Bangkok, Thailand

Getting Around


By Motorbike Taxi

When traffic slows to a crawl and there are no mass-transit alternatives to your destination, the fastest mode of transport definitely has to be the motorbike taxi. The drivers known as "motosai" cabbies wear colourful fluorescent yellow-orange vests and usually wait for passengers at busy places. The fare for the rides are negotiable before you ride.

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For the adrenaline junkie, a wild "motosai" ride can provide a fantastic rush dodging pedestrians, cars, other motorbikes, tuk-tuks and occasional stray dogs. Motorcycle drivers are known to ignore traffic rules and even some laws of physics. If you can sit and face backwards on the bike and balance a large television on your lap, then you definitely qualify as a local! Motorcycle accidents are common in Bangkok and transportation of this sort is inherently hazardous. Therefore, be aware of the risk before riding a motorcycle taxi. Under no circumstances should you ride without a wearing a helmet.

Motorbike taxis (orange vest) in Bangkok by Khaosaming

The overwhelming majority of motorcycle taxis do not travel long distances but shuttle up and down the side-streets not served by other means of transport - fares are usually 5-20 baht. Riding on the side-streets are marginally less dangerous, especially if travelling with the flow of a one-way street.

The law requires that both the driver and passenger must wear a helmet. It is the driver's responsibility to provide you one, so if you are stopped by police, any fine is also the driver's responsibility. This is worth bearing in mind when you hire a motorbike or moped. Make sure that if there are two of you, the hirer provides two helmets instead of one. When riding, keep a firm grasp on the seat handle and watch out for your knees.

Motorbike taxi drivers by Jeff Leigh
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