Congratulations! You are in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Bangkok is famous for many things; nightlife, pollution, traffic, activities, tourist hub, and food. Some people find it overwhelming. Some people find it fun and exciting. But I believe one thing we can all agree on is that Bangkok is probably one of the best places to be in the world when it comes to food options.
Going out to restaurants and street food stalls could be fun and exciting. But after a while, having excellent food delivered to your place 24/7 with no need to deal with the worst traffic jam in the world is pretty amazing.
So whether you are new to Bangkok or have been here for a while, here is the ultimate guide for you to choose the best food delivery service.
A few things to note before we get started
- This blog is my personal experience ordering daily from Bangkok. Your experience might be different depending on your location.
- I only mention the main ones. There are, of course, more apps, such as Robinhood and Shopee Food. But I prefer these due to the options and many riders, aka no need to wait too long.
- Each service has its pros and cons. Please see for yourself which one works for you!
Foodpanda (4/5): The perfect option for anti-social people and non-Thai speakers. Most straightforward and simple.
Grab Food (3.5/5): Best app to search specific dishes. Fast, flexible, but comes with responsibility.
Lineman (3.5/5): Unlimited options, fairest to drivers/restaurants, with a little more effort needed.
The perfect option for anti-social people!
My Rating: 4/5
Food panda is my number one option when I’m busy. And my husband, who doesn’t speak Thai, also uses Foodpanda the most. Since you can simply place an order, add the note to leave it at your lobby/concierge, and receive a notification when it’s there (without the instruction note, they will have to call you.)
The menu is well-organized in both Thai and English. There’s no confirmation or communication needed, and you don’t need to talk to anyone if you don’t want to. No worries if you don’t speak Thai. Drivers never really ask or message you about anything.
Foodpanda has been trying to add more street food options, but the majority here will be more upscale restaurants. Most restaurants have Foodpanda reviews attached to them, but I’d say it’s a great idea to double-check with Google reviews. Sometimes you might find a big contrast between those two.
Unless it’s during rushing hours like office lunchtime, Foodpanda has been pretty good with their time estimation. Sometimes you might need to wait for your order for a long time after the restaurant has prepared it because there’s no driver to pick it up or the driver needs to make multiple deliveries before yours. Also, during busy hours, there might not be enough drivers without any warnings, so you can end up waiting a few hours, but that’s very rare.
Payment and fees
You can pay both by credit card and cash. There are a lot of free delivery options. Some restaurants might charge delivery fees usually around 40 THB or about 1.3 USD.
You can signup for Foodpanda pros which gives you discount coupons and a certain amount of free delivery quotas. They sometimes have special promos, too, not often, but they usually work.
If something goes wrong, like your delivery man getting lost, it’s tough to get in touch with him. Customer service is also not great. They have both Thai and English chat support, but it could take you up to 20 minutes to talk with someone. A lot of times, their answer is, “we understand, but we cannot do anything.”
Tips: You can also order groceries which is very easy and straightforward as well. If they run out of some things, they will just deliver the rest. No communication is needed, and I do use this often.
Flexibility comes with responsibility
My Rating: 3.5/5
Compared to Foodpanda, Grab Food offers you more flexibility. After you place an order, Grab will look for a driver nearby to pick it up. The benefit of Grab is that you can chat with/call the driver if you need anything. The driver usually sends a message asking if your order is confirmed, which adds an extra layer to your ordering process.
If you don’t speak Thai, Grab has an auto-translation by Google, but as you know, the translation could still be confusing. Since Grab drivers get paid by each ride, not by salary like Foodpanda, they don’t like to go to places that are too far or busy restaurants that require a long waiting time. They would also need you to send a confirmation message after your order, which adds an extra layer to your ordering process.
Grab is also the best place if you crave specific dishes. Just search for the dish, and the app will highlight it from all the restaurants that offer it without having to click into each place and look through the entire menu.
Grab has more variety of options than Foodpanda, including upscale places, chain restaurants, and street food. They do have reviews but mostly in Thai. Most places also have English menus, but some do not.
The delivery time depends on your location and the restaurant. Grab usually has a rider assigned to your order before the restaurant starts cooking, so you can be sure that he will be there to pick up your food when it’s ready. Sometimes, the driver has to handle multiple orders, which will take longer, but you can select the “Priority Delivery” option, which costs 15thb (0.5usd) and guarantees you the first order in the batch = no need to be hungry for too long. This is the killer feature, and I always use Grab when I’m really hungry.
Payment and fees
You can pay by credit card, cash, and Grabpay Wallet, which is integrated with your bank account. The delivery fees vary by restaurant and the area, but most of the time, it’s between 10THB (0.32USD) to 50THB (1.61USD).
Sometimes you can signup for Grab Unlimited or other campaigns to get free delivery and promos. But they don’t offer this all the time. They do have lots of promo codes for specific restaurants or credit cards for you to explore.
Grab drivers are picky sometimes. They get paid around 40THB for each ride, so their time is essential. You need to send a confirmation message when ordering, so if you disappear (without paying), they can get the money that paid for your food back from the company. Plus, the driver will be very frustrated if the restaurant has a long queue or if you take over 5 minutes to get your food when it’s delivered. The last thing is, they don’t really read the instruction note you added in the address to leave stuff and would try to contact you anyway. So you need to be ready to talk!
Tips: Ask someone Thai to help write the instructions. Something like, “The order is confirmed. The location is as pinned. Please leave it …….”. Then save it in the template message in Grab. Send this message to the driver every time you order to reduce unnecessary communication.
Unlimited options with endless communication
My Rating: 3.5/5
Lineman has improved so much since I first wrote this article in 2020. Most of the time, it’s pretty easy. The driver will always send you messages (with cute Line stickers) to confirm the order and address. Some places take credit cards and have reasonable delivery fees. But since you can order from almost any restaurant, some do not integrate well with the app, which means cash only and a higher delivery fee. Personally, I think it’s impossible to pay 10thb (0.3usd) for someone to sustainably get food for you. It’s just investors subsidizing it. So I’d love to encourage people to use Lineman more and pay fair wages to drivers. They also charge less commission from the restaurant as well. I’ll talk more in the fees section.
Lineman has the most restaurant options since you can order from pretty much every restaurant on Wongnai (it’s the Thai version of Yelp or TripAdvisor). The review is trustworthy and legit from real users, but you can check Google for more English descriptions.
Similar to Grab, Lineman has a driver assigned to your order, which means your delivery time depends on the restaurant.
Payment and fees
Sometimes for the places that only accept cash, you can only order up to 1,000 THB (32.29 USD) per order. The cost is significantly higher than other options since it’s charged by distance. You can look for their partner restaurants, which offer lower delivery fee and take credit cards. The good thing is restaurants don’t need to pay crazy high commissions to them (Grab/Foodpanda charges up to 38% commission which is impossible for some restaurants to survive). My heart is with Lineman, and I hope they continue to grow.
They do sell packages or have special promos sometimes. They also like to send notifications for flash discounts, but I never care enough to rush and try. Sometimes the promo works, but most of the specific credit cards promo always reach the quota before I use it. It’s all about the speed here.
The higher delivery fee (but with reasons that I support). Canceling orders is tricky since the customer service queue is so long. Also, there are not as many English menus as in other apps. You also need to communicate with the driver more than Foodpanda; hence, a bit of Thai skills would be helpful.
Tips: Have a templated message in Thai saying the order is confirmed; add details about the address and instructions where to leave the order would make it way more simple. Ask your Thai friend or hotel staff to help. Also, you might get more food or cheaper price on Lineman compared to others apps because they take less commission from the restuarants.
No longer operating in Thailand.
I hope this blog helps your life in Bangkok be easier! I’d also be curious to know your experience dealing with food delivery in Bangkok! Please leave a comment and share this if you think it’s useful! :)
Besides a food blog, I also provide marketing services, including SEO and Content marketing. Check out my website for more info ❤