I have traveled to Thailand many times for more than 10 years. Often we are in a group and it is more economical to employ the services of a van driver.
Hopefully this information would be useful for those who are travelling to Thailand and looking for a van driver- as to ensure you may not be cheated of a high rate or offered a rate that is too low (which is often too good to be true and eventually you would find it to include many other charges or be brought to visit certain gemstone factories).
We do not opt for public transport because time is an important essence (as most of us are taking annual leave to travel to Thailand).
Hence, I am aware of the standard rate for a van driver in Thailand. The rate may get slightly (only slightly) cheaper if you are engaging a driver from a smaller province, say North East.
When it is better to charter a van?
- When you are travelling in a larger group (between 8 adult/children or more)- it is more economical because the price of the van would cost the same be it 1 or 10 persons travelling in it
- If there is a mixture of age group in the group, for example consisting of elderly, children and toddlers- there would be special needs such as frequent toilet breaks or sometimes it is not convenient for someone to visit a certain place hence he/she can wait in the van
- When the larger group is travelling at a wide geographical coverage area – with vans it is quick and easier to get around
- When you have definite place to visit and require someone knowledgeable to take you around…. and like for me, time is important
Standard van driver rate in Thailand:
- 2000 baht for one day (start about 8am or 9am till 6pm)
- After 6pm, there would be surcharge between 200 to 250 baht per hour until before midnight
- From midnight onwards, it would be counted as one more extra day. For example, if you are engaging the van driver for the day till it pass midnight, the van driver would count as 2 days fare
- There would be surcharge when visiting highlands (where the van needs to travel uphill because the travelling does some damage to the vehicle)
- All the charges above EXCLUDE petrol, toll, parking in which you would need to pay separately
- If you need the driver to take you to another province- let’s say you travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and make pit stops along the way. As the driver is with you after 12 midnite (even though he does nothing but sleep in his hotel room), you still need to pay the after midnite rate.
- You are expected to tip the driver after the trip
Note: Generally engaging driver from and to airports may be more expensive.
If you are looking for a honest and reliable van driver, I would like to recommend a driver whom I have known for more than 10 years. His name is His name is Suraca and you may contact him via his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sjira.Suracha.
I have written a more detailed review about employing van drivers in Bangkok in another blog.