Travel Smart: Do You Know How to Avoid Airport Transfer Scams?

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Airport transfers

How to get into Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi International Airport:

Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Photo courtesy of @rathawat

We know that every second counts on your holiday, especially when you’re searching for that bowl of exquisite pho in the backstreets of Ho Chi Minh City or have a bunch of baht in your pocket for that pair of cool shades in Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market. The beaches of Bali and the markets of Jakarta and Manila have been beckoning you for weeks, so there’s no time to waste! Skyscanner helps you save time by bringing you tips for getting into the city quickly and safely from some of Southeast Asia’s busiest airports. To be extra safe and to have more time, you can also book an airport transfer directly through Skyscanner.

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Suvarnabhumi Airport, 30km outside the city centre, is one of two airports serving bustling Bangkok. Don’t feel embarrassed about getting lost in here, or needing to have a rest on your way to collect your luggage; it’s the largest airport on earth, covering a staggering 2,980 hectares!

Thanks to the good diplomatic ties Thailand has with Singapore, Singaporeans are able to use the automated gates at Suvarnabhumi Airport. If you don’t have any checked-in luggage, you can expect to clear immigration and customs within 10 minutes, leaving you with more time to enjoy Bangkok!

Related: Bangkok Again? Here Are 12 Offbeat Things in Bangkok That You’ve Probably Not Done Before, and Will Love

How to take a train into Bangkok:

Airport transfers

Editorial credit: Surachet Jo/Shutterstock.com

The fastest way into town is the Airport Link which travels from the airport to Makkasan (for MRT) and Phaya Thai (for BTS) from 6:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m. with departures every 12 minutes. Fares into town cost S$1.70 (THB45) and the journey takes a speedy 26 minutes making this the most efficient and least stressful way into Bangkok. If you are heading to the backpacker mecca of Khao San Road you’ll need to hop in a cab (S$2.80/THB75) or take bus 15 (S$0.30/THB7) from Phaya Thai.

Find their timetables and maps: Airport Link

Budget tip: If you’re really counting your pennies, and have the luxury of time over money, take the Airport Link to Lat Krabang (S$0.60/THB15) and change to a local 3rd class slow train to Hualamphong station in the heart of town (1 hour, S$0.20/THB6).

Read: 5 Epic Train Journeys to Experience in Asia

How to take a taxi/ride-hailing service into Bangkok:

Airport transfers

Metered taxis can be found outside the arrivals hall on the first floor; just follow the “Public Taxi” signs. You’ll need to pay a S$2 (THB50) surcharge for the airport taxi service. The drive into town can take between 30 mins to 1 hour depending on traffic, and the fare is between S$10-S$15 (THB250-400). Don’t forget you’ll need a bit of money to pay for tolls, usually between S$1-S$2 (THB25-THB50).

If you prefer a little convenience, you can opt to use a ride-hailing service such as Grab which you can use with the app available for both iOS and Android. The average cost of a Grab using the JustGrab option from the airport to the city will cost you $15 (THB 354).

Check out: 6 Things You Must Know Before You Drive an Uber or Grab Car

How to take a bus to Bangkok:

Taking a bus into town is a major hassle and can take up to 2 hours. Firstly you need to take a free shuttle bus to the Public Transportation Centre and then find your bus. Fares into town are S$1.40 (THB35). Services of interest to travellers include the 551 to the Victory Monument and the 552 to On Nut BTS station.

Mode of Transport

Average Cost

Duration of Trip

Airport Rail $1.70 (45THB) 26 Minutes
Taxi/Private Car $15 (354THB) 30-40 Minutes
Bus $1.40 (33THB) 2 Hours

How to get into Ho Chi Minh City from Tan Sot Nhat International Airport:

Airport transfers

Tan Sot Nhat International Airport
Photo courtesy of @kshengchan

Tan Sot Nhat is Vietnam’s largest airport and is located 6km from the city centre. The airport has a clean and fairly new international terminal and on your way out, you’ll be able to withdraw cash from the ATMs and pick up a Vietnamese SIM card. This airport has a reputation as being filled with scam artists and there are countless reports of travellers being ripped off here by touts and dodgy taxi drivers so follow our simple steps to get you into town in one piece.

Read also: The Top VIP Airport Lounges in the World and How You Can Get Access

How to take a taxi/ride-hailing service into Ho Chi Minh City:

Choose only a Vinasun or Mai Linh taxi; their drivers will use the meter (politely remind them to switch it on if they don’t). Vinasun or Mai Linh taxi into District 1 around Ben Thanh Market should cost around S$10 (VND160,000) plus around S$0.60 (VND10,000) in tolls. The journey into town takes between 15 to 30 minutes depending on the traffic.

Like Bangkok, Grab is also available. A typical Grab ride from the airport to the city will cost you on average, S$8 (133,644₫).

Pro-tip: Check the spelling on your taxi as there are a number of less reputable imitations. It’s Mai Linh or Vinasun that you are looking for NOT Mei Linh or Mai Lin or Vinason.

Read: 5 Nearby Countries Every Singaporean on a Budget Should Visit

How to take a bus into Ho Chi Minh City:

Airport transfers

Editorial credit: kateko/Shutterstock.com

If dealing with taxis sound like a headache, you might fancy the ease of hopping on local aircon bus 109 to the tourist area around Pham Ngu Lao. Touts will insist the bus stopped running years ago as they try and persuade you into a scam taxi ride, so follow the signs to the bus stop in front of the international terminal. The journey takes around 45 minutes and costs S$1.20 (VND20,000).

Find their Bus schedules: Bus schedules

Budget tip: There’s a cheaper bus service, the 152, which runs to Pham Ngu Lao from outside the international terminal. It’s not as spacious and no announcements are made in English, but it’s cheap at S$0.30 (VND5000). If you’re asked to pay an extra VND5000 for your luggage, you should refuse (it’s a scam!).

Mode of Transport

Average Cost

Duration of Trip

Taxi S$10.60 (170,000₫) 15-30 Minutes
Ride Hailing S$10.60 (170,000₫) 15-30 Minutes
Bus S$0.30 (5000₫) 45 Minutes

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How to get into Manila from Ninoy Aquino International Airport:

Airport transfers

Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Photo courtesy of @steph_26b

Manila is a huge and bewildering, but one of Southeast Asia’s most energetic and fun city getaway destinations famed for one of the region’s best shopping. The city’s airport, Ninoy Aquino, is located 7km to the Southwest of Makati and downtown Manila.

How to take a taxi/ride haling service into Manila:

Airport transfers

Take an official yellow metered airport taxi which lines up outside the arrival area. The taxi fare into the city centre shouldn’t cost much more than S$7 (PHP250) and the journey into town can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour depending on the traffic. You also have the option of taking a white ‘coupon’ taxi which has set rates for the ride into town e.g. S$12.60 (PHP440) into Makati or S$15 (PHP530) into Pasig.

Related: 12 Insider Tips for First-Time Travellers to the Philippines

If taking a taxi seems daunting, you can also explore the various ride-hailing services that Manila has to offer. The average base fare starts at S$1.02 (40PHP) and costs on average $0.36 (14PHP) per kilometre. Grab’s app will work in Manila too so you don’t have to worry about downloading a new app.

How to take a bus and train combo into Manila:

If you’re heading to the tourist district of Malate, an alternative to a taxi is to catch a shuttle bus from outside Terminal 3 to EDSA Station (bus sign reads LRT) for S$0.40 (PHP15) and then get on Line 1 to Gil Puyat (2 stops away, S$0.40/PHP15) in Malate. The journey will take you approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Mode of Transport

Average Cost

Duration of Trip

Taxi S$7-15 (PHP250 – PHP530) 30-60 Minutes
Ride Hailing S$7-14 (PHP250 – PHP530) 30-60 Minutes
Bus & Train Combo S$0.80 (PHP 30) 1 Hour – 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Read also: 6 Secrets to Traveling Like a Local in Palawan, Philippines

How to get into Jakarta from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport:

Airport transfer

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport
Photo courtesy of @jj_layoverlounge

Located 20km to the West of Jakarta, the airport is the busiest airport in Southeast Asia and the busiest in the entire Southern hemisphere. Yet, it manages to maintain an atmosphere of relative calm and tranquillity, though be prepared to queue for a long time to get stamped into the country.

Read: 5 Economical Year-End Travel Destinations

How to take a taxi/ride-hailing service into Jakarta:

Airport transfers

Photo courtesy of @hasbi.id

Wave away the touts and search for taxi stands operated by Blue Bird, Silver Bird and Ekspress, and join the queue. These taxis are reliable and the drivers will always use meters. A taxi into the town centre on Blue Bird or Ekspress will cost between S$9 (IDR90,000) and S$11 (IDR110,000). Silver Bird taxis are a bit pricier at around S$13 (IDR130,000) but are very spacious and comfortable.

Go-Jek, Indonesia’s national ride-hailing service, is also another option for getting into the city. The average cost of a trip to the city from the airport will cost you on average S$6.62 (IDR71,293).

Read also: Bali Guide: Activities for Every Type of Traveller + Travel Tips

How to take a bus into Jakarta:

A good budget alternative to taking a taxi is to get an air-conditioned DAMRI bus. These buses depart from Terminal 2 and 3 (follow the signs for DAMRI) and leave every 15 to 45 minutes. If you’re staying in the backpacker area around Jalan Jaksa or at the hotels in central Jakarta, get the DAMRI bus to Gambir Station for S$3.50 (IDR35,000). Buses run from 3:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Mode of Transport

Average Cost

Duration of Trip

Taxi $S10 – S$14 (IDR100,000 – IDR 140,000) 45 Minutes – 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Ride Hailing S$6.62 (IDR71,293) 45 Minutes – 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Bus S$3.50 (IDR35,000) 1 Hour – 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ngurah Rai International Airport (more commonly known as Denpasar International Airport) is around 4km south of central Kuta. There are lots of ATMs for you to stock up on rupiah so you don’t need to battle with Kuta’s notorious money changers.

You may like: 8 Handy Travel Apps for the Financially Savvy Traveller

How to take a taxi into Kuta:

Airport transfers

The easiest way to the resorts is to grab a pre-paid taxi from outside the arrival hall. The average cost of a ride to town is S$5 (IDR50,000). It will cost more to Legian and Seminyak. There are countless touts outside the arrival hall offering rides into Kuta for around S$20 (IDR200,000). Just ignore them and head straight for the pre-paid counter. The average duration from the airport is approximately 40 minutes.

Budget tip: Save on your taxi fare by walking 200 metres to the main road and hailing a Blue Bird or Bali Taksi. These metered taxis are reliable and a fare into central Kuta shouldn’t run too much more than S$2.50 (IDR25,000).

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How to take an ojek into Kuta:

Ojek

Editorial credit: Tong Creative/Shutterstock.com

If you’re travelling light and fancy a thrilling ride into Kuta, walk out of the airport and look for the parking lot near the roundabout by the entrance to the airport. Here you can grab an ojek (motorbike taxi) to your hotel for around S$2 (IDR20,000). One benefit of taking an ojek is that you will be able to weave in and out of traffic dramatically reducing your trip time by almost half as compared to taking a car!

In partnership with Skyscanner. Did you know that you can also compare airport transfers across hundreds of airports on Skyscanner? Download the Skyscanner app for fast, easy, and free flight, car rental and hotel comparison.

Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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