B200 for 1km? That’s normal, say authorities in response to video rant about the taxi mafia that went viral.
Jack “Dekfarang” Brown is a local internet personality known for his good looks and accented Thai. From Phuket, he posted a video on Jun 18, where he (rather calmly and politely) noted that B200 for a 1km ride in a tuk-tuk was a tad expensive. (He was going from Kata Beach to his hotel.)
The video went viral—it’s at 250,000 views now—and, yesterday, Phuket’s authorities stepped in to crack down on the taxi mafia and host a press conference where Mr. Brown was able to explain he’d been mistaken in his criticism.
Choice quotes from the Khaosod English article:
"'It is the maximum rate which can be bargained down,' said an unidentified official from the Phuket Land Transport Office after explaining the fare was approved by provincial authorities."
"Phuket Gov. Chamroen Tipayapongtada on Monday said the fare Brown paid was approved in 2013 and therefore not illegal and not something that should be complained about."
So what are these 2013 rates? The answer is on Phuketwan.com:
Maximum Taxi Tuk-Tuk Fares from Karon
- Karon - Phuket Airport 1000
- Karon - Kata 200
- Karon - Patong 400
- Karon - Phuket Town 550
- Karon - Kamala 600
- Karon - Koh Si Rae 700
- Karon - Phuket Deep Sea Port 700
- Karon - Chalong Bay 400
Maximum Taxi Tuk-Tuk Fares from Kamala
- Kamala - Phuket Airport 700
- Kamala - Patong 400
- Kamala - Karon 600
- Kamala - Kata 800
- Kamala - Phuket Town 700
- Kamala - Nai Harn Beach 900
- Kamala - Surin Beach 300
Maximum Taxi Tuk-Tuk Fares from Patong
- Patong - Phuket Airport 800
- Patong - Kamala 400
- Patong - Surin Beach 500
- Patong - Phuket Town 500
- Patong - Phromthep Cape 700
- Patong - Chalong Bay 500
- Patong - Chalong Temple 500
- Patong - Phuket Zoo 500
Maximum Taxi Tuk-Tuk Fares from Phuket Town
- Phuket Town - Phuket Airport 550
- Phuket Town - Makham Bay 350
- Phuket Town - Panwa Cape 400
- Phuket Town - Nai Harn Beach 500
- Phuket Town - Patong 500
- Phuket Town - Surin Beach 600
Maximum Taxi Tuk-Tuk Fares from Phuket Airport
- Phuket Airport - Koh Si Rae 800
- Phuket Airport - Makham Bay 750
- Phuket Airport - Phuket Deep Sea Port 750
- Phuket Airport - Panwa Cape 750
- Phuket Airport - Chalong Bay 650
- Phuket Airport - Rawai 1000
- Phuket Airport - Kata 1000
- Phuket Airport - Karon 1000
- Phuket Airport - Patong 800
- Phuket Airport - Cherng Talay 700
Rates above are maximum fares. They can be negotiated down—but not up. Any passengers having problems should call 1584.
As you can see, the cheapest fare is B200, from Kata to Karon (a 2.8km ride). By way of comparison, 3km in a taxi in Bangkok would cost you B53 baht, with air-con included.
One of the Phuket authorities’ key points is that tourists are meant to know that they can negotiate these prices down. Jack Brown even had to apologize for not being aware of this.
So now you know. You are getting screwed in Phuket, but it’s perfectly legal, and really, it’s down to your own pathetic negotiation skills.