You know what I hate? Cab drivers. They generally smell. Most (not all, but most) are unsmiling and unfriendly. And besides Turkish prisons, I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything worse than getting scammed by a taxi driver? Drives me nuts!
Thailand is notorious for their “taxi mafia”. They’ve recently put into effective some enforcements, requiring cab drivers to use the meter, but if they see a sucker, they’ll test you. And if you leave Bangkok and head to resort areas like Samui or Phuket…Bam! Instant flat fee, which is generally way too much and non-negotiable.
There are ways around taxi scams, however, and being aware is the key. First ignore all the people harassing you when you first get off the plane. “Where you go sir?” “Need a ride?”…get away from me cretin. Go to the legitimate taxi stand. You’ll likely have to pay a nominal fee, but it’s worth it. And once you get in the taxi, make sure they use the meter and know exactly where you’re supposed to go. And if they say the meter is broken, get out and move onto the next cab, there are generally a whole schwack to choose from, so don’t worry about finding one.
There are other scams out there for sure; if you’re going to a foreign country and not familiar with the money, some cabbies will try to get you to give larger notes or will give incorrect change; some will say they don’t have the correct change and will keep just keep the change; some claim they don’t know where the hotel or destination just to drive longer to up the fare; some will need to make a quick stop, where you get harassed by a local travel agent, jewelry broker, or condo salesman; and finally the “random fee increase” applied to the meter and then feign that they don’t understand English.
Oh man, they make me insane. And the fact that they know I know and keep trying to scam me anyways, makes me even crazier. A word of advice, take the bus.