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The taxi stand at Phuket's Surin beach, not part of an agreement

New Taxi Fares Unlikely to End Complaints

Thursday, September 13, 2012
PHUKET: A new scale of Phuket taxi and tuk-tuk fares agreed at a meeting yesterday will please Phuket's taxi and tuk-tuk drivers but is unlikely to put a stop to the constant complaints of Phuket tourists.

No concessions were made on rates as Phuket tuk-tuk and taxi groups from Karon, Kamala, Patong, Phuket Airport and Rawai agreed on the new scale of fares. Other groups outside those areas, including Surin, have yet to agree on the rates.

Compared to anywhere else in Thailand, the fares remain extortionate. When other aspects of the cost of living are taken into account, the fares remain among the highest in the world for some of the poorest quality vehicles.

Taxi drivers in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Samui and Pattaya must look with envy at the fares charged by their colleagues on Phuket and wish that they too had monopolies on public transport.

Taxi and tuk-tuk group representatives were at yesterday's meeting with the Land Transport Department at Provincial Hall in Phuket City. Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada chaired the meeting. Phuket tourists were not represented.

Travelling by taxi and tuk-tuk around Phuket for a couple of days remains as expensive as a comfortable seat on a flight to many neighboring countries.

It was agreed yesterday that the following scheduled fares, chosen from a full list, would apply from October 1, whether there was a single passenger or up to four passengers. Beyond four passengers, fares will have to be negotiated.


Karon to Patong: 400 baht
Karon to Phuket City: 550 baht
Karon to Phuket Airport: 1000 baht
Karon to Deep Sea Port: 700 baht
Karon to New Bus Station: 600 baht
Karon to Surin beach: 700 baht


Kamala to Patong: 400 baht
Kamala to Karon: 600 baht
Kamala to Rawai: 900 baht
Kamala to Phuket Airport: 700 baht
Kamala to Phuket City: 700 baht
Kamala to Cape Panwa: 900 baht


Patong to Kamala: 400 baht
Patong to Karon: 400 baht
Patong to Kata: 500 baht
Patong to Phuket Airport: 800 baht
Patong to Laguna: 600 baht
Patong tp Cape Promthep: 700 baht


Phuket Airport to Koh Sireh: 600 baht
Phuket Airport to Deep Sea Port: 750 baht
Phuket Airport to Chalong: 650 baht
Phuket Airport to Karon: 750 baht
Phuket Airport to Surin: 550 baht
Phuket Airport to Kamala: 600 baht


Rawai to Deep Sea Port: 750 baht
Rawai to Cape Panwa: 800 baht
Rawai to Chalong Bay: 350 baht
Rawai to Kata: 400 baht
Rawai to Patong: 700 baht
Rawai to Surin: 900 baht
Rawai to Phuket Airport: 1000 baht
Rawai to Phuket City: 500 baht
Rawai to New bus Station: 600 baht

A check on the board at a Surin beach taxi and tuk-tuk rank - not part of yesterday's agreement - showed the following fares:


Surin to Phuket Airport: 700 baht
Surin to Kamala: 300 baht
Surin to JW Marriott: 900 baht
Surin to FantaSea (Kamala): 300 baht
Surin to Laguna: 400 baht
Surin to Mission Hills: 700 baht
Surin to Karon: 700 baht
Surin to Kata: 800 baht
Surin to Phuket City: 600 baht
Surin to Cape Promthep: 1200 baht
Surin to Cape Panwa: 1100 baht
Surin to Khao Lak: 2500 baht
Surin to Krabi: 3500 baht


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I am gobsmacked that, in spite of all the complaints, they have actually increased the fare from Patong to the airport, from 600/700bt to 800!! How much now from airport to Patong, please? (not on your list) I tried to get a mini-bus last month, from the airport to Patong, for a price of 150bt, at one of the booths, and was told "sorry, the last mini-bus has already gone"!

Posted by Ga on September 13, 2012 14:24


So can you ask the person who is in charge of these negotiations as to why the prices are 3 times the rest of Thailand?
An absolute joke, and I hope the industry crumbles, but alas, it won't happen.

Posted by Tbs on September 13, 2012 15:07


I would rather walk from Patong to the airport, before feeding the taxi mob... It's just unbelievable that they get away with these rip-off rates. One fare per day only makes their living.

Posted by Resident on September 13, 2012 15:26


Ahhhh- love the logic. The extortionate prices will now become legal so that's OK, problem solved!

Posted by Mister Ree on September 13, 2012 15:32


I am happy Phuket beaches are now so awful, I do not feel the need to show up there. Shopping, cinema and hospitals is all I am left to need from Phuket. And all places have a nice car park for me. Our car rent pick us up at the airport, so I really do not care anymore.

But still they do not get it. High prices in transport keeps the tourist stay in their resort ghettos. Less business for everyone else.

Do they still not take passengers to go back? Drive one-way, pay for two? But still expensive...

Posted by Lena on September 13, 2012 15:41


aside from no progress being made what so ever...the public has been screwed even more..what a slap in the face to the tourist industry

Posted by sky on September 13, 2012 16:05


The new hire car scheme will aggravate, not solve, the current transport problems.

Note that the word ''taxi'' does not appear on the vehicle or licence. These are green plate hire cars, not taxis. Taxis have either controlled fares or controlled market entry by driver and vehicle quality. This scheme has no controls.

The scheme registers all comers, so the enormous over-supply of hire cars will continue.

The current system enforced by the cartels where all drivers have to return to their designated base, which doubles the cost, and the passenger fare, will be legitimized.

The scheme legitimizes the driver encampments every 100 metres along the beach roads from which tourists are hassled. The lines of parked vehicles taking up all curbside parking spaces, protected by threats of violence, will continue.

Painting the drivers name on the vehicle is obviously impractical. Many cars have several drivers.

What about all the ''black taxis'' that do not operate from one of the encampments? Will they have to pay a fee to join a curbside cartel?

Will there be any sensible limit on the number of cars at any location?

This whole mess has arisen because of long-standing failure by the authorities to enforce the law and to challenge the self-appointed strong men who control the hire car sector.

This scheme will increase the power of the hire car cartels over the authorities even more and we can confidently expect that there will be no enforcement of fares, licence conditions, driver behaviour or the next generation of black taxis.

The new fares make it very clear that the hire car groups are dictating their terms to the government. Their veto on any form of fixed-route bus service between the beaches will be strengthened.

Posted by taxidermist on September 13, 2012 16:13


Ive noticed that the influx of Europeans is slowly going down - we came first, and we are getting tired of it.
Of course with a lot of new groups, russians, chinese i.e., it will take some years, but eventually they will learn the hard way that there are only so many times you can eat the pig and still expect it to be alive and kicking.

Posted by Observer on September 13, 2012 16:14


I doubt there's a single expat on Phuket surprised by this news.

This makes it clear that local authorities support and endorse ripping off tourists. Talk all you want but actions like this reveal the true attitude to everyone. Vice Governor chairing the meeting makes it as official as it can possibly get.

Very hospitable policy for a destination that relies 90% on tourism.

Why not just place a huge collection box at the airport arrivals hall with a sign reading

" Leave all your valuables here and Get Out !"

Get all the money without having to deal with us pesky foreigners.

We are only good for making bad headlines anyway when we get killed by speedboats, robbers or in traffic.

Posted by Andrew on September 13, 2012 16:33


unbelievable... They never have in mind to solve this BS and they will never. live with it and that pretty much it.

Posted by frog on September 13, 2012 16:33


A few of the prices listed are a bit high and the Surin prices are well over the odds. However, you must keep things in perspective. In 1985 a taxi from Patong to the airport was 500 baht but the Aust.dollar was only 17 baht and at one stage it went down to 15 baht. The U.S dollar was about 24 or 25 baht. Petrol has tripled in price since 1985 and the traffic is far worse so I don't see the prices as outrageous. Everything is negotiable after all.

I pay 300 baht for a taxi from Patong to the bus station and 600 to the airport but I tip my man an extra 100 as he has charged me the same prices for 15 years.

A lost of the online belly-aching I see is from our British friends as their pound has dropped from the high 60's per baht to about 49 lately. Mind you, a few year ago the Aust. dollar dropped to 22 baht and everything immediately became more expensive for me.

I think in general, Thailand has extremely cheap and reliable transport. A mini bus from Nakhon Sri to Phuket is only 350 baht. I buy 2 seats for myself at 700 baht and that is about $23.50 AUD. for a 5 hour trip. A songthaew in Nakhon is 10 baht anywhere in town or motorbike taxi 20 baht.

Most taxi drivers in Phuket don't make that much money. Most have their whole life savings invested in their car. The cost of living on Phuket is higher than anywhere else as are the kick backs expected. The tuk-tuks are a separate issue along with the jet skis as they have political patronage they must pay for.

Posted by logbags on September 13, 2012 17:48


I recently went to Bali and hired a driver for 3 days tour. Including pick up and drop off at the airport, 5 hours on the first day and 9 hours on the second day for a little more than 3,000 baht. The driver was courteous (no insults about my Thai gf), knowledgeable of local culture and drove safely. No comparison to the mafia attitude here. If they only realized they could make a nice living without killing the tourist goose laying the golden eggs...

Posted by Jon on September 13, 2012 18:24


Simple, do not use them. Rent a scooter at your hotel or a car at Hertz, is cheaper.

Posted by Jean_paul Patrick on September 13, 2012 18:30


Airport taxi tip:
For years I have always thought the booths inside the airport (just outside the arrivals hall) would be a complete rip off - due to extra cost of renting the space. Normally, I walk through mob outside shouting 800 - 1000 b to Pk town and wait for a meter taxi (where I am verbally abused by the other drivers and told the meter taxis are off duty - they do eventually turn up, but you have to wait). The meters are turned off but it's still only 400 - 500 b. (Better than 1000 b from the bullies, and the airport is a fair drive.) This week I enquired out of interest at the booths - got a v. friendly reception, nice new taxi for the 2 of us for 500 b (to town), no wait, no abuse, helpful driver. Completely refreshing (having spent the last 30 mins preparing myself to battle with the thugs outside). I asked at the booths why it was cheaper inside when they had to pay additional rent - got a one word answer: "mafia".

I have been reliably informed that Pk Authorities admit that they are powerless against these cartels. Although the presence of the Vice-Gov. at this meeting is not encouraging.

Posted by James on September 13, 2012 18:33


"Rent a scooter at your hotel or a car at Hertz, is cheaper." Not if the drivers do not have an international license and/or the vehicle insurance is not in order. Too many visitors are oblivious to these basics. Many people should not be driving in Phuket due to the lack of experience with Thai driving conditions, and the characteristics of a vacayion including being tired/drinking/unfamiliar with local behaviour. The local authorities have blown it. Had they not accepted excessive greed and kept the fares reasonable, more people would have been open to the tuk tuks and taxis. You are correct though about the rental of a car being better for many people.

Posted by Ryan on September 13, 2012 19:39


Farce, they are shooting themselves in the foot yet again hurry and open up Burma and don't follow this example please

Posted by Scunner on September 13, 2012 20:18


Comparing Phuket's taxi fares with other international fares does not make sense. Why not compare Phuket with Bangkok, where taxi's are actually regulated and driving with a meter..
A comparison will show that the difference is indeed totally out of whack with reality. How can Phuket be at least 5 times more expensive than BKK. Specially if you realize that in BKK U will use a proper air con car and in Phuket a mini tuk tuk with no safety belts etc....
They are way to expensive for a normal Thai living standard anywhere in Thailand, including Phuket. Does a Thai wanting to fly anywhere in Thailand have to pay 3 times the minimum wage to go from Patong to the airport??? (Where in Bangkok you can drive from Sukhumvit to the airport for a days of wages....)

Posted by Lucien on September 13, 2012 20:43


Another victory for the cynics, naysayers and glass half-empty readers of this site.

Posted by Sir Burr on September 13, 2012 21:30


I have avvoided Phuket the last 4 years, thanks to the greedy people there. Have been arround other places in Thailand instead, now startet to travel to the phils. There are always alternatives.

Posted by norway on September 14, 2012 00:59


Due to my work, I am in contact with foreigners all the time, and when I ask if they rent a car during their stay here, most of them say no, and prefer the taxis, cause they are cheap!

Posted by Charles on September 14, 2012 01:20


Another rip off by the tuk-tuk mafia. Don't they understand that a cheaper fare will make tourists more likely to use them regularly. If you don't agree with their fare, the drivers shrug their shoulders, abuse you in Thai then sit empty on their parking place. I walked from Paradise along Rat-U-Thit untill the end of Jung Ceylon and counted 114 at about midnight. Surely that tells a story.

Posted by mick on September 14, 2012 12:38


I just use people that I know the price is already negotiated,why use tuk tuks to get abused and if your unlucky get bashed, mugged or robbed NO thanks. I also have walked by vacant tuk tuks asked the price tried to negotiate they dont care but they are still sitting there for hours on end would it not make sence to be busy all day with a fair rate? its not plausable to be sitting on your backside all day and not to work all day.

Posted by Alex on September 17, 2012 10:52


In truth, these fares are still less than half of what they should be to give the drivers a decent wage. I took a taxi from Haneda Airport (Tokyo) a few weeks ago to an airport hotel nearby, the ride took 10 minutes and my taxi fare was 3,300 yen (1,300 baht). What are you complaining about? Phuket taxis are VERY cheap.

Posted by James on September 17, 2012 23:16

Editor Comment:

''When other aspects of the cost of living are taken into account, the fares remain among the highest in the world for some of the poorest quality vehicles''.


@ Ryan. Despite what some out of date consulate websites still claim, you do not need an IDP (international drivers permit, which is what you meant when you said "international drivers license") to rent or drive legally as a tourist in Thailand. Check the small print of your rental contract or insurance policy. It only says "legally licensed" and if your home license is in English, has a photo, and your home country is a contracting state to the UN Geneva traffic act of 1949, which most are, you are legally licensed per Thai Law. (Title 3, Section 42 and 42-2, Motor Vehicle Act of 1979) In other words, your home license is already considered an "international license" valid if you are a tourist.

Posted by NomadJoe on September 22, 2012 22:30


gobsmacked or shell shocked. These people are a law unto themselves. 400baht from patong to kamala. That's as expensive a journey as a taxi in Perth. This will not encourage tourists to visit other parts of the island. What a joke this has become. I was deciding which destination on my next trip either Phuket or Hua Hin i think the decision is an easy one thanks to the Mafia of Phuket.

Posted by chaseone on October 2, 2012 08:34


Yes it's disgusting that the mafia at the airport charge what they do ... A family of 4 to karon $1400 bt tuk tuk karon to patong 400bt this is the last time I will be in phuket, the people have become arrogant and fixed prices for everything really stinks . There are much better places to visit than phuket . New Year's Eve they wanted 500 bt to go to patong then another couple goined us for the tuk tuk ride he wanted another 300 that's just ripping the tourists off . My wife and daughter went for a massage and I done a bit of shopping and had to wait for half a hour to wait for them to finish so thoughti would get a half hour massage on my shoulders , I asked how much and she said the same price as a hour massage . I told them that they just shot themselves in the foot as we are here for two weeks and the four of us get massages each day so we won't be back to there shop so they had a loss of 6800 bht just for being greedy . There attitude stinks and reading the reviews of the tours to the islands and phi phi island the tour operators just treat you like dirt they are just after the $$$

Posted by Anonymous on January 2, 2014 19:04


Can you please give me a price you would charge Patong to Mangosteen resort return

Khaawp Knoon Khrap

Posted by wally cook on December 26, 2014 11:34

Saturday August 8, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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