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Although getting around on foot gives you the most freedom, sometimes you may want to take a local taxi to save time or to transport heavy luggage. Actually, a lot of foreign travelers try them out just for the exciting experience!

Talking about taxis in Thailand, the first thing that might pop up in your head are tuk-tuks. These fun vehicles are really common in the streets of Bangkok, Ayuddhya, Trang and many other cities. Yet, there are other types of transportation that are equally popular.

Here are more choices of common local taxis that you can find in almost every town and city round Thailand: Motorcycle taxi or win motorcy, motorbike with a sidecar or saleng and pickup truck with two bench seats in the back or songthaew.

Win motorcy and saleng are private taxis while songthaew is a shared taxi that follows a route.

Win Motorcy

In Thailand the motorcycle taxi drivers wear colorful vests with numbers on the back

The name win motorcy comes from horse racing. The first horse to reach the goal is a win horse. Similarly, the first motorcycle taxi to reach the passenger is a win motorcy.

Outside of Bangkok, Thais often call motorcycle taxi mae kreung. Motorcycle taxi drivers wear colorful vests with numbers on the back. They hang out at their stations, that have blue parking signs, or round busy places like hospitals and shopping malls.

Normally, each driver has a spare helmet for the passenger. However, this may not be the case in small towns and villages.

Motorcycle taxis are known for driving really fast and tend to go between cars in order to get you to the destination as fast as possible.


A motorbike with a side car, is known as a saleng. Often times they have roofs, which is especially practical during rainy season. There is enough space for 2-4 passengers. The driver wears a vest with a number on the back. You can easily find them at busy street corners, by train or bus stations. Otherwise, they wait around at their stations that have a blue parking sign.
The saleng is a popular form of transportation in rural Thailand
Actually, the saleng is a really popular form of transportation for home use as well. Instead of having a motorcycle, families in the countryside prefer to own a saleng. That way, they can take the whole family out and bring lots of things with them home.

You can tell whether the saleng is a taxi or not by looking at the driver's outfit. Saleng taxi drivers wear solid-color vests with a number on the back. In addition, saleng taxis feature yellow license plates.

The fare is per passenger and it's calculated by distance. The driver usually charges a bit less per person if two or more travel together. However, if you have a lot of luggage, you may not get a discount. Moreover, the fare at night is higher than during the day.


The songthaew is a popular form of transportation in Thailand
Songthaews follow a set route and the destination is written on the side of the pickup truck. Like minibuses, songthaews run on a schedule. Yet, it's better not to depend too much on the schedule since many Thais, especially in rural places, are quite indifferent when it comes to time. You might end up waiting for hours and still not see any taxi. The songthaews don't necessarily look the same all over the country.

The fares are fixed and based on distance. However, if you want to go a little bit beyond the final destination, the driver may be able to take you there for an extra charge.

You can get on the songthaew at the station or anywhere along the route by waiving to the driver. Though in certain tourist areas, the songthaew can only pick up passengers at their stops in order not to block traffic.

To get off, press the stop button on the ceiling or signal to the driver by tapping on the metal frame with a coin.

It's advisable to avoid taking songthaews during rush hour since they're often packed with passengers and you may have to stand on the rear platform.

In rural areas, many chartered songthaews operate as school buses. Make sure you take one with a yellow license plate, which is a public songthaew.

Now, it's high time to explore local taxis in Thailand...

Suggested Reading:   Travel By Bus   Travel By Train

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