Grab vs Uber – Getting a taxi in SE Asia. Which to choose?Tim McDonald
Getting around in southeast Asia can be easy. There are taxis everywhere in the major cities, though public transport can be at times confusing.
The best option for those with a local sim (easy enough to get) is an app, and while Americans and Europeans will be familiar with Uber, there is a rival to it out here called Grab.
Grab is based in Singapore and at the moment limits its operations to SE Asia, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they expanded in the near future.
Both offer a pretty similar service, so what’s the difference and which to choose?
Uber works much like it does at home, I found in Kuala Lumpur, for example, Uber was easier to get than Grab, but cost a little more. It can take payments from the same credit card that you have registered back in your home country, though you will get levied a international payment charge (generally about $2).
Grab is probably easier to get in Vietnam and also has many more of the moto drivers, as long as you are comfortable perching on the back of a motorbike then it can be a very cheap way of getting around a city.
One of the main advantages of Grab, apart from generally being a little cheaper, is that if you cancel the driver, for example if you can see he is going the wrong way, then you do not get charged. There is also an easy to use messaging system to talk to the driver.
So, overall, I would recommend Grab. The only downside being that you have to pay in cash, though personally I prefer this.
One other thing to bear in mind is that several of the Uber drivers told us that if their rating average dips below 4.7, they get a warning. Below 4.3 and they get sacked.
So think twice before knocking off a star, 5 keeps them in a job.