Bolt is a European-based multi-service app offering taxis, ride-sharing, food delivery, and scooter hire. It entered the Thai market in 2020, offering its ride-hailing service exclusively as a direct competitor to Grab.
I have been using Bolt as an alternative to Grab to compare journey prices or if no Grab drivers are available. It’s great to have more options when booking a taxi to travel around Bangkok or other locations in Thailand.
To help you get started using the Bolt app, I’ve created this how-to guide with helpful information about the service.
Bolt service areas in Thailand:
- Chiang Mai
Bolt transport vehicle types:
- Bolt (nearest private Comfort car or taxi)
- Comfort (premium cars)
- Ladies (female driver)
- XL (6-seater)
- Motor (motorbike)
How to use the Bolt app in Thailand / Bangkok
The app is available for download on IOS or Android, and setting up an account requires a registered phone number. Tourists can use the service because the phone number associated with your Bolt account doesn’t need to be a registered Thai number.
Steps on how to install and set up Bolt
- Download the app
- Set up a Bolt account (phone number required)
Steps on how to use Bolt
- Download the app
- Select destination
- Select a vehicle
- Click the Select button
- Confirm pick-up point
- Click Confirm Order button
- The app will then find the best driver for you
How much does Bolt cost?
Pricing for Bolt depends on vehicle type and the total distance to your destination. The app will show an estimate of your total journey, but this can change depending on a number of fee structure factors like route change or congestion.
|Type||Base fee (non surge price)||Per km (non surge price)|
|Taxi||35 THB + 20 THB booking fee||5.50 THB/km (1-10 km)|
6.50 THB/km (10-20km)
7.50 THB/km (20-40km)
|Bolt||45 THB||7 THB/km|
|Economy||40 THB||6.50 THB/km (1-20 km)|
10 THB/km (>20km)
|Comfort||100 THB||12 THB/km|
|Ladies||45 THB||7 THB/km|
|XL||100 THB||12 THB/km|
|Motor||25 THB||3.50 THB/km|
Additional fees I’ve found when using the Bolt app:
- Congestion charge
- The driver takes a different route from fare estimate
- Unplanned multi-stop
- Changed final destination
- Surge price
- Cancellation fee
- Airport pickup / drop off
Looking to skip the inconvenience of booking a Bolt ride upon arrival at the airport? Klook provides a pre-bookable private airport transfer service where the driver will meet you at the arrivals gate.
Wait time fee
Bolt charges a wait time fee if the driver spends more than 5 minutes waiting for a passenger, ranging from 2-3 THB per minute, depending on vehicle type.
Avoid the waiting fee by tracking the driver’s location and getting to the pickup point before they arrive.
Thailand has tolled expressways to avoid high-congestion roads. The tolls for expressways are not included in the price estimate in Bolt and should be paid directly to the driver, or the driver can add them to the journey total.
Bolt Thailand payment methods
Payment options are limited to cash only on the Bolt Thailand app, so have the correct change on hand to pay your driver before booking.
If you have a local Thai bank account, the driver can provide a QR code so that you can transfer the payment directly to their account.
If you wish to give the driver a tip, you cannot do so through the Bolt app. Instead, you can give a tip in cash directly to the driver. You can find more information on tipping etiquette in Thailand in my tipping guide.
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Bolt vs Grab
Grab has been in the Thai market for longer, so it has a rich set of localized features available in more locations, more vehicle types, and the option to pay by cash, credit card, or GrabPay.
Although newer, Bolt seems more competitive in pricing to lure customers from other services.
I use both apps and hope Bolt continues their business in Thailand to ensure we get a more competitive ride-hailing market.
Want to learn more about Grab? Check out my guide on using the app.
Is Bolt safe?
Bolt Thailand has safety features available within the app, including an emergency assist button that Bolt claims calls local police, driver ratings, and a lost and found feature.
As with any ride-hailing service, always check the booking profile matches your driver before accepting the ride, and share the ride details with friends if you’re traveling alone.
Although new to the Thai market, Bolt is a welcomed addition because we now have additional transport options when traveling within the Kingdom.
The fee structure on Bolt is similar to Grab, but I’ve found Bolt sometimes offers more affordable rates, so download both apps and start planning your route!
Are you searching for alternative transportation choices in Thailand? Take a look at my extensive guide on transportation within the kingdom.