Green Plate Taxis vs Metered Taxis in Phuket

by Mama Loves Phuket

Catching a taxi or using a ride-sharing app in Phuket can be a seriously confusing business.

What’s stated in law and what’s seen in practice can be two very different things, so we are clarifying here what we have noticed as repeat tourists and now part-time expats in Phuket.

Metered Taxis in Phuket

Metered taxis do exist in Phuket, albeit they are rare compared to other forms of transportation. They are notable for their red and yellow exterior and yellow number plates.

a yellow and red metered taxi in Phuket

The rates for metered taxis in Phuket were set in 2014 and have not been increased since.

  • First 2 kilometres – ฿50 flat fee
  • 1km to 15 km ฿12 per kilometer
  • 15km of more – ฿10 per kilometer
  • When travelling under 5km/hr – ฿1 per minute
  • Ordering a taxi or via the call centre incurs a fee of ฿50
  • Flagfall from Phuket International Airport – ฿100

The laws do not stipulate what metered taxis not registered in Phuket can charge (i.e. driving from another province). Note that metered taxi rates in Phuket differ from Bangkok and other provinces.

Metered taxis can only fit 4 passengers and 4 small suitcases or 2 large suitcases. They aren’t always the best options for families with more passengers or requiring more luggage space.

Green Plate Taxis in Phuket

Most taxis in Phuket are fitted with a green registration plate. Green plates do not use a meter, but you can negotiate your rate. There is a set of maximum agreed fares, albeit they may not be strictly enforced, and if you’re not careful in your negotiations, you could pay overs.

example of a green palte taxi in phuket that can be used with grab

Per an announcement made in October 2021, these are the agreed maximum rates for taxis for vehicles with up to 4 passengers (also referred to as “recommended rates”).

From Phuket AirportRecommended Fare
Phuket Town650
Mai Khao Beach600
Surin700
Kamala750
Patong800
Chalong Bay800
Nai Harn Beach1000
Karon1000
Kata1000
Rawai900
Sourced from the complete tables published from the Ministry of Transport by thephuketnews.com.

From PatongRecommended Fare
Karon400
Kata500
Kamala400
Surin500
Bang Tao600
Chalong500
Rawai600
Nia Harn Beach600
Phuket Airport800

‘As recommended’ and ‘maximums’ seem to be used interchangeably; never just assume a fare; always verbally agree with your driver on the amount before jumping in.

If you have a dispute to raise over a taxi driver, you will need their name, license number and vehicle registration. The Taxi complaints number is 1584.

Before jumping in, make sure they have a green plate and have their taxi information clearly displayed on the front windshield. Without these, they are not a popularly registered taxi or ride-share service.

Will Taxis Stick to These Fares?

No guarantee, nope. Go in understanding your position, but also understand they are providing a service; if demand is high, they will be tough on their price. If business is slow and the journey is easy, or traffic is light, you can probably bargain them down a little as they’d rather not miss out on a fare.

What About “Black Plates”

Vehicles with white number plates and black writing are referred to as “black plates”- ordinary passenger vehicles, and they should not be taking fares of any kind. If you notice your vehicle is operating without a taxi registration sticker or green or yellow plates, they are operating illegally. Take these services at your own peril; the driver is risking a big fine.

Tuk Tuks and motorized bikes

Although not nearly as prevalent as they used to be, Tuk Tuks still exist in Phuket, particularly along the stretch Patong-Karon-Kata. They are great for short hops between beaches, for example. They are “open air” and less comfortable than a normal air-conditioned vehicle but can be a fun, authentic island experience if you’re in no rush to arrive at your destination!

tuk tuk in Phuket
Tuk Tuks are less common now, but still exist as a type of transport in Phuket

You will still need to bargain, sticking to the same rates mentioned above for green plate taxis.

What about taxi apps in Phuket?

There are numerous taxi and ride-share apps common in Phuket.

Certified Taxi Apps in Phuket

The following Apps ARE certified for use in Phuket by the Department of Land Transport:

Note that these drivers still need to be licensed. Their vehicle should have green number plates, regardless of how the vehicle was booked.

The most popular and reliable in Phuket is Grab. If you’re uncertain in your taxi negotiations, a pretty good rule of thumb is to test the same fare using Grab and ensure you’re only paying +/- 100 THB from Grab.

Another good option, which has now been legalised in Phuket, is Bolt. We have found that Bolt is almost always cheaper, though they seem less reliable with cancellations, etc. Using the Bolt app, you can also book a metered taxi at a fixed rate if you prefer nothing you’re in an ‘official’ yellow plate vehicle (though invariably they are older, less comfortable cars!).

We compare our experience using Bolt and Grab here.

Grab, and other rideshare apps, offer you the convenience of your journey being tracked and payment coming automatically off your credit or debit card, so there is no need for wads of cash in Phuket to pay for your taxis and no chance of being ripped off from your agreed price.

We wish you luck in getting your transportation services in Phuket. It is undoubtedly an area that continues to draw contention from tourists, but for the most part, taxis are a pretty reliable way to get from A to B around the island.

Public Transport Alternatives

Public transport alternatives you may want to consider:


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© Mama Loves Phuket 2024

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