During my next vacation I am planning on driving in Thailand. The first time I visited Thailand I was a little put off the idea by the frantic style that many Thai’s show on the roads. But I want the freedom to be able to go where ever I like and I feel this will give me the best opportunity to see more of Thailand. So I have done a little research and wanted to share this with you all.
What do I need to know about driving in Thailand?
In Thailand the traffic laws are similar to the United Kingdom, although speed limits will vary depending on where you are. They also drive on the left hand side of the road which will make things even easier for you. Be advised that driving styles will be extremely different to what you are used to. If you are driving in a city you should always be prepared to stop as drivers and motorcyclist will often just pull right out in front of you.
If this is your first time driving in Thailand, it is advised that you do not drive at night. The number of street dogs that often lay in the middle of the road will make it extremely hazardous at night. They also tend to dart across the road at random times so again you should take you time.
What do I need to drive in Thailand?
The first thing I have found out is that I will require an International Driving Permit issued from the country where I passed my test. In the United Kingdom, these can be obtained from the Post Office for a modest £5.50. This will be valid for one year from the date of issue. I will also need to take my full driving licence with me. It is also advised that you visit the DVLA’s website and obtain a printout of any current endorsements you may have. This could affect you at the car hire company, should they require it.
Do I need to carry around all this paperwork whilst driving in Thailand?
The simple answer is yes. In the event that the traffic police pull you over you will be required to produce all of the above information, plus your passport. Failure to have these will usually result in a hefty fine. Remember, you will be driving in Thailand and as such be driving to their rules. Another thing to be aware of is that failure to have all the required documentation could invalidate any insurance that you may have. You do not want to have an accident only to find out that you are not covered.
What level of insurance should I get for driving in Thailand?
This is really a personal choice, but there are many options that you will be able to choose from when you hire your vehicle. I would advise searching around for a hire car company that is going to give you more additional coverage. This may mean a few extra Baht per day, but it could save you a fortune in the event of an accident. But again this is a personal choice. As a minimum I will be including collision damage waiver, third party cover and Theft cover. I do not want to be charged for the cost of a car in the event of an accident.
What is the best hire car company to use?
When I come to book my hire car, I intend to use an international company. The main reason for this is I want to be able to contact them in the event of an issue. This will make it much easier for me to be able to communicate with them afterwards. This will also give me the opportunity to contact them in advance to find out any additional information that I may need. I intend to use Skyscanner to find my hire car as they have some great options available to me along with some great prices from international car hire companies.
Are there any other things to be aware of when hiring a car?
Before you accept the vehicle, be sure to record any damage, no matter how minor with the hire company. Treat this exercise as if you had just brought a brand new car and you want to make sure everything is as expected. Be sure to check for a spare tyre and jack too. There are some pretty uneven roads in parts of Thailand that could easily cause a flat tyre. If you find a scratch on your car then record it. This is where a lot of companies can make money from you, so be aware.
In the event that you do hire a car, ensure you check to see what mileage you are allowed to do in the vehicle. You would hate to get hit with an excess mileage charge when you return the vehicle to the hire company.
Are there any benefits to driving in Thailand?
There are many benefits to driving yourself, with the most notable being the freedom to venture wherever you like. You can save yourself a lot of time in the event that you are not in a major city. If you are travelling as a group, this can also have its cost savings as you will be able to share the cost of the vehicle and fuel.
There are thousands of amazing locations to visit that are not served by public transport so having the freedom to get to them will make your time more enjoyable.
How much does fuel cost in Thailand?
At the point of writing this, the cost of Diesel in Thailand is around 28 Baht per litre. This equates to around 67 pence per litre back in the United Kingdom. This make driving even more appealing as it can be done much cheaper than back home. Just be sure to fill your car back up before you hand it back as the fuel price you will be charged will surely be more than this.
I have tried to cover as many things as I can in this blog and I hope you find it useful.
Have you ever driven in Thailand, comment below to let me know about your experiences. I look forward to reading all about them.