Grab: the budget way to get around in Asia


Grab! Nice to meet you. Grab is the Asian variant of the well-known Uber. In fact, any local who wants to make some extra money can become a driver. But sometimes it also concerns taxi drivers who want to earn something extra in this way. Grab is available in almost every Asian country. But in some places, the government has banned it in order to give the local taxi drivers a fair chance.

Now you may think: is that safe then? Boarding at a total stranger.
The answer is a resounding YES for us!

The application

In Asia, Grab can no longer be ignored from the streets. Everyone uses it to move. Locals, but also backpackers. The major advantage of Grab over the regular taxi is the predetermined price. If you order a driver via the application (available for ISO and Android) you will see what the price will be before you order. This price is fixed and is not negotiable for both the customer and the Grab driver. So you know in advance what the ride will cost you. In general, the ride with Grab is a lot cheaper than with a regular taxi.

A Grab driver on his bike

It is possible to link your credit card to the application so that you can pay digitally. However, most people who use Grab in Asia pay cash. In addition to transport, Grab also delivers food.

In the application you can choose from various options. It gives you the opportunity to order a bike, a ‘basic’ car or a 6-person car. This bike option is a moped driver who carries an extra helmet and will pick you up to take you to the destination. In busier Asian cities, this can be a much faster option than a car. In addition to the basic type of transport, you can also choose a special type. For example, you can order a 6-person car if you are with several people or have a lot of luggage.


Go-Jek is an alternative to Grab. The principle works the same and it can be beneficial to compare the prices of both apps before booking your trip. After using both apps hundreds of times, we are especially fans of Grab. This, given the availability of Grab, is often greater than that of Go-jek. All you really need is a phone with the application and a working internet connection at the time of ordering. Do you not have a SIM card with data? Then there is always a nice Asian who wants to turn on his hotspot for you.

A Go-Jek driver waiting for his next customer

Grab and Go-jek vs. regular taxi

We have already said that Grab and Go-jek are often many times cheaper than regular taxis. In addition, regular taxis in Asia often do not have a fixed price. So it comes down to negotiating. It is difficult for a foreigner to judge what a ride should cost. People from Europe often pay more than the locals for the same ride. We swear by using a Grab but if you still have a better feeling about the regular taxi, pay attention to the following. The taxi can drive with a pre-agreed price or on the meter. The risk with the first is that the price that is agreed, may be higher than what the ride should actually cost. The risk with a ride on the meter is that the driver can make a detour to ensure that the amount that you ultimately have to pay will increase. It is advisable to keep a navigation app during the ride so that you can see if the driver deviates from the route.

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