Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Songthaew Taxis On Koh Phangan

Getting to Haad Rin from other areas of Koh Phangan.

A songthaew taxi is a shared taxi truck
with two facing benches of seats in the back.
The island of Koh Phangan has semi-fixed rates for most taxi journeys, but prices seem to be a lot looser than they were a few years ago, and taxi drivers will often ask for a bit more as their opening gambit.

If you’re coming to Haad Rin from Thong Sala or Ban Tai then during the day the price is meant to be 100 baht per person.  From the far end of Sunset Beach to the taxi drop off point in Haad Rin is 50 baht per person.  In the evenings the price can be more, and if you want a taxi to leave immediately, rather than wait for its set departure time, then again you will have to pay more.

I’ve always found that once you’ve agreed a price that most taxi drivers are sound, but always agree the price before you start the journey.  The last time I caught a songthaew taxi from Ban Tai to Haad Rin the driver initially asked for 200 baht ‘because I was on my own’.  I offered 100 baht and he then came down to 150 baht.  I was in no hurry to get to Haad Rin, so I politely told the driver I'd go for something to eat first and just catch a taxi later, and I then started walking away.  A few seconds later the taxi driver then pulled up alongside me and agreed to the official rate of 100 baht.  Basically, if you adopt a casual non-urgent attitude to your journey then you’ve got more chance of agreeing the official price.

On the night of Full Moon some songthaew taxis can get overcrowded as taxi drivers try to squeeze in as many customers as possible.  Although accidents are rare, they do happen occasionally, and the consequences are even more dangerous when too many passengers are squeezed in the back.  If you’re staying elsewhere on the island then on the day of Full Moon it therefore makes sense to set off for Haad Rin fairly early in the day when overcrowding won’t be so bad.

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