23

For example, if the taxi fare is 53 THB and I give 60 THB (for lack of coins), the taxi drivers typically will not give any change back. I wonder whether this is because I don't look Thai or because it is the tradition here for taxi fares not to give change back if below 10 THB.

41

According to TripAdvisor, in taxis, "both Thais and local ex-pats commonly round up the fare (i.e. 51 baht fare rounded up to 60 baht)." As ฿7 is equivalent to US$0.22, I wouldn't worry about it much.

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    A nice 17.6% tip, though. Of course, if the fare happens to be 59 baht, it is only a 1.7% tip, so I guess it evens out. And indeed, if the fare is from 51 to 60 baht, the average tip is 8.4%. – Graipher Jun 6 at 8:28
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    @Graipher finally someone with some financial sense! Not looking at absolute price in some other unrelated currency but looking at the margin. – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 6 at 12:01
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    0% - 17.6% margin - how is that "evening out"? – Grzegorz Oledzki Jun 7 at 19:40
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    @FranckDernoncourt Proper financial sense is to look at the absolute cost, not percentage. Your time is not worth 17% of a one dollar purchase, but it probably is worth 17% of a thousand dollar purchase. – Brady Gilg Jun 8 at 18:12
  • @BradyGilg Asking for change doesn't take much time. Typically I use this time to check whether I took all my belongings from the taxi. – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 8 at 18:19
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From https://itsbetterinthailand.com/how-to-use-local-taxis-in-bangkok-without-getting-ripped-off-or-lost/ (mirror 1, mirror 2):

Tipping is not necessary but it’s common to round up to the nearest 5 or 10 baht.

The same page also gives some interesting advice regarding the case where the taxi driver claims not to have any change (which in my experience does happen once in a while, even for 5 THB change):

I’ll warn you that if you use a taxi without having 100 baht notes or smaller, you may have trouble getting change from your driver. It’s common to claim “no have change” – and I’m not sure how you’re going to prove that they do. I’ve asked to drive on to a 7-11 before so I could get change – suddenly the driver found some coins in his center console.

Take a selection of 100 and 20 baht notes plus some coins if you want to pay the exact fare.

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  • Downvoters: any comment for me to improve the answer? – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 21 at 18:36

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