Renting a car is a great way to explore the Kingdom of Thailand. If you are not in Pattaya, public transportation options are quite limited outside downtown areas. Having private transportation allows you to visit the country at your own pace and venture off the beaten path to discover tiny villages, areas of intense natural beauty and secluded sandy beaches that are not part of the usual tourist itinerary. There are certain things you should know in advance before renting a car in Thailand, from required driving license, insurance options, prices, to procedures and available companies.
Who Can Rent a Car in Thailand?
Renting a car is regularly the best way to spend your vacations in Thailand. The minimum age is usually set by the car rental company. Some companies set the minimum age at 21, while other car rental companies specify that the driver must be at least 23. Most car rental companies in Thailand require the driver to have a driver’s license for a minimum of a year, while luxury cars are often reserved for older and more experienced drivers.
Required Driving License
If you plan to drive in Thailand, you should either have a Thai driving license or an international driving permit. The driving license from your home country works in some cases.
Copied from Thai law: To drive or lease a car in Thailand as a tourist or visitor it is necessary to have either a Thai driving license or a valid foreign driving license with a photograph. The foreign license must either be in English, or be accompanied by an official translation into English or Thai. The license needs to have been issued by a country that has a treaty with the Thai government allowing the mutual acceptance of driving licenses. Most countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA have this agreement with Thailand under the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic or the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Those in doubt should contact their embassy for advice.
You should carry with you at all times your driving license or an international driving permit, along with a copy of the photo page and visa page of a valid passport. Failure to carry these documents can result in a 200/500 baht fine if stopped by the Thai traffic police.
The Cost of Renting a Car
The cost of renting a car varies depending on the location in Thailand and the car rental company. However, main car rental companies like Expat Car Rent tend to offer standardized prices. The other major factor that will affect the rental cost is size and style of the car. The cost for renting a small budget car starts at 790 THB per day and runs all the way up to 2,200 THB per day for a luxury sedan, while a large SUV 7 seater could cost as much as 3,000 THB per day.
If you wish to extend your rental period beyond the agreed length of time you usually need to let the rental company know at least two days in advance. Rental companies will then charge you the agreed daily rate. Added features, like baby seats and GPS are usually included for free. If you plan to rent a car for several weeks or even months at a time you may get a discount. Rental prices tend to drop slightly in the low season and rise in the high season. Many of the larger car rental companies offer special deals and promotions throughout the year as well.
Car Insurance Provided by Car Rental Companies
Before signing a car rental contract and driving away from the car rental office, make sure that you and the vehicle are insured in case of emergency. Things could go wrong while renting a car in Thailand. Potential hazards include damaging the vehicle due to careless driving or having a collision with another driver, theft of the vehicle, or a break down. If you rent from very local car rental companies, cars tend to come automatically with type First Class Insurance. Only a few car rental companies like Expat Car Rent provide premium insurance, giving you full protection in case of accidents and theft of vehicle. Others offer basic insurance, so you may prefer to take out additional insurance to make sure that you, the rental car, and your passengers are fully protected.
The roads in Thailand are generally very smooth and well maintained. People who choose to rent a car will find little difficulty. However Thailand recently was labeled with the highest road accident death rate in the world. The main hazard comes from drivers. Since traffic laws here are not well regulated, this results in reckless and speedy driving even in a community area. Accidents may happen even while you are walking on the footpath. It’s better to have travel insurance in preparation for this type of unexpected incident. Minor roads, especially those in the countryside, are not always well lit. If you’re driving on these roads for the first time, avoid driving at night to reduce the risk of road hazards. Danger also comes from stray animals, like dogs that lie in the middle of the road or dart across moving cars. Street dogs can be particularly difficult to spot at dusk and motorists should keep a lookout for them at all times.
Pattaya is infamous for its heavy traffic jams, ranking among the worst in Thailand. It is especially bad during peak hours and can cause cars to come to a standstill. Visitors should avoid hitting the road between 08:00am and 09:00am and 5:00pm and 7:00pm. Traffic crawls along at a snail’s pace even on the expressways. Motorists should stay particularly vigilant and keep a close eye out for Baht Bus drivers and motorcycle taxi drivers. These drivers take passengers around the city for a set fare and will do almost anything to cut driving times, including driving on the sidewalk, cutting across traffic lanes, and squeezing unnervingly close to moving cars.
Finding somewhere to park in Pattaya can be an issue, especially for motorists who are exploring the heart of the city. Although there are designated parking lots in Pattaya, they are few and far between, especially in the heart of the city. The fine for parking illegally is high and should be avoided at all costs. Most shopping centers feature car parks where motorists can either park for free or a small fee. And in older areas of the city, making use of vacant plots & temple parking lots is allowed for short periods of time.
Unexpected Situations when Renting a Car
No matter how safe or how experienced you are as a driver, accidents can happen and things can go wrong. The trick is being as prepared as possible and knowing what to do if the worst happens so that you are able to handle the situation calmly and without it affecting your trip in Thailand. In the event of an accident, it is essential to stop and make sure that the car is parked in a safe and visible spot. The Thai police, including an auto insurance agent, must be called and they will judge responsibility. Motorists must make sure that they do not move the car unless it poses a direct danger to other traffic. Several pictures from different angles should be taken. When they have arrived and assessed the situation, the Thai police will issue you with a report to give to the car rental company.
Fuel for the Journey
Gas stations are scattered throughout Thailand and are located at regular intervals in cities, large towns and on the sides of motorways. Although most rental cars in Thailand run on Gasohol 91 or 95, which is cheaper than unleaded gasoline, it is recommended to check with the car rental company. While larger gas stations accept credit and debit cards, it is always best to have cash ready, especially in small towns and on the islands. Attendants at gas stations fill up the tank for you, so you only need to specify gas type and how much you want in THB, and they will take care of the rest. PTT is the leading fuel company in Thailand and motorists will be able to find PTT stations conveniently located in all towns and cities throughout the country. you can find PTT stations with rest rooms, small restaurants, convenience stores, and a wide range of other services. Shell, Bangchak, Esso, Petronas, and Susco are the remaining leading fuel companies with numerous stations to choose from. The cost of gasoline between each company is only a few satang different.
From All Of Us At Expat Car Rent “Have A Safe Trip & Enjoy The Drive”