Is There Uber in Thailand in 2024? No – Use Grab Instead (Guide)

Uber doesn’t work in Thailand, but Thailand has its own version of Uber called Grab which is even better. Grab isn’t just an alternative to Uber in Thailand, but rather a “Super App” you can use for everything from calling taxis, to ordering food, and even sending packages. Grab works best in Thailand in large cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and is not reliable in the Thai islands, or smaller tourist hubs like Pai.

✔️ Essential Info: Grab in Thailand

  • 📲 Is There Uber in Thailand? Thailand has its own version of Uber called Grab which is very popular for both transportation and meal delivery services.
  • 📍 Where is it Available? Grab is available in major cities in Thailand like Bangkok, but it does not work well on the islands or in more remote locations.
  • Is it Safe? Using Grab is safer than hailing taxis off the street because the app has GPS tracking.
  • 💸 Is it Cheap? Grab in Thailand is extremely cheap, most rides will be under 200 Baht unless you’re going a longer distance. However, on Thailand’s islands, Grab is an expensive service with prices of up to 30 Baht per minute of transfer.
  • ✈️ Can You Take Uber from the Airport? You can take Grab from both of Bangkok’s airports, as well as Chiang Mai and Phuket airports.

Why is There No Uber in Thailand?

Uber used to be available all over South East Asia until 2018 when the entire SE Asian branch of Uber was bought by the Grab company. Now, all of Uber’s former clientele has been redirected to Grab.. 

Using the Grab App in Thailand

The Grab App is the #1 app you need to download if you’re traveling in Thailand. While Grab is a fantastic alternative to Uber (I actually think it works a lot better than Uber!), it’s also what’s referred to as a “Super App”. As a Super App, the Grab app can be used for anything in Thailand from arranging a Grab taxi ride, ordering food, sending packages, and delivering groceries. 

Grab will work best in larger cities in Thailand like Bangkok, & Chiang Mai, but it also works on some of the islands popular with tourists like Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui. Grab does not work at all on Koh Tao, Koh Lipe, or any of the smaller islands in Thailand I’ve visited.

Grab is 100% legal in Thailand, although grab drivers will occasionally bump heads with local taxi drivers, particularly in more remote areas like on some smaller islands. 

It’s my personal opinion that using taxi apps like Grab and Uber is actually safer than just calling a cab off the street, especially in a foreign country, because the ride is tracked via GPS. 

Thailand’s version of Uber, the Grab App, has its own version of Uber Eats called “Grab Food” which you can use all over Thailand. It’s a very reliable meal delivery service, even if you’re outside of cities.

The Grab App works just like the Uber App by using your GPS location to call cabs to wherever you are. It estimates the fare beforehand and takes payment digitally through your credit card or in cash upon arrival. If you’re familiar with using Uber, it will be very easy for you to figure out how to use the Grab App in Thailand! 

Steps For Setting Up The Grab App

1) Download WhatsApp & the Grab App 

2) Sign up for a Whatsapp account with your home phone number 

3) Put your information and WhatsApp number into your Grab App & sign up for an account. 

4) Add your credit card details to your Grab App

5) You’re all set! Your Grab App should work just like Uber and will call cars to your location.  

💡 Note: I recommend downloading and signing up for both WhatsApp & Grab before you leave your home country. You can alternatively sign up for Grab with a Thai phone number instead of a WhatsApp number, but then you can only use that Grab account in Thailand. 

Grab has seemingly endless options in Thailand. Here are a few different types of Grab you can use in Bangkok and a brief explanation of what you can expect from each one: 

🛵 GrabScooter 

GrabScooter is what I use the most frequently as a solo traveler. Scooters are the preferred method of transportation in SE Asia because it’s easier to drive in heavy traffic. 

For GrabScooter your driver should provide you with a helmet, make sure to ask for one! 

🚕 GrabCar 

CrabCar is the standard! This function is the most similar to Uber – it just calls a general car to your location. 

♿️ GrabAssist 

GrabAssist calls cars that are equipped with accessible features.

🥂 GrabCar Luxe & Premium 

GrabCar Luxe is a luxury ride in a car equivalent to a Benz or BMW, while Premium ensures a ride on a Camry or Accord or equivalent. 

🚌 GrabSUV & GrabVan

For if you want a larger vehicle. 

🐶 GrabPet

GrabPet ensures a pet-friendly car. 

🚖 GrabTaxi

GrabTaxi will call a metered taxi cab to your location, rather than using one of the Grab drivers. The cost estimate is based on what they think the metered fare will amount to, but if there’s traffic it will differ a bit. 

I’ve never seen the estimated metered fare on GrabTaxi be cheaper than on GrabCar. 

🙎‍♀️GrabCar For Ladies

This will ensure you have a female driver – I think it’s a nice feature! It also costs about the same as a standard GrabCar. 

💡 Note! All of these different options are only available in larger cities like Bangkok. In more remote locations, you will have more limited options. For example, right now I’m on the island of Koh Samui and there’s only the option to call a GrabScooter, GrabCar, or GrabVan. 

The cellular booth at bangkok airport. You can get a local Thai Sim card at Bangkok Airport by baggage claim but you NEED an Unlocked phone for it to work! A local Sim card is important for using Grab in Thailand.
You can get a local Thai SIM card at Bangkok Airport by baggage claim. 
The prices for Thai local SIM cards you can buy at the bangkok airport. Having a Thai SIM card is a very important step for using Grab in Thailand, Grab is Thailand's version of Uber.
The rates for Thai SIM cards are extremely inexpensive – I bought 3-months of unlimited data for around $40!

What You Need To Use Grab In Thailand 

✔️ A Whatsapp account tied to your home phone number or a local Thai phone number

✔️ Wifi or cellular data 

✔️ The Grab App

✔️ Thai Cash or credit card 

Katie’s Tips ✶

You need an unlocked phone to use a Thai SIM card – using a local SIM will make your travels in Thailand a lot easier. If you do not have an unlocked phone that can accept local SIM cards, you can still sign up for Grab with a Whatsapp number tied to your home phone number. 

all the different types of grab you can use in Bangkok, Thailand. Grab is the thai version of Uber.
all the different types of Grab you can use in Bangkok, Thailand.
all the different types of grab you can use in Bangkok, Thailand. Grab is the thai version of Uber.
The list just keeps going!

💰How Much Is A Grab Taxi In Thailand?

Grab is a relatively cheap service to use in Thailand, but the cost will be affected by how much competition is in the area. I found Grab to be far cheaper than hailing a taxi or TukTuk off the street in Thailand. If you’re in a very populous area of Thailand like Bangkok or Chiang Mai, where there are a lot of Grab Cars and traditional taxis competing for the same customers, a standard Grab car will be much cheaper than if you’re in a more remote area.

💸 Cost of a Ride: In Bangkok, a 20-minute Grab Car, which seats up to 4 people, could be around 300 Thai Baht ($9). While a 20-minute Grab Scooter Taxi, which seats one person, will be around 100 Baht ($3).

Grab gives you detailed instructions for where to get picked up at the airports in Bangkok. Grab is the Thai version of Uber.
Grab gives you detailed instructions for where to get picked up at the airports in Bangkok.

✈️ Taking Grab From the Airports in Bangkok

I’ve taken GrabCars from both international airports in Bangkok and it’s very easy. There’s no harassment of tourists from Taxi drivers at either of the international airports in Bangkok, and GrabCars can pick you up directly from the arrivals terminal. 

Bangkok has two international airports: Suvarnabhumi International Airport(BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). If you are traveling to Thailand from outside of Asia, you will most likely be flying into Suvarnabhumi (BKK). Grab will send you detailed instructions with photos of exactly where you need to go for your driver to find you. 

🚕 Mind the Long Waits: The only issue is there actually aren’t that many GrabCars waiting at the airports in Bangkok to pick up passengers. When I was traveling from Don Mueang (DMK) I actually had to wait 40 minutes for a GrabCar because there was just none around. Because of this, if you’re arriving at either of the Bangkok International Airports at an off hour, like the middle of the night or early morning, I recommend arranging an airport transfer from the airport ahead of time. 

💡 Note! GrabCar services don’t include tolls. If you’re taking GrabCar to/from the airports in Bangkok expect an extra 50-100 Baht to be added to the fare!

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