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More tourists are reported to be unhappy with treatment on Phuket

Phuket Limo Drivers Accused of Seeking 'Extras'

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
AIRPORT officials are investigating an allegation that limo drivers on Phuket are seeking commissions after picking up tourists.

One case reported to Phuketwan by an expat resident details an undesirable attempt at extracting money of the kind that Thai officials are trying to stamp out at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport.

The expat ended up being so intimidated by the actions of the driver that he would prefer to not have his real name used.

''Richard'' told Phuketwan that he and a Thai associate were presented with a ticket at the taxi/limo desk inside the airport after arriving on a flight about 7.30pm last Wednesday, September 23.

''We were not picked up at the front but had to make our way in the rain to the car,'' Richard said. ''There was no 'hello', no nothing from the driver.

''We turned right out of the airport, and almost immediately, before the left-turn to the main highway, we pulled up.

''The driver said he 'had to sign in for insurance.' I saw a couple of other expats emerging from the building and a woman came out and over to the car.

'''Which hotel are you going to?' she asked us. I told her I was a resident going home, and we went on our way.''

Richard said the driver kept on going straight towards Nai Yang, and an exchange of words followed.

It turned out that the driver was making allowances for the roadwork being done at the major t-junction, which requires motorists to turn left and drive towards Phang Nga before being able to u-turn back towards the south.

Richard said the driver tail-gated other vehicles the entire way in wet conditions, and told them he had been working since 6am that morning.

''He also pulled in for a petrol stop,'' Richard said. ''He said he only made 6000 baht a month, and that his only way to make extra was if he managed to achieve a return fare to the airport.

''By the time I got home, I was shaking. I'm a long-term resident but i haven't had a ride like that for a while. If I was a tourist, I would have been very unimpressed.''

The General Manager of Phuket Airport, Prathuang Somkhom, said there had been complaints and they were being investigated.

A brochure has been produced for Phuket tourists, highlighting the Tourist Police 24-hour telephone number: 1155.

''We would like people to call immediately and give details of the cars involved directly to the Tourist Police,'' Wing Commander Prathuang said.

An Australian couple who came through Suvarnabhumi airport this week on their way to Phuket said they were pleasantly surprised by the well-organised taxi pick-up there, and were even handed a complaints form with the booking slip.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


The practice of stopping in at the tour companies lined along the route south from the airport has been going on for years. The authorities have known about it for years. They don't have the inclination to fix this problem.

In the past the rough figures were that the taxi driver made 70% of the available commission for stopping in with the tourists. And the tour agent made the remaining 30% of the commission. I've seen taxi drivers making 5 figures on one trip. 6,000THB/month? He must be a friend of the Karon Tuk Tuk boss who claims a Tuk Tuk costs over a million baht!!

Posted by Duncan on September 29, 2009 18:16


The same thing has happened to me every time I take a taxi from the airport !I have reported this before on Phuketwan. I now tell them at the taxi stand that I do NOT want to stop at the roadside shop .Last year I went to Koh Lanta by mini bus.

On the way back the driver nearly killed us all with his reckless driving. Nearing Phuket town, we again were stopped at a road shop and made to repeat where we were staying /booked etc .

Two young English tourists were insulted and shouted at by the Thai lady and a Ladyboy, as they didnt understand what was wanted of them . I tried to stop it and reassure the girls but they were in tears ! A lovely welcome to Phuket I would say !

Posted by elizabeth on September 29, 2009 22:05


I am a regular, yearly Visitor of Phuket since 13 years.
To the "public Transport": I have recognised on my first visit back in 1996 that the airport-Taxis and Tuk-Tuks are "Bandits". Since then I always organised private transport from and to the Airport and during my stay I always rent a Motorbike.

To the driving-style of those "Schumachers": I ride my bicycle very often all over the Island of Phuket. Everytime there are some people trying "to kill me". Mostly airport-limousines, minibusses and tuk-tuks...
My advice: Try to stay away of them as good as possible, for sure you gonna have less troubles and harassment.

Posted by Lance on September 29, 2009 22:36


I cannot understand how the goverment do nothing against these bad persons who damage the image of thailand. i stop myself 3 times at a travel shop on the way back from the airport. also i had a tuk tuk driver who want to kill me because after he nearly hit me with his tuk tuk he thought i am a tourist so i had to accept his driving style. i don't want to even talk about the minibus drivers. I hope one day the expats and the phuket visitors stand up against them.

Posted by Tom on September 30, 2009 09:04


Well, I never had a problem with Phuket Airport transfer. Drivers were nice and funny and also cared to drive a little less fast, when I asked them to.

Also no one ever dared to drive me to a travel shop. I wonder why.

No, as much as I have to complain about the Jetski locos, the Phuket Airport transfer was always a good experience.

Posted by Lena on September 30, 2009 11:36


when asked where I stay, its easy to say you are on a pre-paid holiday and already have room.

it seems to put a "crimp" in their plans to try and stop and get you to find a different room.

Posted by MIKEY on September 30, 2009 23:03


I have always used the limo service from inside the airport and have never stopped anywhere or had any complaints about the drivers

Posted by Michael on October 1, 2009 17:21


This was the first time my friend & I arrived in Phuket. DO NOT TAKE THE AIRPORT LIMO! I was scared half to death wondering if the driver would actually drive us to the hotel. He stopped by the shop which they claimed "government company".

I wasted a whole half-an-hour there. The travel agents kept persuading me to pay twice as much as the rate online for the tour excursions & all I wanted was to go to my hotel! Phuket's wonderful, but with this kind of people, I doubt I'll come again.

Posted by Izzey on October 2, 2009 10:27


Same incident happened to me and my wife.
Drove out of the airport and stopped at a tour shop just before the nai yang intersection.

A lady came out asking what hotel i was staying even though i told the limo desk i was going to a private residence.
Once the guy was told by the lady i was a resident, he drove like a maniac and was irritable and not a single word out of his mouth.

The tuk tuks are another matter all together.

They claim they spend 1.2 million buying those little red/pink/yellow death traps when a Toyota Vios is half the price for the base model.
It has seat belts, airconditioning and can easily make it up those steep hills without backing up traffic.

Posted by Mick on October 3, 2009 05:58


following the new airport taxi signs in Suvarnabhumi airport leads straight into the hands of the robbers who were on the first level last month. Instant 1000 bht quotes with no alternatives, i had to walk out to the main road, without the trolley, with my three year old daughter, and bundle us all into a passing taxi in the middle of a busy main road. we got to our hotel for less than 200bht. This airport scam has become a international joke and is damaging the kingdom

Posted by Richard on October 7, 2009 07:58

Thursday July 18, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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