Our itinerary in the past few months has involved us being at a new place every 2-5 days. With our luggage and depending on how much time we have, we have mainly taken taxis for transportation to our hotel. So far we have stuck to a metered taxi. We’ve had a story in practically every destination we’ve been to so far.
On our way to the airport to fly out of Singapore, we encountered an interesting taxi driver. He was very informative and entertaining. He told us about Singapore’s past and present history along with his past life and current interests. We probably learned the most about Singapore in those 45 minutes than we did in our entire trip!! He joked about the wannabe young Singaporeans and how annoying they can be! Any country in Asia we asked him about, he had gossip and information for that destination. It was like being in a cab with our personal reporter from TMZ! In the end we were kind of sad to be exiting the cab and wished we could’ve chatted with him longer. For more information on Singapore check out our Singapore page
2. Bali, Indonesia:
After being done with my birthday dinner, we decided to check out a famous beach bar barely 5 minutes away but not walkable in the dark. The first cab driver we came across put a price of 70,000 rupiah to which (although $5 USD) even the security guard laughed at. We paid half of that for the 30 min ride from our hotel so we knew this was way outside the usual fare. The second cab driver refused to turn on the meter and demanded 50,000 rupiah. We immediately got out and decided to wait. Five minutes after, we got a metered taxi with the final price costing us 13,000 rupiah!!!! The amusing thing was, he spotted some other travelers wanting a taxi while dropping us and asked us to leave without paying since we were taking time to figure out the large Indonesian denominations before paying him!! When we insisted on paying, he wouldn’t take the money!!! Talk about 70,000 rupiah (or $5 USD) to a free ride!!! For more information on Bali check out our Bali trip report.
3. Hong Kong:
Hong Kong has a pretty good system with cabs having metered seal signs and instructions on how much to pay to taxi drivers. Sounds great until one driver thinks you are not paying attention and pretends to take language as a communication problem!!! Passengers are supposed to pay toll fee to the driver both ways, along with meter cost as well as 5HKD (Hong Kong dollar) for any free bags not in the trunk. Our meter total came up to be 230HKD and luckily for us we saw that the total toll price was 110 HKD, we had no free bags around. The driver asked us for 470HKD instead of a clear math of 340. On questioning he kept on insisting it was bags and toll. We showed him what was written in the taxi to which he pretended he couldn’t understand. Sunny took a photo of his driver ID number and we asked him again for a total with the toll price. He finally took the calculator and told us we could pay 340HKD!!! In retrospect, Sunny and I were almost going to give in but have realized if you know you are right and stick to it most cab drivers know all their info is in the car and their job can be on the line!
4. Beijing, China:
This is more of an amusing story than getting conned or gypped by a driver. Things were going fine on our way to the international airport from the hotel when suddenly about 2-3 kms away our driver pulled on the side. We noticed there was smoke coming out of the hood of the car. The taxi driver got us another driver immediately so we could make it to the airport on time. We transferred our luggage into another taxi on a busy freeway with only sign language as our communication since Sunny and I do not speak Mandarin. Our new taxi driver was a character from the movies. His trunk was partially full so he could only fit in one of our main bags. He had a cigarette in one hand which he was juggling with a cell phone while having a loud conversation with someone. We’re still not sure how he handled the steering wheel. Two minutes after getting into the car, the trunk flew completely open but he asked us not to look back with hand gestures. We were concerned with our bag in the trunk with no support but he still insisted on us not looking back. At this point we were just praying to make it to the airport safely first and with our luggage if we were lucky. Looking back today, the whole drive and situation seems comical.