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Top 5 annoying taxi drivers in Asia

Monday, July 28th, 2008

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.

Picture of Hong Kong taxi originally posted by Liuchoi

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer satu rommi

Satu was born in Finland, but moved to London in 1996 and lived there for 10 years working as a journalist. She has spent the last couple of years mostly in India, practicing yoga and travelling.

6 responses to “Top 5 annoying taxi drivers in Asia”

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  1. sally says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Hmmm…I have lived in various parts of Asia and find taxis to be very good transportation–not at all like you say they are. True there may be some miscommunication and certainly much will be lost in translation, but I think it unfair to paint taxi drivers as people who are constantly scamming.

    I would say instead: know where you are going. Know how to communicate that well to the driver if it means having the conceirge or a local write it down for you ahead of time. Don’t assume that you will be scammed when taking a taxi and realistically, taxi fares in Asia are a FRACTION of elsewhere in the world.

    I think it’s silly to assume that being a traveler, everyone is out to scam you or alternately, that everyone should kiss your feet–if you take a taxi, it comes with risks. Whether in Asia or in NYC.

    The real scam? I would say is 40 Swiss Francs to get from the Zurich airport to Central. In that case, take the bahn.

  2. satu says:
    August 1st, 2008 at 5:16 am

    Hi Sally,
    having recently experienced Singapore taxis, I agree that you do have a point. However, come to India – I’ve lived there for almost three years now and my number one survival tip for avoiding unnecessary hassle is: never take an autorickshaw.

  3. someone says:
    August 14th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Hi every one,
    well I am bpo company india, I want to tell all of the people that who ever has written and created this blog site have done their best.

    well I want a solution to my problem! I am in search of cheap hotels in Jodhpur which is in India, have any one visited this place? If yes, can any one help me to search for cheap hotel in this particular place?

    I will be glad to receive the response.

  4. Taxi Trainer says:
    August 17th, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Don’t rely on taxi drivers to be public servants / guides. They are out to make a living like everyone else. They just happen to be on the front line!

  5. Asia says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    These are really important tips on traveling in Asia and what to expect…if you didn’t post this, then many planning on visiting Asia would have no idea until it’s too late.

  6. Chrissy Stevens says:
    October 23rd, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Always use pre-paid taxis when traveling in Asia. You get them at the airports, and your hotel can also arrange for them.


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