver and the passenger.
    • Example fare: Given inDrive’s unique model where fares are negotiable. Passengers might be able to secure rides for slightly less than what they would pay with fixed-price services, especially if they are good negotiators and the demand is low. For example, a ride that would typically cost 200 THB ($6 USD) with other services might be negotiated down to 150 THB ($4.50 USD) or less.
  • Known Issues: The need to negotiate every fare might not appeal to everyone, especially international visitors unfamiliar with local pricing norms. There’s also the risk of not finding a driver willing to accept your price during busy periods.
  • Other Relevant Info: inDrive’s model is particularly suited for longer distances where the savings can be more significant, and passengers have a clear advantage in less busy times when drivers are looking for rides.

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Taxis in Bangkok

ride share taxi app with taxi with backdrop of a city
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Taxis are a ubiquitous sight in Bangkok, known for their bright colors, ranging from pink to green, making them easily identifiable. They’re a convenient and relatively affordable way to get around the city, especially if you’re not familiar with public transportation routes.

Are Taxis Cheap in Bangkok?

Taxis in Bangkok are considered cheap compared to Western standards, but fares can add up over longer distances or in heavy traffic. The initial flag fall is 35 THB (about $1 USD), which covers the first 2 kilometers, and the fare gradually increases by approximately 2 THB per kilometer after that. Keep in mind that traffic in Bangkok can be very heavy, particularly during rush hour, which can make taxi rides more expensive due to the slow movement.

How Much Do Taxis Cost in Bangkok?

After the initial 2 kilometers, the fare increases by 2 THB per kilometer up to 12 kilometers. Beyond that distance, the rate per kilometer slightly increases, intended to compensate for the return trip. There’s also a surcharge when hailing a taxi from the airport and potentially toll fees for specific routes, which the passenger is expected to cover.

For example, a typical fare from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city center (which can be around 30 kilometers) might range from 300 THB to 500 THB ($9 to $14 USD), excluding expressway tolls.

Do Taxis Accept Credit Cards in Bangkok?

Most taxis in Bangkok do not accept credit cards. Payment is generally expected in cash, and it’s advisable to carry small bills to avoid issues with change. Some taxi services booked via apps or premium taxi services might offer the option to pay with a card or through the app itself.

How Do I Catch a Taxi in Bangkok?

Catching a taxi in Bangkok is straightforward: you can hail one on the street, find one at a taxi stand, or book through taxi booking apps. It’s essential to ensure the driver turns on the meter to avoid being overcharged. If a driver refuses to use the meter, it’s advisable to find another taxi.

Are There Taxi Apps in Bangkok?

There are several taxi apps in Bangkok, including Grab, which offers GrabTaxi (metered taxis booked through the app). These apps offer the convenience of booking a taxi through your smartphone and the ability to pay electronically.

Are Taxis Safe in Bangkok?

Taxis in Bangkok are generally safe, but it’s always good practice to use common sense and precaution. Opt for taxis that agree to use the meter, and avoid those that solicit aggressively or quote fixed prices. Using taxi apps where the driver’s details are recorded is also safer.

Common Taxi Scams in Bangkok?

While taxis are generally safe, there are always a few bad apples, and Bangkok is no exception. Being aware of potential scams and how to avoid them can help mitigate the risk of being taken advantage of.

  • Refusal to Use the Meter: Some drivers may refuse to use the meter, especially at tourist spots or during late hours, and instead offer a fixed rate that is usually much higher than the metered fare.
    • How to Avoid: Always insist on using the meter as soon as you enter the taxi. If the driver refuses, exiting and finding another taxi is better.
  • Claiming the Meter is Broken: After you get in, the driver might claim that the meter is broken and try to negotiate a higher fare.
    • How to Avoid: If the meter is not turned on or claimed to be broken, ask to stop and exit the taxi. Then, find another taxi.
  • Taking Longer Routes: Unscrupulous drivers may take a longer route to increase the fare, particularly if they sense that the passenger is unfamiliar with the area.
    • How to Avoid: Use a GPS app like Google Maps to monitor your route in real-time. Politely suggest the preferred route if you notice a deviation.
  • Scams at Tourist Attractions: Drivers might claim that your intended destination is closed for the day (temples, markets, etc.) and offer to take you to another site, where they receive commissions.
    • How to Avoid: Verify the opening hours of attractions beforehand and be skeptical of such claims. Firmly insist on going to your original destination.
  • The Switcheroo: This happens when you hand over a large bill, and the driver quickly switches it for a smaller denomination, claiming you gave insufficient fare.
    • How to Avoid: Pay with small bills whenever possible and verbally announce the denomination you are handing over to avoid any confusion.
  • Forced Shopping Stops: Some drivers may stop at specific shops or tailor stores, claiming a short break
  • Overcharging at Tourist Spots: Taxis parked at tourist spots may quote inflated prices to tourists or refuse to use the meter.
    • How to Avoid: Walk a bit away from the tourist spot to hail a taxi on the move, as these are more likely to use the meter.
  • High Toll Charges: Drivers may claim that toll fees are higher than they actually are to get more money from you.
    • How to Avoid: Know the approximate toll charges for your route (you can usually find this information online or ask at your hotel). Offer to pay the tolls directly at the booth.
  • Refusal to Give Change: A driver may claim not to have change for a large bill to keep the difference.
    • How to Avoid: Always carry small bills and coins when taking taxis in Bangkok. If you only have a large bill, confirm with the driver before starting the journey that change will be available.
  • Aggressive Solicitation: Drivers or touts at airports or tourist areas may aggressively solicit your business, often leading to overpriced fares or scams.
    • How to Avoid: Politely decline any aggressive offers and use official taxi stands or book through a reputable app where fares are transparent and regulated.

Do I Need to Tip Taxi Drivers in Bangkok?

Tipping is not mandatory in Bangkok taxis, but rounding up the fare or leaving small change is appreciated for good service, especially if the driver navigates through heavy traffic to get you to your destination efficiently.

Other Ways to Get Around Bangkok

Bus and bus driver at a bus stop

Bangkok offers a variety of transportation options beyond taxis and ride-sharing apps, catering to the needs and preferences of all travelers. Here’s an overview of the alternative ways to navigate the city:

BTS Skytrain

The BTS Skytrain is an elevated rapid transit system in Bangkok, offering a fast and efficient way to navigate the city while avoiding its notorious traffic jams. It consists of two main lines, the Sukhumvit and Silom lines, which connect major shopping, entertainment, and business districts, providing both locals and tourists with a reliable mode of transportation.

Purchase a single journey ticket or a Rabbit card (a rechargeable smart card) from machines at the stations.

  • Costs: Depending on the distance, costs range from 16 THB to 59 THB ($0.50 to $1.80 USD).
  • More Information: Visit the official BTS website or download the BTS app for routes, schedules, and fare information.

MRT Subway

The MRT, Bangkok’s Metropolitan Rapid Transit, is an underground and elevated metro system that serves as a key component of the city’s public transportation network. It features two main lines, the Blue Line and the Purple Line, linking various parts of the city, including residential areas, business districts, and cultural sites, facilitating convenient and swift travel across Bangkok.

Similar to the BTS, you can buy tokens from machines at the stations or use a stored value card.

  • Costs: Fares vary from 16 THB to 42 THB ($0.50 to $1.30 USD), based on travel distance.
  • More Information: Check the MRT website for detailed maps, fares, and service times.

Bangkok BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)

The BRT service operates in dedicated bus lanes with set stations. The BRT system utilizes buses with a dedicated lane and stations. It serves only a single bus line connecting Sathorn to Ratchapruekand in southern Bangkok. Bangkok buses run from 6.30 am to midnight. Busses run frequently, every 5 to 10 minutes.Tickets can be purchased at the stations.

  • Costs: A flat fare of 15 THB ($0.45 USD) per trip.
  • More Information: Information can be found on the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) website.

Standard Bus

In Bangkok, buses are a common mode of public transportation with an extensive network that covers the entire city. You can pay for your bus fare directly to the conductor on the bus in cash. Make sure to have small bills or coins, as change may not always be readily available. There is no stored value card system specifically for buses, but the Rabbit Card, used for BTS Skytrain, can be used on BRT buses (Bus Rapid Transit).

  • Costs: Bus fares in Bangkok are very affordable, ranging from 8 THB to 20 THB ($0.24 to $0.60 USD) for non-air-conditioned buses and from 11 THB to 24 THB ($0.33 to $0.72 USD) for air-conditioned buses. The exact fare depends on the distance and the type of bus service. Some long-distance routes and express buses may have slightly higher fares.
  • More Information: For routes, schedules, and more detailed fare information, it’s best to consult the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) website or use local transit apps like “Moovit” or “Google Maps” for route planning and real-time bus tracking. Information may not always be up-to-date or available in English, so asking local residents or hotel staff for advice can also be helpful.

Chao Phraya River Express Boat


The Chao Phraya Express Boat operates on the Chao Phraya River, providing an alternative and scenic route to navigate Bangkok and connecting tourists and locals to historic sites, temples, and several districts along the water. This service offers various lines with different stops, including commuters and tourist boats, making it a unique and practical way to explore the city’s riverside attractions and avoid road traffic.

Tickets are bought at the piers before boarding. Services are categorized by flag colors indicating their routes.

  • Costs: Fares range from 10 THB to 32 THB ($0.30 to $1 USD), depending on the boat line and distance.
  • More Information: Route maps and schedules are available at the piers and online.

Tuk-Tuks


Tuk-tuks, the iconic three-wheeled motorized rickshaws found in Bangkok, offer a fast and often thrilling way to travel short distances around the city. Known for their agility in navigating through traffic, these colorful vehicles provide a unique and quintessentially Thai experience, though fares should be negotiated before the ride begins.

Easily found on the street, always agree on the fare before starting your journey.

  • Costs: Fares should be negotiated upfront and can vary widely; short rides typically start around 100 THB ($3 USD).
  • More Information: No official website, but travel guides and hotel concierges can provide advice on reasonable rates.

Motorbike Taxis

Moto taxis in Bangkok provide an efficient and swift mode of transportation for navigating the city’s congested streets, ideal for short distances and areas not easily accessible by larger vehicles. Riders, identifiable by their numbered vests, offer a personalized service, though it’s important to agree on the fare before starting the journey.

  • Costs: Starts at about 25 THB ($0.75 USD) for the first kilometer, but always agree on the fare beforehand.
  • More Information: Like tuk-tuks, there’s no official site, but local advice is readily available.

Bicycles and E-scooters

Various bike-sharing and scooter-sharing apps and rental services are available for short-term hire.

  • Costs: Rental rates vary, but expect to pay around 100 THB ($3 USD) per hour for e-scooters and less for bicycles.
  • More Information: Check specific rental service apps like MolBubi or Scoota for locations and prices.

How Do I Get from the International Airport to the City Center?

Passengers with luggage in airport flat illustration
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Bangkok has two major international airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK), these are the available transport options for each.

Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Bangkok City Center

Private Transfer

Pre-arranged private transfer is the most convenient way to travel from the Suvarnabhumi Airport and your destination in Bangkok.

🔎 Search, compare, and book private transfers with TripAdvisor

Airport Rail Link (ARL)

Direct train service connects the airport to the city. Purchase tickets at the service counter or on the machines.

  • Costs: 15 THB to 45 THB ($0.45 to $1.35 USD).
  • Travel Time: 15-30 minutes to the city center, depending on your stop.

Taxi

Follow the signs to the official taxi queue. Tell the driver your destination and insist on the meter.

  • Costs: 300 THB to 400 THB ($9 to $12 USD), plus a 50 THB airport surcharge and any toll fees.
  • Travel Time: 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic.

Car Rentals

Rental counters are located at the airport. Advance booking is recommended.

  • Costs: Starting from around 1,000 THB ($30 USD) per day.
  • Travel Time: Depends on the destination within the city.

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Limousine Services

Book at service counters in the arrivals hall.

  • Costs: From 1,500 THB ($45 USD) upwards.
  • Travel Time: 30-60 minutes, traffic dependent.

Grab

Book a ride using the Grab app.

  • Costs: Comparable to taxis, but a booking fee is applied. Estimate your fare in the app.
  • Travel Time: 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic.

Don Mueang Airport (DMK) to Bangkok City Center

Private Transfer

Pre-arranged private transfer is the most convenient way to travel from the Don Mueang Airport and your destination in Bangkok.

🔎 Search, compare, and book private transfers with TripAdvisor

Taxis

Locate the official taxi stand outside the terminal. Ensure the meter is used.

  • Costs: 200 THB to 350 THB ($6 to $10.50 USD), plus expressway tolls.
  • Travel Time: 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic.

Airport Buses (A1, A2)

Bus stops are located outside the terminal. A1 goes to BTS Mo Chit, and A2 to the Victory Monument.

  • Costs: 30 THB ($0.90 USD) per trip.
  • Travel Time: 30-50 minutes, depending on the destination and traffic.

Car Rentals

Available at the airport. Pre-booking online can offer better rates.

  • Costs: Starts around 1,000 THB ($30 USD) per day.
  • Travel Time: Varies by destination within Bangkok.

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Limousine Services

Book directly at the airport upon arrival.

  • Costs: Starting from 1,500 THB ($45 USD).
  • Travel Time: 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic.

Shuttle Bus to BTS/MRT

Some services connect DMK with the nearest BTS and MRT stations for easier access to the city.

  • Costs: Free to a nominal fee, depending on the service.
  • Travel Time: 20-40 minutes to the connection point.

Is There Wifi at the Bangkok Airport?

Yes, both Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK) in Bangkok offer WiFi services to passengers, allowing you to organize ground transport upon arrival.

Is There Uber Eats in Bangkok?

Cartoon image of a man and his phone showing food delivery options

Uber Eats does not operate in Bangkok, following Uber’s exit from Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing and delivery markets in 2018. However, Bangkok boasts a vibrant food delivery scene with several alternatives that offer a wide range of cuisines, from local Thai dishes to international favorites. Here are the leading food delivery services available in Bangkok:

GrabFood

  • Overview: As part of the Grab ecosystem, which took over Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia, GrabFood is highly popular in Bangkok. It offers a vast selection of restaurants and eateries, covering everything from street food to high-end dining options.
  • How to Use: Accessible via the Grab app, available for download on both iOS and Android devices.
  • Website: GrabFood

Foodpanda

  • Overview: Foodpanda is another major player in Bangkok’s food delivery market, known for its pink logo and quick delivery times. It features a wide array of restaurants and includes options for groceries and convenience goods.
  • How to Use: The service is available through the Foodpanda app and website.
  • Website: Foodpanda

LINE MAN

  • Overview: An extension of the LINE messaging app, LINE MAN offers food delivery from a comprehensive list of restaurants in Bangkok. In addition to food delivery, it provides messenger, parcel, and convenience services.
  • How to Use: Available through the LINE app, with a separate section dedicated to LINE MAN services.
  • Website: LINE MAN

Robinhood

  • Overview: As a newer entrant to the market, Robinhood is unique because it doesn’t charge restaurants commission fees and aims to support small businesses. Its selection includes a wide range of local eateries and well-known chains.
  • How to Use: Robinhood operates via its own app, which you can download on your smartphone.
  • Website: Robinhood

These services are well-integrated into Bangkok’s lifestyle, offering convenience, a broad selection of food options, and the ability to cater to different dietary preferences and budgets. Most apps allow you to track your order in real time, offer various payment options, including cash on delivery, credit/debit cards, and mobile wallets, and provide customer service for order-related inquiries.

Final Thoughts on Uber in Bangkok

Navigating transportation and food delivery options in Bangkok presents a vibrant tableau of modern convenience melded with traditional charm. Though Uber’s ride-sharing services are no longer available, the city’s transportation scene is rich with alternatives like Grab, Bolt, and inDrive, ensuring that residents and visitors can easily move around the city. From the fast-paced rides on motorbike taxis to the scenic routes of the Chao Phraya River boats, Bangkok offers a unique blend of transport methods suited to every preference and need.

The absence of Uber Eats hasn’t left a void in Bangkok’s food delivery ecosystem; instead, it’s paved the way for a diverse array of services such as GrabFood, Foodpanda, LINE MAN, and Robinhood. These platforms not only cater to the culinary tastes of every diner but also support local businesses with their consumer-friendly models. Bangkok’s food delivery scene epitomizes the city’s adaptability and its embrace of technology to enhance daily life.

In conclusion, Bangkok’s transportation and food delivery services are emblematic of a constantly evolving city yet remain rooted in its cultural heritage. Whether you’re navigating the bustling streets or exploring the rich culinary landscape from the comfort of your home, Bangkok offers an unparalleled experience that is both convenient and rewarding. The city’s resilience in adapting to change while offering a multitude of choices to its inhabitants and visitors makes it a dynamic and exciting place to explore.

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