Travel smart: do you know how to avoid airport transfer scams?

We know that every second counts on your holiday, especially when you're searching for that bowl of exquisite pho in the backstreets of Ho Chi Minh City or have a bunch of baht in your pocket for that pair of cool shades in Bangkok's Chatuchak Market.

The beaches of Bali and the markets of Jakarta and Manila have been beckoning you for weeks, so there's no time to waste!

Skyscanner helps you save time by bringing you tips for getting into the city quickly and safely from some of Southeast Asia's busiest airports.

How to get into Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi International Airport:

Suvarnabhumi Airport, 30km outside the city centre, is one of two airports serving bustling Bangkok.

Don't feel embarrassed about getting lost in here, or needing to have a rest on your way to collecting your luggage; it's the largest airport on earth, covering a staggering 2,980 hectares!

Immigration can take some time here to let you into Thailand; expect waits of around half an hour.

The airport has excellent facilities so you can withdraw some baht from an ATM, have a suitably spicy snack and pick up a SIM card before you work out your preferred option for the trek into town where beautiful temples, scrumptious street food, wild nightlife and iconic Bangkok attractions await.

How to take a train into Bangkok:

The fastest way into town is the Airport Link which travels from the airport to Makkasan (for MRT) and Phaya Thai (for BTS) from 6am until 12am with departures every 12 minutes. Follow the signs from the arrivals hall to the station at the basement and purchase your tokens from the machines. Fares into town cost S$1.70 (THB45) and the journey takes a speedy 26 minutes making this the most efficient and least stressful way into Bangkok. If you are heading to the backpacker mecca of Khao San Road you'll need to hop in a cab (S$2.80/THB75) or take bus 15 (S$0.30/THB7) from Phaya Thai.

Find their timetables and maps: Airport Link

Budget tip: If you're really counting your pennies, and have the luxury of time over money, take the Airport Link to Lat Krabang (S$0.60/THB15) and change to a local 3rd class slow train to Hualamphong station in the heart of town (1 hour, S$0.20/THB6).

How to take a taxi into Bangkok:

Metered taxis can be found outside the arrivals hall on the first floor; just follow the "Public Taxi" signs.

Join the invariably long queues and grab a ticket from the machine at the end of the queue.

You'll need to pay a S$2 (THB50) surcharge for the airport taxi service.

The drive into town can take between 30 mins to 1 hour depending on the notorious traffic, and the fare is between S$10-S$15 (THB250-400). Don't forget you'll need a bit of money to pay for tolls, usually between S$1-S$2 (THB25-THB50).

If you're in no mood for queues then grab a limousine taxi from the counter on the second floor and be whisked into the city for around S$31 (THB800).

How to take a bus into Bangkok:

Taking a bus into town is a major hassle and can take up to 2 hours.

Firstly you need to take a free shuttle bus to the Public Transportation Centre and then find your bus.

Fares into town are S$1.40 (THB35). Services of interest to travellers include the 551 to the Victory Monument and the 552 to On Nut BTS station.

Click here for: Cheap flights to Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Read more: Experience Bangkok for under $200: budget travel guide

How to get into Ho Chi Minh City from Tan Sot Nhat International Airport:

Tan Sot Nhat is Vietnam's largest airport and is located 6km from the city centre.

The airport has a clean and fairly new international terminal and on your way out, you'll be able to withdraw cash from the ATMs and pick up a Vietnamese SIM card.

This airport has a reputation as being filled with scam artists and there are countless reports of travellers being ripped off here by touts and dodgy taxi drivers so follow our simple steps to get you into town in one piece and with your wallet intact, so you can hunt down the best bowl of pho and sip a sunset cocktail at Alto Helipad Bar.

How to take a taxi into Ho Chi Minh City:

Once you exit the arrival hall, there'll be touts trying to get your business, so just ignore them and head to the main taxi queue.

Even here, you'll be encouraged to go to various counters to buy inflated tickets for taxi rides into town, which you'll need to bargain to get the fare down to a reasonable price.

To save yourself a headache, choose only a Vinasun or Mai Linh taxi; their drivers will use the meter (politely remind them to switch it on if they don't).

There's also a Mai Linh counter inside the arrival hall, which will help you get into one of their taxis for the ride into the city.

A Vinasun or Mai Linh taxi into District 1 around Ben Thanh Market should cost around S$10 (VND160,000) plus around S$0.60 (VND10,000) in tolls.

The journey into town takes between 15 to 30 minutes depending on the traffic.

Pro-tip: Check the spelling on your taxi as there are a number of less repuatable imitations. It's Mai Linh or Vinasun that you are looking for NOT Mei Linh or Mai Lin or Vinason.

How to take a bus into Ho Chi Minh City:

If dealing with taxis sound like a headache, you might fancy the ease of hopping on local aircon bus 109 to the tourist area around Pham Ngu Lao.

Touts will insist the bus stopped running years ago as they try and persuade you into a scam taxi ride, so follow the signs to the bus stop in front of the international terminal.

The journey takes around 45 minutes and costs S$1.20 (VND20,000).

The 109 is spacious, announcements are made in English and it runs from 5:30am to 1:30am with departures every 15 minutes from Column 15 outside the international terminal.

Budget tip: There's a cheaper bus service, the 152, which runs to Pham Ngu Lao from outside the international terminal. It's not as spacious and no announcements are made in English, but it's cheap at S$0.30 (VND5000). If you're asked to pay an extra VND5000 for your luggage, you should refuse (it's a scam!).

Click here for: Cheap flights to Tan Sot Nhat International Airport

Read more: 5 unique ways to explore Ho Chi Minh City

How to get into Manila from Ninoy Aquino International Airport:

Manila is a huge and bewildering, but one of Southeast Asia's most energetic and fun city getaway destinations famed for heritage architecture, amazing nightlife and some of the region's best shopping.

The city's airport, Ninoy Aquino, is confusing and has the reputation as being one of the worst in Asia.

The airport is located 7km to the Southwest of Makati and downtown Manila.

You can get your Pesos from the many ATMs in the departure area and there are baggage trolleys available for free.

However, note that porters will linger near the trolleys and expect to be paid handsomely for their services.

If you do need their services, S$1.50 (PHP50) should be sufficient.

How to take a taxi into Manila:

Taxis from the airport have a reputation for overcharging or for having rigged meters, so it might be a good idea to pre-book a taxi or transfer from your hotel.

Failing that, you can take official yellow metered airport taxis which line up outside the arrival area.

Your taxi will be registered by an official dispatcher and you'll be handed a taxi slip, which contains the taxi driver's details in case of complaints or issues.

Don't let the driver keep both slips, and keep an eye on the meter.

The taxi fare into the city centre should cost around S$7 (PHP250) and the journey into town can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour depending on the traffic.

Don't accept rides from the touts that linger in the airport arrival hall.

How to take a bus and train combo into Manila:

If you're heading to the tourist district of Malate, an alternative to a taxi is to catch a shuttle bus from outside Terminal 3 to EDSA Station (bus sign reads LRT) for S$0.40 (PHP15) and then get on Line 1 to Gil Puyat (2 stops away, S$0.40/PHP15) in Malate.

Click here for: Cheap flights to Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Read more: Guide to luggage carry-on requirements for low-cost carriers

How to get into Jakarta from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport:

If you're on the search for the ultimate plate of gado gado or a spot of flea market shopping on Jalan Surabaya on your weekend getaway, then you'll need to get through Soekarno-Hatta.

Located 20km to the West of Jakarta, the airport is the busiest airport in Southeast Asia and the busiest in the entire Southern hemisphere.

Yet it manages to maintain an atmosphere of relative calm and tranquillity, though be prepared to queue for a long time to get stamped into the country.

You can get a SIM card, grab some rupiah at an ATM and have a snack before joining the crowds rushing into town.

How to take a taxi into Jakarta:

The most straightforward way into town is to grab a cab from outside the arrival hall.

Wave away the touts and search for taxi stands operated by Blue Bird, Silver Bird and Ekspress and join the queue.

These taxis are reliable and the drivers will always use meters. A taxi into the town centre on Blue Bird or Ekspress will cost between S$9 (IDR90,000) and S$11 (IDR110,000).

Silver Bird taxis are a bit pricier at around S$13 (IDR130,000) but are very spacious and comfortable.

Note that you have to pay extra toll fees of around S$1 (IDR10,000).

The ride into town can take between 45 minutes and 90 minutes depending on the traffic.

How to take a bus into Jakarta:

A good budget alternative to taking a taxi is to get an air-conditioned DAMRI bus.

These buses depart from Terminal 2 and 3 (follow the signs for DAMRI) and leave every 15 to 45 minutes.

If you're staying in the backpacker area around Jalan Jaksa or at the hotels in central Jakarta, get the DAMRI bus to Gambir Station for S$3.50 (IDR35,000).

Buses run from 3am to 12am.

Click here for: Cheap flights to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Read more: 7 bizarre Asian massages you have to try once

How to get to Kuta, Bali, from Ngurah Rai International Airport:

Your aeroplane glides past smoking volcanoes and seems to skim the surface of the sea as you land at Ngurah Rai International Airport (more commonly known as Denpasar International Airport).

The beaches of Bali are not far away and you'd soon be heading to the popular resort area of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak where surfers prowl the streets, hipsters eat organic and the beach stretches for infinity.

The airport is around 4km south of central Kuta.

There are lots of ATMs for you to stock up on rupiah so you don't need to battle with Kuta's notorious money changers.

How to take a taxi into Kuta:

The easiest way to the resorts is to grab a pre-paid taxi from outside the arrival hall.

Turn left as you exit the hall, pay the fare in advance at the counter and you'll be shown a driver who will drive you to your hotel for around S$5 (IDR50,000).

It will cost more to Legian and Seminyak.

Be sure you know the area you're heading to rather than just the hotel name - or you can expect your fare to rise considerably.

The areas and the relevant fares are posted on a board at the counter.

There are countless touts outside the arrival hall offering rides into Kuta for around S$20 (IDR200,000).

Just ignore them and head straight for the pre-paid counter.

Budget tip: Save on your taxi fare by walking 200 metres to the main road and hailing a Blue Bird or Bali Taksi. These metered taxis are reliable and a fare into central Kuta shouldn't run too much more than S$2.50 (IDR25,000).

How to take an ojek into Kuta:

If you're travelling light and fancy a thrilling ride into Kuta, walk out of the airport and look for the parking lot near the roundabout by the entrance to the airport.

Here you can grab an ojek (motorbike taxi) to your hotel for around S$2 (IDR20,000).

Click here for: Cheap flights to Denpasar International Airport

Read more: Experience Bali, the 'Island of the Gods'

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This article first appeared on Skyscanner’s ''Travel smart: do you know how to avoid airport transfer scams?''.