What happened to Uber in Thailand, and what are the best alternatives?
Uber is no longer available in Thailand. It ceased business in April 2018 after selling off its Asian operations to Singapore-based competitor Grab. As part of the deal, Uber now owns a 27.5% stake in Grab.
Uber started operating in Thailand in 2014 but had a bumpy ride with its licensing and legal status. It offered private hire and food services under the branding UberX, Uber Black, UberMOTO, and UberEATS. All of which have ceased operation in Thailand since 2018.
Uber was declared illegal and banned in Thailand in November 2014 based on the government’s assessment of how the company licensed cars and drivers. The service continued to operate, but if drivers got caught, they would face fines and jail time.
An unlicensed private car taxi driver is illegal in Thailand, but new legislation was enacted in 2021 to support ride-hailing services in Thailand, ensuring regulation of drivers and fares.
Ride-hailing services are by far the most convenient and safest way to travel around Bangkok. They’re great for tourists who might find it challenging to communicate their destination to a local taxi driver.
So, what are some of the alternatives to Uber in Thailand?
Alternatives to Uber
With Uber out of the market, Thailand still has a range of private taxi hires available to book conveniently on your phone. These include:
Singapore based company Grab dominates the local and Asian region by holding a 90% market share of ride-hailing services.
Grab Thailand offers an array of private car-hailing options, including:
- GrabTaxi – Local taxi booking with the convenience and safety measures included within the app
- GrabCar – Budget private car selection
- GrabCar Premium – Luxury private car selection
- GrabVan – Minivan with space of up to 10 people
The Grab app has applied many of the features from Uber because they shared their technology with Grab after the partnership deal.
Within the app, simply select your desired vehicle and pick up / drop off points, and an estimated fixed fare will be displayed. The fare will be higher during high demand peak hours.
As with Uber, the Grab app supports a review and rating system to check and leave feedback on your driver. Once a driver accepts the ride, you’ll see their location and estimated arrival time on the screen.
Accepted payment options include cash or credit card, selectable before making a booking.
- Advanced booking
- Onboard Safety
- Share your ride details with friends
- Emergency button
- Phone number masking
- Save locations
- Rewards system
- Trip history
- Distance fare estimate
- Tip driver (check my guide on tipping in Thailand)
Grab price list
|Type||Booking fee||Base Price||Price per KM|
|GrabTaxi||THB 20||THB 35||5.50 THB/KM (1KM – 10KM)|
6.50 THB/KM (10KM – 20KM)
7.50 THB/KM (20KM – 40KM)
|GrabCar||–||THB 45||8 THB/KM (2KM – 6KM)|
7 THB/KM (6KM – 40KM)
10 THB/KM (> 40KM)
|GrabCar Premium||–||THB 110||THB 12/KM|
|GrabVan||–||THB 230||14 THB/KM (0KM – 10KM)|
13 THB/KM (10KM – 20KM)
10 THB/KM (20KM – 40KM)
20 THB/KM ( > 40KM)
Bolt is a popular ride-hailing service that originated in Europe and launched its services in Thailand in 2020. The service is currently available in several cities across Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.
One of the key advantages of using Bolt is that they offer multiple vehicle types, from standard cars to luxury options, as well as public taxis. This means that customers have the flexibility to choose a ride that suits their preferences and budget.
Bolt’s mobile application is available on both Android and IOS devices, making it easy to access and use. Currently, the only payment method available for Bolt users in Thailand is cash, but this may change in the future.
Compared to other ride-hailing services like Grab, Bolt is generally considered cheaper, making it a good option for budget-conscious travelers or locals. Additionally, Bolt has several safety features in place, such as a panic button and driver ratings, to ensure a safe and secure journey for its users.
- Multiple vehicle types
- Driver reviews
- Trip history/tracking
- Safety features
- Cash only payment
- Ride estimates
- Promo codes
Bolt price list
|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|
LINE MAN Taxi
LINE is a popular chat application with dominance in the Asian region. LINE offers a local hailing taxi service called LINE MAN Taxi, which operates in Bangkok.
LINE MAN Taxi connects users with local taxi drivers similar to Grab’s service GrabTaxi.
The LINE app supports cash, credit card, or LINE pay payment.
- Promotion codes
- Trip history
- Distance fare estimate
LINE MAN Taxi price list
|Type||Booking fee||Base price||Price per KM|
|Local Taxi||THB 20||THB 35||THB 5.50-10.50 (local meter)|
Cheapest alternative to Uber
The cheapest ride-hailing service is the local taxi option on either Bolt or LINE.
Best alternative to Uber
Grab offers a wide selection of cars, advanced booking, smooth UI, and additional safety features. The Grab app is the best alternative if you’re familiar with Uber and want a similar service.
Take alternative transport during peak hours to avoid getting stuck in Bangkok’s notorious traffic
Alternatives to UberEATS
UberEATS, a food delivery service, no longer operates in Thailand. Although there are lots of other great options, including:
- Line Man
Berlin-based food delivery company FoodPanda has been operating in Thailand for more than ten years. The app offers a wide selection of restaurants and has a ‘best restaurants nearby’ feature to help you find tasty food in your area.
The app accepts cash on delivery, credit card, and PayPal.
The delivery fee is calculated based on your location and what restaurant you’re ordering from.
Grab offers a food delivery service available through its main app alongside its other services. It has a wide range of restaurants to select from and is on par with FoodPanda.
The delivery fee starts from 10 THB depending on the restaurant’s distance, and they accept cash on delivery or credit card.
LINE MAN Food Delivery
LINE also has a food delivery service to conveniently order food from your home within the LINE MAN app.
The delivery fee starts from 10 THB, and they accept cash or credit card.
Cheapest alternative to UberEATS
GrabFood or LINE MAN Food Delivery is the most affordable option for app-based food delivery within Thailand.
Best alternative to UberEATS
If you’re an UberEATS user, then FoodPanda is the best alternative based on its multiple payment options and user-friendly interface.
Alternatives to UberMOTO
UberMOTO, Uber’s bike taxi service, ceased operation in 2018 along with other Uber services. Currently, the only app-based bike taxi hire in Thailand is GrabBike.
Garbike is similar to UberMOTO. Simply select your desired pickup and drop-off points to calculate an estimated fare.
Payment options include either cash or credit card.
GrabBike price list
|Type||Booking fee||Base||Price per KM|
|GrabBike||–||25 THB 5.1 < KM|
50 THB 5.1 > KM
|5 THB/KM (2.1KM – 5KM)|
10 THB/KM (5.1KM – 15KM)
15 THB/KM (15.1 > KM)
Another bike taxi competitor, GET Thailand will enter the market in 2020. Prices will be updated once they release their tariff.
Uber no longer operates in Thailand, but there are plenty of services that are just as good.
Need a ride? The Grab app supports car and bike hire services on par with what Uber used to offer. The app is convenient, user-friendly, and supports multiple payment options.
Hungry? Foodpanda offers a broader selection of restaurants compared to what UberEATS Thailand offered. It also operates in multiple locations throughout Thailand.
What app will you choose?
What app in Thailand is similar to Uber?
If you’re looking for an app in Thailand similar to Uber, Grab is the most popular choice. It offers a user-friendly experience, multiple payment options, safety features, and a variety of vehicle types to choose from.
Why did Uber leave Thailand?
Uber sold its Southeast Asian operations to Grab in 2018, which included the Thai market. As part of the deal, Uber acquired a stake in Grab. Therefore, Uber no longer operates in Thailand, and instead, Grab is the main ride-hailing service available in the country.
Are there Ubers in Phuket?
Uber no longer operates in Phuket; the alternatives are Grab or Bolt.
Does Uber work in Bangkok?
Uber no longer operates in Bangkok; the alternatives are Grab or Bolt.