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The Navy has to keep the peace as tourists grow angry at double pricing

Phuket Airport Taxi Drivers Double Extortionate Fares in Holiday Shortage

Monday, April 13, 2015
PHUKET: Taxis at Phuket International Airport - notoriously expensive even on normal days - doubled prices as a shortage of vehicles made their services more valuable tonight.

Thousands of baht were being asked for some destination by taxi drivers keen to make windfall profits from the shortage, according to the Tourist Assistance Centre, Phuket.

Royal Thai Navy personnel stationed at the airport were called in as tempers flared and queues lengthened between 6pm and 9pm.

Would-be passengers were told not to tolerate the increased fares. But some inevitably did.

Taxi drivers on Phuket are known to charge six times what colleagues charge in Bangkok - and to be surly and thuggish.

With a shortage of cars available on the Songkran New Year holiday, the opportunistic taxi drivers cashed in.

Attempts to reform the taxi system on Phuket over the years have failed - even under the military government - with taxis on the holiday island remaining among the world's most costly.

Excessive taxi and tuk-tuk prices are considered to be the number one complaint from tourists. The prices severely limit Phuket's appeal for international events, such as last year's Asian Beach Games.

Residents cannot afford cabs even in emergencies and have to resort to more dangerous motorcycles, even in bad weather.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


What is wrong with Phukets authorities, tourist office and governor ? Send in the army for Gods sake and fine all these taxi thugs and thieves, lock them up, take away their licenses, do something to stop them completely ruining Phukets reputation!!! Shame on them all!!! This would never happen anywhere else in the world.

Posted by Elizabeth on April 13, 2015 23:06


Just another indication of who really has the power here... punk thug taxi drivers. Charging the highest rates while having no regard for your life. I'm thinking this will NEVER change.

Posted by Ed Sanders on April 14, 2015 00:11


the tuks tuks slam another nail in the coffin of Phuket tourism for a quick buck they cant see their nose in spite of there face, no one comes here anymore we cant understand it.

Posted by slickmelb on April 14, 2015 00:20


I choose to holiday and spend my money elsewhere because of the tuk tuk mafia.

Posted by Jack on April 14, 2015 07:42


Unbelievable that the Local Government does not take any action. No action from the Governor neither.

Posted by Mj on April 14, 2015 08:37


But the tourists do keep coming. That's why nothing changes.

Posted by pete59 on April 14, 2015 09:17


Many of the Taxi's are owned by the people who govern them. So why would they change?

Conflict of Interest...

Posted by Tbs on April 14, 2015 10:18

Editor Comment:

If you have some evidence of that, please produce it.


absolute disgrace. the prime minister gives himself complete control and can't even control a bunch of taxi thugs.Thailand has some serious problems at present and the world is watching....

Posted by john on April 14, 2015 10:30


I too choose to holiday and spend my money elsewhere because of the tuk tuk and taxi err people

Posted by Steve on April 14, 2015 10:34


Drive around Kata or Rawai at 10pm and see all the empty locked up shop houses in Kata the road between the beach road and the gas station used to have dozens of packed bars now around 50% of them are locked up and dark and empty. Phuket greed has pushed up prices so much the place is economically imploding. After this week there will be a lot more muggings etc as people purely and simply will not have money to eat. This I think will be the worst low season in recent times and a friend who speaks Thai and has been here 15 years agrees with me, I have been here 6 years and it is not the same, fuelled by greed. The taxis are another example.

Posted by Welcome To Paradise on April 14, 2015 11:07


Scams like the taxi extortion has existed in Phuket for a decade. It gives Thailand a bad reputation and reduce tourism. Jetski, taxi, police scams, credit card skimming and crime increases every year. We have to live with it or choose another tourist destination.

Posted by I. Sokolov on April 14, 2015 11:17


A few years ago I arrived at Phuket airport at 10pm on 31st December, a huge mistake and I paid dearly for a taxi ride. treble the normal rate My choice was to pay the price asked or to not go anywhere

Posted by Paul on April 14, 2015 11:43

Editor Comment:

Extortion in triplicate.


Tulk tuk driver yesterday wanted B800 for a one way trip from Patong to Kamala - they learned two new words.

Posted by Mister Ree on April 14, 2015 11:47


@Paul even in developed countries fares are legally higher on holidays like New Year's Eve, so your comment is not just Thailand. If you drove a cab over NY you would want more money otherwise why work!

Posted by Welcome To Paradise on April 14, 2015 12:15


Taxi driving is officially reserved for Thais, not that English speaking tourists might want an English driver, perhaps an expat who has lived here longer than 5 years and has no criminal record, no of course they don't. They want to be ripped off by a thuggish Thai who only speaks about 15% English going to no English when they do not like what you say and threatening you with violence when you argue about the price. Welcome To Paradise.

Posted by Welcome To Paradise on April 14, 2015 12:41

Editor Comment:

As we have said, the government needs to announce it is reducing the number of taxis by 15 percent a year for the next three years and will decide on the quality of service and language skills which drivers get to survive.


you can bang on all day about the taxi yes there are a lot of improvements that is needed. Thailand this and Thailand that scaring all the tourist away but unfortunately the modern day buck takes over. this happens all over the world not just here supply and demand. The terrorist siege in Sydney a few months ago umber taxi were charging 4 times the normal rate

Posted by piesrus09 on April 14, 2015 13:23


Ed, my point was I think Tourists would also like English drivers, eg from the UK/Australia etc.

Posted by Welcome To Paradise on April 14, 2015 13:33

Editor Comment:

I don't think so. Going on holiday to be greeted by people from home is not the way most people want their breaks to be. Having locals behind the wheel who are courteous and not scamming you is the aim.


In Kamala it's becoming harder to find builders and electricians with the people I have used over the years recently becoming taxi drivers.

Posted by Rod. on April 14, 2015 14:04

Editor Comment:

Phuket only needs about half the number of taxi driver out there, at half the fares.


Change the habits of Phuket taxi-drivers?
Let's cure cancer and bring world piece at the same time.

Posted by Sir Burr on April 14, 2015 14:37

Editor Comment:

Doomsaying, Sir Burr? How unusual.


@Welcome to Paradise TAT does not guarantee a taxi from the airport at any price, but my expensive taxi ride was at the Christian New Year, my driver was a Thai who was not driving during his New Year holiday, his New Year is April 13th, but there you go, take it or leave it.

Posted by Paul on April 14, 2015 18:00

Editor Comment:

I am not sure New Year is ''Christian.'' More pagan. There are three new years, Western, Chinese and Thai. I suspect Phuket taxi rates go up on all of them. How blessed they are.


Editor Comment:

I am not sure New Year is ''Christian.'' More pagan. There are three new years, Western, Chinese and Thai. I suspect Phuket taxi rates go up on all of them. How blessed they are.

You are right ed, but there should be a prominent notice at the airport explaining that during certain times of the year taxi fares are substantially increased

Posted by Paul on April 14, 2015 18:40


Arrived at Phuket Airport to the rudest Thai folk I have ever met. Was stuffed into a minivan with 12 sweaty and disgruntled customers. The minivan stopped at a 'tourist centre' where I was told that my choice of hotel wasnt good and I should take up another place. The choices I was given were not less than 2500 Baht/night. I smiled and said that I really didn't want one. The other minivan members protested and engaged in a screaming match which made the ride to Karon Beach very tense.

It gets worse..

Tuk Tuks charge 400 Baht to get from Karon to Patong. So I try to hire a bike. To get a bike YOU HAVE TO SUBMIT YOUR PASSPORT. I get the bike from a fellow countryman who promises my passports safety. I ride it for a while and soon realise the that there are scratches that I had failed to mention. Go back to Karon beach to the owner who in his inexperience with automatics SWIFTLY CRASHES HIS BIKE INTO HIS OWN SHOP !!!!!!!!!! Luckily he didnt blame me and gave me my passport back because I wasnt comfortable riding the same bike again.

Thats a transport story for you !!!!

Posted by Gaurav on April 15, 2015 15:33

Saturday June 6, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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