UdonThani Motor bike Rentals

How Do I Rent A Motorbike Or Scooter In Thailand?

In order to rent a motorbike in Thailand, you must be at least 18 years old and hold an international driving license (IDL or not). You can then choose to either:

Rent a completely new motorbike that comes with the registration papers in your name, or rent a used motorbike.

If you want to go with the second option, you can rent motorbikes in Thailand without an IDL if you only plan on driving locally (i.e., up to your resort or down south for a few days). However, this is illegal and it’s recommended that foreigners only rent new motorcycles.

What Do I Need To Know Before Renting A Motorbike In Thailand?

There are quite a few rules and regulations that you should be aware of before heading out:

  • Helmets must always be worn and they must be the right kind (not just any old plastic one). You can buy helmets everywhere in Thailand, but they’re usually not that comfortable. If you’re visiting for longer periods of time, it might be a good idea to bring your own!
  • If you have an international driving license, it must be shown whenever you want to rent a motorbike, scooter or car.
  • Your driver’s license from your home country is not sufficient enough.
  • If you rent a motorbike in Thailand under someone else’s name, you must provide proof of insurance for the bike as well as an IDL.
  • Lastly, if your visa expires while you’re renting a motorbike in Phuket or elsewhere, you must show proof that you will be leaving Thailand within 30 days.
Motor Bike Rentals in UdonThani

If you do decide to rent a motorcycle in Thailand, follow these guidelines.

  1. Have the proper license.
  2. Rent from reputable dealers.
  3. Don’t leave your passport.
  4. Get to know the current motorcycle laws of Thailand
    4a. Don’t drink and drive.
    4b. Don’t speed.
    4c. Always wear your helmet.
    4d. Always carry your license.
    4e. Don’t ride more than two to a motorcycle.
  5. Ride with a friend if you can.
  6. Take photos and/or a video before you rent.
  7. Learn how to ride before Thailand.
  8. Have fun.

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Rent a Motorcycle in Thailand

Thailand has the second-highest number of vehicle accidents in the world

Second only to Libya, an estimated 24,000 people are killed annually on the roads in Thailand, averaging 66 a day. Nearly 75% of them are motorcycle related. Pai, the hippie village in the mountains to the north of Chiang Mai, has the highest number of accidents per capita of any Thai city or town.

The required license is in question

Per Section 42-2 of the 1979 Thai Motor Vehicle Act and Article 24 of the 1949 Geneva Convention of Road Traffic, citizens from most countries are only required to have a valid drivers license from their country if they are on a visitor visa or visa-exempt entry to Thailand. Despite these laws, most police checkpoints will insist that you have an International Driving Permit (IDP), and some will also want to see a Thai License. However, no motorcycle agency will check for a license, or sometimes even your age. All you need to show is your money.

The laws are unclear

I went to the police and asked them to show or tell me the laws related to motorcycles. They couldn’t. I then went to the official Honda motorcycle rental shop and asked the same. They couldn’t either. Another motorcycle shop had nothing in writing, but was able to tell me that only a Thai motorcycle license comes with insurance. I had no way to verify if that was true. Laws are also continually being passed, and then there are rumors that the laws are suspended.

Locals and tourists don’t follow the laws

It’s almost impossible to not see locals and foreigners breaking the laws. At any one moment, you can see people riding without a helmet, riding three or more to a bike, driving too fast, young kids driving, driving on the sidewalk or in oncoming traffic lanes, etc. all of which are illegal. There just aren’t enough police in the country to fine every violation, even with the daily volunteers which are hired to do so.