What is the Grab application ?
Grab is the equivalent of Uber in South-Asia. Grab application is a platform connecting drivers and riders (private and professional) together through a location-sharing system. As there is no Uber since April 8, 2018, in Thailand, it is the number one application of his category in Thailand, and the biggest competitor of regular taxis.
Grab in Thailand is present in many big cities. They are developing the service in smaller cities especially for tourists, to be easier to visit places around big cities without renting a car, especially as in Thailand, they drive on the left side of the road and with the wheel on the right side. It can be disturbing for people who usually drives on the right side of the road .
In Bangkok, you will have access to all the different features of the application such as ordering rides, ordering food, sending parcel, renting cars, etc. It might not be the case with every place in Thailand. For example, in Koh Samui, you will have access only to the “Car ride” option AND it will often be more expensive than regular taxis there.
+ Membership advantages
+ Fixed rate and competitive price
+ Cash or credit card payment
+ No need to communicate with the driver
+ Different categories of cars (regular, VIP, SUV, Van, etc.)
+ Regular and daily promotions
+ Free cancellation
+ Cash or credit card payment : With Grab application, you don’t need to use your credit card if you don’t want to. You can select the “Cash” payment and pay the price directly to the driver once you arrived at destination. By using your credit card, you will sometimes have advantages in promotion and have more points on your membership account.
+ Membership advantages : You have 4 levels of membership which are Classic, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Depending on your level, you will get more or fewer points for each service used, access to better promotions if you get the Platinum level.
+ Fixed rate and competitive price : Once you book for a ride, you will have access to the price offered. This one is a fixed rate and you will pay this price at your destination no matter if you were stuck in the heavy traffic in Bangkok. With a regular taxi, if you are taking the “Taxi-meter”, each minute spent in the taxi will cost you few baht.
+ No need to communicate with the driver : Your driver will have all the information about your destination and the price you need to pay. You don’t have to negotiate for the price and make him understand where you want to go.
+ Different categories of cars : You can order your type of car compared to the number of people traveling with you. The biggest the car, the higher the price. Also, you will have to wait a little longer if you need a specific car (SUV, Luxe or Van).
+ Regular and daily promotions : Every day you will find the “Daily Promotion” section where you will find different promotional code to apply in the “Promo” section just before clicking on the “Booking” button. It can be 30 baht discount for a ride between 19:00 and 23:59 hrs (7:00 pm – 11.59 pm) or free upgrade car category or food discount. Promotions can also be for partners. You can redeem your point for free movie tickets for example or discount voucher for brand stores.
+ Free cancellation : If one minute before the driver arrives you have changed your mind, you can cancel your ride for FREE. However, if you are doing that a lot, you might have “longer waiting time” before your driver comes for your future ride orders. For the “motorbike” option, they have the “7-min guarantee”. If the driver comes after 7 minutes, you will get a voucher of 25 baht discount for your next motorbike ride.
– Waiting time
– Cannot select the type of motorbike
– Require 3G or Wi-Fi access
– Some of local restaurants have the menu only in Thai language
– Waiting time : It is unpredictable, especially with cars. If the driver is stuck in traffic, you can wait more or less time before taking your ride. The expected time of arrival at the pick-up point is shown by the application. Therefore, if you need to take a Grab to go to the airport, do not forget to manage your time for it. You can still ask the front office staff of your hotel about the average time to go to the airport by car.
– Cannot select the type of motorbike : Unless it doesn’t matter to you, some motorbike can be higher than others and you may face difficulties to climb on it. You can still cancel the ride if the motorbike is too high for you.
– Require 3G or Wi-Fi access : Grab application will be only available if you have an Internet access. I recommend you to buy Tourist Sim card offering large roaming data to make sure that if you are lost in the middle of nowhere, you can still have access to 3G. Also, you will have network companies such as TrueMove offering Free WiFi in the street in many places if you buy your sim card with them.
– Some of local restaurants have the menu only in Thai language : Some food items can be very cheap when it comes to local restaurant, but you won’t be able to read the menu in English sometimes. Don’t worry, there are other local restaurants collaborating with Grab application offering their menu in English.
What if I want to take a regular taxi through the application for a better safety ?
GrabTaxi will offer you an average range of price as they will activate the meter. Therefore, you will be exposed to the risk of paying a higher price if you are stuck in the traffic. You can be lucky sometimes and pay less than if you’re booking the JustGrab option, if the ride is smooth and there are not many people on the road. Concerning the safety in the car, I never experienced a very bad CAR driver (private or taxi driver).
How about the safety with a motorbike ride ?
Motorbikes are dangerous at first sight, especially in Thailand. Even if you can see that lots of Thai are driving without a helmet, your driver will always have a second helmet for you as it is prohibited (normally) to ride without a helmet. The police will catch mostly “Farang” (western people) without helmet and your driver (who is responsible) will not take the risk to pay a fine for it. Usually, Grab drivers are paying a lot of attention on the road and you will not experience “bad situations”. If you think the driver went to fast, you can still report it on the application at the end when you need to rate it.
If you have time, you can simulate how much would be the ride and compare it with the actual taxis available on the street. Either they will propose a better price, especially when you are using the application on a peak time and drivers are busy, or in the case they propose you a higher rate, you can book your ride through the application.
The best option for car ride orders is “JustGrab”.
JustGrab will connect you to the nearest “regular cars” which can be a private driver or a taxi driver. It will be the fastest option.
If you have ever used Grab application in Thailand and you want to share your experience with us, tell us everything in comments.