Most countries are trying to get rid of the bandit cabs by having the regular cab stands marked and easily seen.
99% of the time you want to take a regular cab, because bandit cabs prey on the ignorance of tourists. A cab from the Bangkok airport to the Sukumvit area should cost about $8 (200-250 thb). The same bandit cab will cost you $15 (400-500 thb).
How can you spot a bandit cab? They usually have accomplices wear official looking taxi shirts, and will come right up to you as soon as you get anywhere near the real taxi area. “Taxi taxi?” They’ll ask and if you say yes they’ll guide you to their partners in the bandit cab. Bandit cabs sometimes look like taxis and other times just little vans.
The truly unscrupulous ones will ask you then for a tip for the bag boy, for helping you take your luggage the 10 feet to the bandit cab.
Bangkok is also famous for regular taxis refusing to turn on their meters and just quoting you a shifty price. Don’t put your bag into the cab trunk or get in until you ask “taxi meter”?
Remember in Thailand the English isn’t perfect. Saying “excuse me , will you take me to the Bangkok inn with the meter on” will just confuse them. Just say “taxi meter” and if he says no, just wave him on and grab the next cab: they come every 5 seconds.
In Cebu, the real cab stand with white taxis will be 20 feet from the main entrance. The cost to take a cab to the mandaue area near citi hardware should be $5 (160 php). I wound up taking a bandit cab for $7 (350 php). Stupid Samson.
While Cebu in the Philippines, is one of the best countries to retire cheap in, it’s not cheap if you make errors like this. It’s easy to get nabbed by a bandit cab because, you are usually tired from your flight, disoriented and just wanting to get to your hotel.
If you do get suckered just chalk it up to travel adventure and don’t let it sour ya.
Ps…… Remember how I said you should avoid bandit cabs 99% of the time? The only time you should take one is if you can see that the regular cab line is a giant wait because it just disgorged 3 plane of tourists. I’ve taken bandit cabs (after haggling) for $1 more and no waits. $1 is worth a 20 minute wait if I’m super tired…..