As you know, taxi service has been introduced in Chiang Rai almost 3 years now. Since then travelers have a better option to travel with fair rates – no more headache with ridiculous unfair rates from Tuk-Tuk or Songthaew. Taxi service I’ve written 2 posts about taxis in Chiang Rai – one is about taxi service, and another one is about taxi rates. You can read those 2 posts, first one about taxi service is here and the second one about taxi rates is here.
Let’s go back in time to see what happened before the existence of metered taxi in Chiang Rai. Before July 2012, there was no metered taxis in the province, and travellers had to depend on Tuk-Tuk, SongThaew, and private car service. All of them normally offer ridiculous high rates, especially to new comers who seems to know too little about the places.
If you were to go from the Chiang Rai Airport, you only had 3 choices. One was someone to pick you up, second choice was to taking an airport taxi which was very expensive – starting from 200 baht just for just 10 minutes ride. Or third choice was to wait outside the terminal for a long time to take a Tuk-Tuk that arrive with passengers, then you could get on and continue with your destination. Again you had to deal with ridiculous rate from Tuk-Tuk there.
Talking about an airport taxi, later around 2012 – 2013, it increased to 250 or 300 baht depending on occasions and persons you deal with at the booth. There is no exact rate per place, so sometimes it started from 200 baht, sometime 250 baht, but sometimes 300 baht to reach the same destination. Even I am a Thai person, I was charged 200 baht to get to somewhere near The King Mengrai the Great Memorial, and another time 300 baht. Since I didn’t have a proof that I paid 200 baht last time, I had to pay 300 baht this time. I read a comment in a forum from foreigner couple, they used to pay 250 baht to get somewhere near the city center. A year later they arrived at night and were quoted 500 baht. Because they were too tired and wanted to get home, so they paid 500 baht. I don’t really know about the standard rate here.
From July 2012 onward, there were metered taxis available in Chiang Rai. The rate is 30 baht with an increase of 2 baht per kilometer if you travel within 4 districts which are Weing (ตำบลเวียง), Rim Kok (ตำบลริมกก), Rob Weing (ตำบลรอบเวียง) and San Sai (ตำบลสันทราย) – later in 2014 it increase to 4 baht per kilometer which is still ok. If you travel to somewhere other than this 4 districts, it is 10 baht per kilometers. In any case, if you get a taxi via call center, you have to pay 20 baht fee which is still okay.
With a metered taxi, you can save up to 50% compared to other means. For example, when I asked Tuk-Tuk from the Clock Tower to the airport, I was quoted 200 baht and some rider even asked for 250 baht. When I flagged down a metered taxi (it can take you 5 minutes to find one but it is worth your time) to get to the same place, it costed me 89 baht. So I saved at lease 110 baht. The same way, from the airport, an airport taxi quoted me 200 baht and the recent start rate is 250 baht.
Now we know that metered taxis are cheaper than any other means, but to get out of the airport, there had always been a challenge because for some reasons, they are not allowed to pick passengers there. People have tried several ways to get around this problem. As for passengers, some of them just call a metered taxi to wait outside the front gate and then they just walked through the parking lot to meet the taxi outside. The distance is around 150 meters, and if you don’t have a ton of luggage it really isn’t a big deal.
As for taxi drivers, some of them studied flight schedule and wait for random passengers just outside the front gates. This worked quite well until 7-8 months ago when huge road construction started to take place in front of the gate. There was no taxi standing there waiting for passengers, because there is not enough space for taxi to stand. People have to rely one airport taxi again or have to call for a taxi to pick up.
Here is what I have tested for a taxi to pick me up. First, when a plane landed, I called taxi call center and inform them to send a taxi to pick me the airport. The call center informed me that a taxi driver will called me and informed me when he will wait (remember that taxi without passengers are can enter the main entrance but not allowed to enter the airport gate). I have to get to somewhere near the entrance of the airport (either outside or inside the entrance – inside entrance is always better) .
Then I went to airport taxi booth (the sign is written as Taxi Limousine) and asked for a quote to go to Samakki Wittayakom School, near the Clock Tower. I was given a quote for 250 baht.
I rejected the service and continued to exit the building.
Once I exit the airport building, I just walked toward parking lot. I got a call from a taxi driver, he was waiting in front of main entrance.
From the building’s exit, go straight and pass through parking lot. The is distance is around 150 meters, I reached the end of parking lot. There will be a road on the other side.
Across those trees, will get to the front road which inside the entrance. Normally, any car can enter the entrance and wait here but that day the taxi came from the wrong direction, and he could enter the entrance. So he had to park the taxi outside the entrance.
The taxi is parked outside the main entrance.
When I reached the destination near the Clock Tower, it costed me 84 baht and including 20 baht for call center fee, it became 104 baht. Compared to airport taxi service, I saved 140 baht on that trip. The taxi arrived 6 minutes after the call. Total time from leaving the airport building 23 minutes. So metered taxi is much better and an airport taxi. The number of Taxi Chiang Rai call center is 053-77-34-77. It’s 24-hour service.
Ok, this is a hard way but you can save at lease 50% what you have to pay to airport taxi service. Now there is even a better option to get metered taxi from the airport with a fair price. It can be said that the headache from getting out of the airport is solved (at least for some degrees). You can get a taxi metered from inside the airport and only pay 30 baht extra. You don’t have to call to call center and manage to walk to the main entrance. Metered taxis some how manage to open a booth inside the airport.
I will write about this next post.
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