You may have been using services like Uber and Lyft for a while now, but until you travel to Asia you will not get to experience Grab! Grab is a food delivery, taxi, and shopping all-in-one service that every traveler should use in Asia. From airport taxi rides to late-night food deliveries, here are our 11 useful tips for using Grab in Southeast Asia!
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Our First Experience With Grab Food Delivery
Grab is an incredible company we discovered a few years ago on a trip to Vietnam. After seeing what seemed like hundreds of men and women on bikes dressed in green flying around us on motorbikes for days we decided to download the app.
Honestly, we couldn’t believe it. A whole new world of food, transportation, and more had just been opened up to us! Unfortunately, the first time we used it was at about 2am after a long night on the infamous Bui Vien backpacker street in Saigon.
As you can imagine, there isn’t a ton of Grab food delivery options at this time! It was then that we probably had the worst Greek gyro of our lives, but it didn’t even matter. The discovery of Grab would lead to so many joyous moments in the future!
What Exactly is Grab?
Grab Food Delivery
Grab food is our favorite way to use this popular app. Of course one of the best things to do in Southeast Asia is going out to eat. It’s just some days it’s either so damn hot out in the afternoon, or we’re so exhausted from exploring all day!
That’s when we open up the app, search what’s in the area, and place our order. Before you know it a Grab driver is zooming over with food from your favorite restaurant.
Another way to best utilize this company is to order a Grab taxi. Grab taxi is great for short distances and the prices are typically the same or CHEAPER than local taxis or tuk-tuk drivers. Order a car or van of any size depending on your party.
Speaking of a party, Grab taxi is a great option if you’re heading out for a night on the town. There is literally no reason to drive your motorbike or rental car out into the mayhem of traffic in Southeast Asia when you can just order a grab for next to nothing.
We’ve also used Grab taxi to get from the airports to our destination as soon as we land. In Hanoi getting to the city center with Grab was half the price we were quoted at the taxi line!
Other Random Grab Services
In addition to Grab food delivery, you can have other things ordered directly to you. Some of our favorite items would be drinks like beers and water. I mean those are clutch items… Especially to have brought to you right to your hotel or the beach!
Grab delivery can also bring groceries and other random household items if you wish. However, we recommend picking out fresh fruits and vegetables from the local market yourself.
Where is Grab in Southeast Asia?
Grab is currently available in 8 different countries in Southeast Asia. The best experiences we’ve had were in Thailand and Vietnam. For Grab food delivery you’ll have the most options in the large cities as opposed to small towns and islands.
11 Useful Tips for Using Grab Food Delivery & Taxi
1. Sign Up Before Traveling
Out first tip for using Grab in Southeast Asia actually begins before you leave your home country! That’s because you’ll need to input a working phone number to actually use Grab food delivery and taxi.
Now this can easily be solved with a cheap sim card that can be found in most countries. Still, you might as well cut that step out before traveling so you can be Grabbing right away.
2. Link Your Credit Card
A huge benefit of using Grab is that you can link your credit card to the app. A lot of places in Southeast Asia run on cash only which can be annoying if you’re used to swiping your card everywhere.
So being able to pay for orders and Grab taxi easily on a card is such a nice feature. Just be careful… Once you start ordering Grab food it’s hard to stop!
3. Look For Grab Food Deals
We’d be lying if we didn’t admit the best part of Grab in Southeast Asia is the price! Depending on the country, most Grab delivery fees won’t run you more than .25 cents USD. Crazy right?
In addition, they will run flash deals for certain restaurants at all times of the day. We’re always keeping our eyes peeled for 50% from the best restaurants!
4. Grab Taxi Motorbike?!
We told you about Grab taxi with cars and vans, but did you know you can order a motorbike ride? That’s right… And want to know the best part? It’s actually cheaper than a car! This option is awesome if you’re just one person, and can be quite thrilling in a big city like Kuala Lumpur.
Remember they’re experts people! Grab motorbikes are the closest thing you’ll find to professional scooter drivers. Whether you’re doing it out of convenience or just for fun, zipping around in traffic is definitely a wild experience.
5. Try the Restaurant First
This might sound like a weird concept if you’re ordering Grab food, but hear us out. One of our best tips for using Grab delivery is to try the restaurant BEFORE your first order. Although we’ve mostly had great experiences with the service, there are hits and misses like anything else.
A couple of times we planned on ordering something, but luckily passed the establishment before doing so. When you see meat left out in the hot sun or people not practicing proper hygiene it’s obviously a turn-off.
This is why we like eating somewhere in person before we order it on Grab food delivery. If you want to skip this step we understand. We’ve just had food poisoning enough times to do anything in our power to avoid it!
6. Read Grab Food Reviews
Another way to combat getting a bad Grab food order is to read the reviews. Just like you would before ordering from anywhere, do some research on the place you’re ordering from.
Not only does grab have its own review rating system, but you can do an additional search on websites like Google and Tripadvisor. This is also where we get ideas for what items to order on Grab food delivery!
7. Cash in Your Grab Rewards
Something we didn’t initially realize is that you accrue a point system with Grab in Southeast Asia. Specifically, on bigger payments with Grab taxi you’ll have some points added to your account!
It’s awesome getting free rides, food, or discounts towards your Grab delivery that you weren’t expecting. Keep an eye on your points to save some money on this already cheap service!
8. Track Your Grab Delivery
One of the best features of Grab taxi and food is you can track your order after it’s placed. This is extremely useful if you’re staying in a large apartment building or somewhere like the beach that’s not as easy to find.
You can also message the driver and stay in contact with them to help coordinate the Grab delivery or ride pick up. Some will even pick extra things like drinks up for you if you ask them on the way!
9. Stick to Your Language
Something that may be slightly confusing on Grab food is that many of the restaurants aren’t in your preferred language. This can definitely be frustrating if you’re looking at delicious pictures banh mi’s and noodle soups but have no idea what you’re ordering in Vietnamese.
Supposedly you can change this feature on the Grab App but we haven’t had any luck! This can be important particularly if you’re not trying to order something with meat or seafood. For this reason, we usually stick to selecting stuff we can read in English.
10. Contact the Restaurant
Made a mistake or need something extra? Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to the restaurant. A lot of times there was no option to make something vegetarian or less spicy on Grab food. This is when we looked up their phone number and reached out.
Typically the restaurants that are a part of Grab are more accustomed to dealing with travelers and are happy to help you out. A few times we’ve also noticed they don’t immediately accept our order on Grab in Southeast Asia.
If it’s been more than 5-10 minutes and your order isn’t “in the kitchen” yet there is no harm in calling and letting them know you placed an order on Grab.
11. Tip and Rate Your Grab Driver
Our last tip for using Grab is something you can’t forget! Always rate and review your driver. Many take pride in their review scores and are willing to go the extra mile to make you happy.
When sitting at restaurants we’ve seen drivers waiting in the hot sun, counting the items in the order, and more to ensure you get your food. Since the delivery charge is literally pennies, we always give them a nice tip after receiving our Grab food.
Have any questions on Grab food delivery or want to share your own experiences using Grab in Southeast Asia? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Nothing Familiar Travel Guide
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. A quick travel tip is to ask for a weekly rate than just booking 2-3 days.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find thousands of activities around the world. From street food tours to skip the line entry passes!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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