Taking a taxi in Asia can be a hit and miss. Here are 5 things you do not want to hear your taxi driver say:
1. ‘Your hotel has closed down’
‘Your hotel has closed down’ says the Indian rickshaw driver. He will tell you that the hotel you want to go to has closed, or is fully booked, or is dirty and horrible, and suggests he’ll drive you to another, better one. Your hotel hasn’t closed down, but the driver will receive a commission from the other hotel when he drops you off. Or, he will take you not to your own hotel, but to another one that has a very similar name, and that pays him for cheating you.
What you can do: get your hotel to pick you up from the airport/train station.
2. ‘The temple is closed today’
‘The temple is closed today’ says the tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok. He’ll convince you that the temple or the museum you want to go to is closed today for ‘a special ceremony for Thai people only’. He suggests he could take you for a little sightseeing tour around Bangkok instead.
What you can do: check opening times and other details yourself.
3. ‘Free ride’
‘Free ride’ that turns out to be a long tour of all the souvenir shops that pay commission to the driver for bringing you to their doorstep.
What you can do: There is no such thing as a free ride. Just pay up.
4. ‘The meter is not working’
The taxi driver in Kathmandu, the tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok and the rickshaw driver in India all want you to believe that their meter is not working. But it is, and they should use it.
What you can do: If the driver won’t use the meter, find another driver who will.
5. ‘I don’t have change’
‘I don’t have change’ from a large note, says the driver who thinks that if he won’t give you change, he can keep the money and get a huge involuntary tip.
What you can do: always keep small change with you to pay for taxis. They NEVER have change.