Posts Tagged ‘Taxi’

Stalker Taxi Driver in Koh Pha Ngan

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We dragged our weary bodies and heavy bags off the ferry at Koh Pha Ngan after half a day of mini-vans and busses. (Unfortunately there were no handicap ramps, elevators, or helpful men around to get our heavy luggage up and down the long flight of stairs so we were especially tired by the time we staggered onto the pier!)

So we emerged in the hot sun of Koh Pha Ngan, this island paradise in Thailand, and were immediately swarmed by questions such as “where are you going?” and “where are you from?” Most were songtaew (Thai taxis in the form of open-air trucks) drivers looking to charge us a bundle to take us to our resort, which was on the north end of the island away from most of the tourists and nightlife.

They wanted 150 Baht (about $5) for the ride. That seemed really high since we had just paid 550 Baht of travel (5 hours!) to get to this island.

So we refused all offers and dragged our luggage many blocks looking hoping for a bus or cheaper ride.

As walked from one street to the next, we noticed that this one woman seemed to really want to “help” us. We’d go around a corner and there she would be jabbering about her brother being part of our resort so our ride would be free at 150 Baht each (around $5 a piece), and how hard this trip would be on her truck due to the many hills. She showed up three times on three different streets and just wouldn’t seem to take “no” for an answer.

Finally we thought we had gotten lucky after seeing a van with our resort name on it. No such luck! Unfortunately our stalker got to the driver first, so he ignored our frantic waves and drove away.

Now we were even more determined not to hire her for anything! But she wasn’t done with us yet! We soon found stalker woman was heading off all taxis up the street so none of them would stop for us. Geez!

Seemed like we’d been black-balled by her!

IMG_1197ourbeachFinally we flagged down a nice couple in a songtaew and paid them the $150 Baht to the resort, which was actually about 30 minutes away up and down many hills. We didn’t save any money after that adventure, but were so happy to get to our destination where we found our own almost private beach with palm trees, warm water, and ocean breezes!

Not sure how to avoid being blackballed again in Thailand, but guess that’s what can happen to a stranger in a stranger land!

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Thai Tuk Tuk Takes Us for a Ride

tuktukIMG_0226Ever ridden a tuk tuk? If not, it’s an experience to try at least once.

These three-wheeled open-aired taxis are a common way to get around in Thailand. We tried one of these motorized rickshaws after finally arriving in Bangkok after 20+ hours of travel, followed by a few hours of confusion navigating out of the airport to take the railway to our overnight home in Khao San.

I made the mistake of getting in one without agreeing to a price so probably got charged double for this error. Being tired and feeling overwhelmed by the traffic, I thought I could negotiate after I got in the vehicle. Unfortunately he started moving forward very quickly, partially perhaps because he was being chased and chastised by an official on the street. I suspected later that it was because the official was trying to keep us from being ripped off. Instead, we took the excuse that the fare was twice as high as the estimate given at the airport because of really bad traffic.BKK _tuktuk

So we zipped down many side alleys, dodged bigger vehicles, hung on to ourselves and our luggage, and eventually arrived at our destination. In total we only spent under $7 and were too tired to care by then, but knew better than to give the guy a tip!

We later learned that most taxis (the real kind, though in Bangkok often hot pink for some reason) have a meter that helps keep them honest.

Within a week we found that tuk tuk drivers often quote one number and then try to charge you for much more after you reach your destination, making it seem as if you misunderstood the charge or acting like you’re trying to cheat him. One driver glared, scowled, and muttered at us in Thai for over 10 minutes before giving up since we weren’t paying him any more than we heard.

Riding a tuk tuk can be a risk to the wallet, especially if you’re not a good negotiator or don’t have a good idea of the going rate to your destination.

So go for a ride in a tuk tuk, but don’t be taken for a ride by a tuk tuk.

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