Wherever you are in Thailand you will probably have the opportunity to rent a motor vehicle like a car, a motorbike or even bigger motorcycles.
This is a wonderful freedom but there are a few very important things to have in mind that many people are not aware of. Take a few minutes and read this page.
Can I Drive Legally in Thailand?
When driving ANY vehicle in Thailand you need to have a valid drivers license. Your original drivers license might seem okay however this is not the case. To drive legally in Thailand you need either a Thai drivers license or a International drivers license along with your regular one.
If you get stopped by the police they will probably accept your drivers license and if not they will in most cases charge you 300-500 baht. Police often accept “B” license even if driving a motorbike or a big bike.
Keep in mind that it is not uncommon that people overtake in sharp curves and sometimes also might force you off the road by overtake even if you are in the way. Be extra careful and you will probably stay out of trouble and only return home with great memories from this fantastic country.
The Responsibility Is On You
No matter what vehicle you rent, as the driver of the vehicle, you must make sure that the vehicle is insured. For all vehicles you should see a sticker with some Thai written on it. The sticker includes the registration number and what year the insurance is valid to. For example if you visiting Thailand in 2012 the number on the sticker should be 2555. Then it also say what month it is valid to, this can be hard to know since it is written in Thai. The insurance might also have 2556 written on it since this is the same as 2013 because the Thai calendar is 543 years ahead and the insurance is due to next year.
On motorbikes the sticker is normally placed visible between the seat and the handle or in the area below the seat. On cars the sticker is normally placed on the front window.
If you rent a car, ask to see the registration book so that you know where to find it if the police wants to see it. Also when you rent a car check what insurance they have and what it covers. Today many places, even small ones, do have very good insurances that for example limit your costs to only a few thousand baths in case of an accident. This is very important if you do not want a scenario where you might have to pay for a whole car.
Should I leave my Passport?
When you rent a vehicle you will probably have to show your driving license and passport. Some places wants you to give your passport of driving license as a deposit, in those cases tell them that you can only accept to hand a copy so that you carry the originals with you. If you are stopped by the police without license you might have to pay a fee of a few hundred baths.
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