How To Catch A Taxi From Bangkok Airport

Passengers arriving at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) enter the arrivals hall on Level 2. To take a public taxi (known as metered taxi), you must descend to Floor 1. Despite various stringent measures by the Thai authorities, there are still a number of touts without a loitering permit so ignore shouting “taxi” or “where are you going?” and go down on your own to Level 1 following public taxi signs.

Once you get to Level 1 there are a number of different taxi options. This ranges from standard metered taxis to electric taxis and VIP services offered by companies such as AOT and CABB.

Information updated June 2023

Taxi Meter

Using a metered taxi is the cheapest and most commonly used option for taking a taxi from Bangkok airport. Signs at the airport use English in addition to Thai to help make things easier for travelers.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you choose the right queue/lane to get your ticket. These paths are:

  • Short distance (for hotels and locations close to the airport eg Lat Krabang)
  • Regular taxis (standard sized cars suitable for 1 or 2 passengers with small luggage)
  • Large taxis (larger vehicles suitable for more than 2 people or with larger luggage)

Once you enter the lane, you use the multilingual touch screen to print your line ticket. The number on your ticket corresponds to the bay number where your taxi is parked. The ticket details the driver's name, license plate and operating license number. The ticket also includes a QR code and contact details in case you have a problem or complaint, so make sure you keep the ticket with you.

How Much Will I Be Charged?

For destinations in Bangkok you will be charged a meter fare set by the Department of Land Transportation. Note that the flag drop fee is 35 Baht which will be displayed on the meter when you start your journey.

Taxis at the airport are also subject to a flat airport fee of 50 Baht. This will not be displayed on the final meter price so it needs to be added to any displayed final meter price.

The quickest and most convenient way to get to town for most major tourist areas involves using the toll road. Passengers are responsible for paying toll road fees. For example, travel from the airport to Silom, Sukhumvit or the Riverside area usually involves two expressways; one for 25 Baht and one for 45 Baht. Try to have coins or small notes (20/50/100 Baht) on hand to make things easier.

For a trip to Silom or Sukhumvit you can expect to pay approximately:

  • Meter fee 280 Baht (approximately)
  • Highway toll 70 Baht
  • Airport pick up surcharge 50 Baht
  • Total = 400 Baht (excluding baggage fees; see below)

Pay the driver at the end of the trip. I usually add a small tip (20-50 Baht), but tip drivers are not expected, so it's up to your personal discretion.

Additional baggage fees

The issue of baggage fees has been a bone of contention for years. In the past, additional fees were not charged for baggage. However, the rules were changed in November 2020 to help drivers.

Small bags including small backpacks, laptop bags or carry-on bags are free of charge and can be carried onboard with you. Wheel chairs and mobility aids such as canes are also free of charge.

Larger luggage over 26 inches must be checked in/baggage and will be charged 20 Baht per bag.

VIP premium taxi

In addition to the standard metered taxis, more comfortable vehicles are available. Although this costs more than using a taximeter, the level of service is higher and it is very convenient when there are many people waiting in line for the taximeter. These ‘VIP' taxis charge a higher metered fare, but have the added advantage of not charging additional fees for luggage or taking road tolls. Booking booths/offices for CABB and EV Society can be found near the public taxi lanes.

CABB ‘London' Taxi

The distinctive shiny blue cabs have a similar appearance to the famous London black cabs. With uniformed drivers, cab cab offers premium services at affordable prices. As a comparison how much you will pay, I did the same trip in April and May 2023 from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport to a hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 20 (approx. 26 km distance) and here is a breakdown of the total cost:

  • Taxi meters = 400 Baht
  • CABB taxi = 755 Baht

Less than 800 Baht is still decent value, but the fare is almost double that of a standard taxi. Of course, it's like comparing a 2-star hotel to a 4-star hotel, so whether or not it's worth it will depend on your preferences.

It's fine for me to try other options, but while the CABB looks good from the outside, the actual ride isn't much more comfortable than a standard metered taxi. CABB does advertise some additional premium services such as USB charging points and free in-vehicle wifi although in my particular vehicle none of these worked. Please note that there is no option for cash payments; fare is paid via QR code or credit/debit card.

Electric taxi

Another ‘VIP taxi' option is to use electric taxis operated by the EV Society. The setup is similar to the CABB service and the two taxi counters are located close to each other. The EV Society does not charge airport surcharges or extra fees for baggage. As far as I'm aware, they don't charge road tolls to passengers either, but I haven't used them so I'll need to check again.

While I haven't used this service, it seems the flagfall is higher (150 Baht) and the fare per kilometer is about double what you can pay compared to standard metered taxis. Using a trip to the Sukhumvit Soi 20 hotel, I would estimate the fare to be similar to a CABB and in the 700-800 Baht range. Unlike CABB, there appears to be an option to pay by cash.

AOT limousine

Operated by Airports of Thailand (AOT), this is the official limousine service of Bangkok airport. Unlike other taxis, you will board the limousine from Level 2, on the same floor as arrivals. Limousine service counters are located in the baggage claim area and in the arrivals hall. It's been at least 15 years since I last used an AOT limo so I'll have to try it again sometime soon to write a review and compare it to other taxi services.

With AOT limousine you can expect premium service with a professional driver, comfortable vehicle and smooth transfer to your hotel or destination. As a comparison using the same Sukhumvit Soi 20 hotel in another instance, I checked with AOT and was priced at 1200 Baht. Fares can be higher if you want a more luxurious or larger vehicle. Look AOT website for full details.

Book taxi transfers online in advance

Private transfer service 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 a private transfer with meet and greet by the driver/representative at the airport arrivals hall. This service usually includes a certain waiting time (up to 90 minutes in case of flight delays), but check again at the time of booking. Check prices in the link below:

Travel Outside Bangkok

For trips outside Bangkok you will usually be charged a flat rate and not on the meter. For example, a trip to Pattaya is roughly 1,500 Baht (including toll fees). Some taxi companies (especially those based in Pattaya) may be cheaper.

Communication problem

Most Bangkok airport taxi drivers speak very little English and you will do them and yourself a favor if you have a print-out or screenshot of your destination address (in Thai).