If you traveled to Chiang Rai by airplane past few years, you will know that there was no alternative transport outbound from the airport. Passengers were obligated to use service from airport taxis which costs a minimum of THB200 for about 10 minutes ride. Later the minimum fee went from to 250 Baht or 300 Baht depending on situation. Even after metered taxi service has been introduced in the city in 2012, no taxi from outside was allowed to pickup passenger inside the airport.
Last article I wrote about how to get a metered taxi via its call center and pick you up in front of the airport. Now everything about taxi airport has changed. You can actually get a metered taxi from inside the airport without dealing with expensive airport taxi or go to all trouble finding a ride to the city.
If you want to read more about taxis in Chiang Rai, read our articles below.
- Taxi-meter service in Chiang Rai
- Rates of Taxis Service in Chiang Rai
- Taking a Metered Taxi from Chiang Rai Airport via Taxi Call Center
The taxi booth has been placed inside the airport for some time but it seems not many people know about it as there is no advertise or any sign informing about this service. It seems that it tries to avoid matters with the airport taxi service.
I’ve talked to one of the staff there during my trip to Bangkok in January, and I can confirm that this is genuine metered taxi and it is in the same organization of city taxis. It will not cost more than what they have declared in the price notice board.
We all know that Airport taxi has not been happy with metered taxis since their existence in Chiang Rai in 2012. It is quite a surprise that metered taxis can be settled inside the airport. When I tried to ask the staff about how the arrangement with airport taxi is done, she declined to say anything about it.
This booth has been opened inside the airport for more than a year now but seems that not many people know about it. The staff only said metered taxi are the same as the ones severed in the city. They can cut the price of Airport taxi by half. She told me that if we’re lucky, a taxi will be available in parking lot, but we are not, we can wait between 10 and 30 mins for one taxi to arrive.
Here is how the fares are calculated: since this metered taxi is the same service provided by city’s service, the fees for both are the same. If you travel between city center to the 4 sub-districts (Weing, San Sai, Rim Kok and Rob Weing), the fare starts from 30 Baht with the additional of 4 Baht per kilometers. If you travel to outside these 4 sub-districts, the fare is 10 Baht per kilometers regardless of what appears in meter reading. If you get a taxi via its call center from the airport, 30 Baht will be added for the call center fee (not 20 Baht like calling from the city).
Since the airport is outside those 4 sub-districts, the fare is simply 10 baht per kilometer. The distance from the airport to city center is about 10 kms, and the fare should be 100 Baht. Metered taxis will stand inside the airport’s car park and they are not allow to approach passengers who exit the airport building as, according to a taxi driver whom I talked to, this activity is reserved for airport taxi only.
However, the taxi is not available in the airport the whole time, and during high time there are no metered taxi standing there waiting for passengers. If you happen to require a taxi and it is not available at that time, the staff at the booth will call to its call center, and about 10-20 minutes (sometimes sooner) a taxi will come in to pick you up.
For this you will have to pay additional 30 Baht for the call center service. Remember, the call center fee is 20 if you call anywhere outside the airport, but if you call from inside the airport, it 30 Baht fee. To the city center (somewhere around the Clock Tower or King Mengrai Statue), roughly it will cost around 100 – 120 Baht while a airport taxi will cost between 250-300 for the same distance.
The booth is located near the south exit door. When you exit arrival gate, just go straight to the south exit door. The booth is on the right of that door. I’ve not used service from this booth yet, but I use service directly from its call center. A taxi picked me up in front of the main gate. It costed me 85 Bath outbound to the Clock Tower (call center fee was 20 Baht, totally 105 Baht). If you come out from the airport through the main road and enter Phahonyothin Road directly, it will cost around 100-110 Baht, and if include call center fee it will be around 130-140 Baht.
To get 85-95 Baht, you have to commute through local road in front of the airport, then enter Wiang Bhurapa Road (of just inform the taxi to go via “Wiang Bhurapa”, he will know it), and exit to Sahamit Road. Continue on Sahamit until you meet Phahonyothin Road at the end. From Phahonyothin road, it will be only 2 kms to the Clock Tower, totally as displayed in meter reading, it is 8.5 kms.
Since it is the same metered taxi, it should not cost too much different than this amount. Next time I will try and will see what the cost will be. As far as I able to verify, it is a genuine metered taxi booth which is run by the same organization as of Chiang Rai City taxi and you only pay per meter reading.
To sum up
There are at 4 possible transportation services from the airport to
1. Airport taxis.
Even being expensive, this method is still the most popular method to get out of the airport. I usually see a lot of visitors standing in line there. It’s probably because either the visitors don’t know the information about taxis or because they were lured by those drivers to use their service. Don’t know they already book in advance or via a hotel. It is obvious that the drivers from this taxi service have privilege to stand the arrival area and ask people who just arrive whether they need a taxi or not. Also they can walk around the airport’s gates to see if there are people needing taxis. One time I was asked by 3 different divers if I wanted a taxi. I asked for the price, again they quoted me 250 Baht for a ride to a hotel in Chiang Mai Gate (not very far from the clock tower). A metered taxi would cost me approx. 110-120 Baht for the same distance.
2. Metered taxis from the metered taxi booth in the airport.
First you get a queue ticket from the booth. Then the staff will take you to one of metered taxis standing outside the airport building (in the car park). If there is not taxi available there, they will call one to pick you up. The fare is 10 Baht/km +30 Baht service fee. This photo was taken at the same time as a photo at airport’s desk. No passenger at the metered taxi booth while there were many people lining up at airport taxi’s desk.
3. Metered taxis standing outside.
Taxis here are the same as the one from the booth. You can skip the booth and hail one of the taxis standing in the car park directly. If there are other passengers waiting there at the same time, the drivers will honor passengers who have ticket queues first. The rate is the same as a metered taxi from a booth. I asked one of the driver there. This taxi standing area exist more than a year now but many people don’t know about it. I think many people still have the impression no metered taxi allowed in the airport. This is not true anymore. Now the authorized “Yellow taxis” are allowed to stand and wait for passengers outside the airport building but the drivers are not allowed to walk around and ask a random passenger if he/she need a taxi like people from the airport taxi do. While I was taking a photo, there were at least 4 metered taxis available but many people were still lining up at the airport taxi’s desk inside.
4. Request a taxi via GrabTaxi.
Actually you don’t need this method, as metered taxi will give you the best option in terms of price. However, in case other options above are not available or you want to make sure that there is a taxi come to pick you up, you can request a taxi via taxi booking app “GrabTaxi”.
According to discussion that I had with drivers, one of the available drivers will actually come and pick you up somewhere in the airport event security guards don’t want empty taxi to enter airport area. After you confirm the booking via GrabTaxi, the driver is located the driver will call you where you want him to pick you up. Since he can’t enter the airport area, he will arrange a spot for the pick up and most common spot is at the airport’s main entrance. It’s not the most convenient method if you are inside the airport but it’s reliable and not expensive.
Read more about how to get GrabTaxi in Chiang rai.
2016 Update: Past few years empty taxis were not allowed to enter airport check point. In June 2016, I requested Grab Taxi from the airport. I was ready to walk to the airport main entrance but the driver told me on the call not to come outside, just wait in front of the airport building and he would pick me up from there. Then he arrived and picked me up in front of first door of the building, in front of ATM machine. I asked him why he could enter the entrance without passenger as it has been prohibited past years. He just replied that he wasn’t sure about that rules but he and his friend had picked up passenger there before and there was no problem. I don’t know that rule is still enforced or not security guards don’t care anymore. A few times, while metered taxi in the car park were available, noticed some taxis came in the area and pickup passengers inside the airport in front of the building. Maybe the security thought he was one of metered taxis in the airport or just got lucky. Anyway, it is good for passengers.
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