The many sites of Thailand are best enjoyed on a scooter or motorcycle. Renting a scooter will allow you to discover Thailand’s many delightful off-the-beaten-track places at your own pace. There are motorcycle rental places aplenty in Thailand. Most villages, towns, and islands have motorcycle rental shops.
It is possible to rent a scooter without a license in Thailand. Most scooter rental businesses will request a cash deposit and a copy of your passport. In contrast, others will ask that you leave your passport at their office. Rental shops in Thailand rarely ask for a driver’s license.
Rental shops in Thailand rarely ask for a driver’s license or any other documents indicating your driving skills or competence. However, it’s important to note that driving a scooter or motorcycle in Thailand without a permit is illegal.
Driving A Scooter Legally In Thailand
Thai law requires foreign visitors to have a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive legally in Thailand. The IDP must state clearly that the holder can drive or operate a motorcycle. A foreign license is only valid if used together with an IDP.
In most cases, an IDP alone will suffice. An IDP is applied for and obtained in the country where you received your motorcycle driver’s license. This process should happen before you leave for Thailand. The IDP is valid for 12 months. Additionally, buy good travel insurance which will cover all eventualities.
The Risks Of Driving A Scooter Without A License in Thailand
If you drive a motorcycle in Thailand, the probability of being stopped by the police at a checkpoint is high. Most times, the checkpoints are for checking driver’s licenses and ensuring everyone riding a motorbike is wearing a helmet. You will be issued a fine if you do not have an IDP.
The World Health Organization lists Thailand as eighth on the list of nations with the highest road deaths per capita. Thailand’s roads claim the lives of nearly 80 percent of its road users each year, and many of the victims are ex-pats or tourists.
Riding a scooter without a license will render your travel insurance invalid should you get involved in an accident. You will need a valid motorcycle license issued in your home country and a valid IDP to be within the law and covered by your insurance.
Things To Remember When Renting A Scooter In Thailand
When renting a scooter in Thailand, it is essential to remember the following:
It’s Important To Inspect The Scooter
When renting a scooter, checking it out carefully before leaving the parking lot is good. Please take pictures and videos of every part of the bike before you go to prove its condition.
This step is essential unless you want to be accused of causing damage to the motorbike while it is in your care. Wiping the motorbike with a wet cloth is also advisable to see if the paint comes off and reveals dents or scratches.
Check The Gas Gauge
Check the gas level of the motorbike before leaving the rental agency. Almost all rental agencies will ask that the bike be returned with the same amount of gas as when you rented it.
Get A Signed Rental Contract
It’s essential to have a signed rental contract in hand when renting anything in Thailand. However, some of the off-the-beaten-path rental places might not have standard agreements. These places may ask for your phone number, email address, or passport copy.
Get A Good Insurance
Confirm the rental company covers any medical expenses in case of an accident. You may also want to ensure you have insurance for third parties and passengers and any conditions that can invalidate your policy.
Scooter Rental Prices In Thailand
The price of renting a motorbike is usually meager in Thailand. You can expect to pay anywhere between US$5 and $10 daily. The type of bike can also affect the price.
Don’t Leave Your Passport; pay A Deposit.
Many rental shops will not accept a credit or debit card when renting a motorbike, so you should have cash. It is common for places to ask for your passport as a deposit.
Instead of agreeing to this, pay a monetary deposit or leave something else in place of your passport. If you rent a scooter from a hotel, you could be asked for your hotel room number.
Buy A Good Quality Helmet
Most rental places will give you a helmet, but the quality is not always good. So, buy yourself and your passenger’s good-quality full-face helmets.
Riding A Motorcycle Safely In Thailand
To stay safe on Thai roads, you need to be mindful of the following:
- Make sure you always have your IDP and motorcycle driver’s license.
- The law in Thailand requires you to wear a helmet when you ride a scooter or motorbike. If the traffic police stop you and you are caught not wearing one, you will be issued a fine.
- Wear long trousers and a jacket of sturdy material. The heat and humidity make it challenging but will create a barrier and save you from bad scars in an accident.
- Young children can drive motorcycles, so keep an eye on your surroundings and drive defensively.
- Do not drive your scooter after drinking because your insurance will not cover your medical expenses if you are in an accident.
- Whenever possible, avoid driving at night. Some drivers fail to use their lights during the night, making it dangerous to drive at night.
Fines For Traffic Violations In Thailand
- The fine for driving a motorcycle without an IDP is officially 200 baht.
- The fine for driving a motorbike without a helmet is 400 baht.
- The penalty for using a smartphone while driving a motorcycle is a fine of 500 baht.
Most motorcycle rental places in Thailand do not require a license to rent a scooter or motorcycle. To comply with Thai legal requirements, always carry your IDP and motorcycle license when driving a scooter or motorcycle. The IDP should be applied for and acquired in your home country before leaving for Thailand.