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Can I Drive a Car or Motorbike in Thailand with My Driver’s License?

To drive a car or motorbike legally in Thailand, you must have an international driver’s license, or a Thailand driver’s license. That answers the question, but there is so much more to driving in the country that you need to know! Read on!

Thailand Rental Laws and Tips

  • Minimum Age – The minimum age to rent a car in Thailand is typically 21, though some companies might require drivers to be 23 or older. Ensure you meet the age requirement before signing your contract.
  • Insurance – Third-party liability insurance is mandatory, but consider comprehensive coverage for peace of mind.
  • Documentation – Keep your passport, driver’s license, IDP, rental agreement, and insurance documents readily accessible.

Driving Rules

  • Left-hand side – Thailand drives on the left side of the road, so adjust your driving accordingly.
  • Speed limits – Be mindful of posted speed limits, which are generally lower than in many other countries.
  • Motorcycles – Motorbikes are ubiquitous, so stay alert and maintain a safe distance.
  • Traffic lights & signs – Familiarize yourself with Thai traffic lights and signage, which might differ from your home country.
  • Roundabouts – Traffic circles are common in Thailand. Yield to vehicles already on the roundabout before entering.
  • No honking horns – Excessive honking is frowned upon. Use it sparingly, only when necessary.

More Tips

  • Fuel – Choose reputable gas stations and opt for higher-octane fuel for best performance.
  • Parking – Look for designated parking areas and avoid blocking traffic.
  • Tolls – Some expressways have toll booths. Prepare small changes for easier transactions.
  • Bribery – Avoid any attempts at bribery by officials. Report any such incidents to the authorities.
  • Respectful driving – Practice courtesy and patience on the road. Avoid aggressive driving and respect other drivers.

Motorbike/Scooter Rental in Thailand

Anyone can go to a motorbike rental shop and rent a motorbike. Some may ask for an international license, but most of them will rent to anyone. They must figure that if you have an accident, it’s all on you. They’re right, but don’t feel safe if you’re able to rent a motorbike, sign a contract that says you have insurance, and then get into an accident. YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY IT. The insurance will not cover you.

Car/Truck (Passenger Vehicle) Rental in Thailand

You’ll find that most car rental agencies will have proper insurance for their vehicles and for clients who rent their cars and trucks. Still, some places will only ask for your passport when they rent you a car. That isn’t enough, and insurance won’t cover you if that’s all you have.

Getting the proper driver’s license to rent a vehicle is really important. Make sure you do!

Does Insurance Cover Foreigners Driving in Thailand?

Typically, if a car or motorbike rental business has gone to the trouble to find insurance, then it covers foreigners with a proper driver’s license.

If you DON’T have the proper license, you are NOT covered for insurance and you will need to pay everything out of pocket. That means the cost of your own injuries, your vehicle to be fixed as if new again, and your ‘victim’ and their vehicle.

In some cases, if you are grossly negligent, you can be ordered by the court to pay living expenses for someone you hurt in an accident – for the rest of their lives. It’s really no joke.

Recently, a friend we have here in Krabi was doing a U-Turn and he didn’t see a Thai girl on a motorbike. She hit his car when he pulled out into her lane. She had some damage to her motorbike and she hurt her knee in the accident.

My friend had to pay all of her bills, his car bills, and her injury bills at the hospital. He also gave her a settlement fee so she wouldn’t go to court over it to get more money. Total cost for a minor accident – over 150,000 Thai Baht (around $4,300 USD).

MORE INFO on Driving in Thailand | Driving Motorbikes in Thailand | Krabi Motorbike Rental