Renting a car is a great way to explore the Kingdom of Thailand. If you are not in Pattaya, public transportation options are pretty limited outside downtown. 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. However, there are certain things you should know in advance before renting a car in Thailand, from the 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 car rental company usually sets the minimum age. Some companies set the minimum age at 21, while other car rental companies specify that the driver must be 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 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 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. In addition, 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. Those in doubt should contact their embassy for advice.
It would be best if you carried 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 the Thai traffic police.
The Cost of Renting a Car
The cost of renting a car varies depending on location in Thailand and the car rental company. However, leading car rental companies like Expat Car Rent tend to offer standardized prices. The other major factor that will affect the rental cost is the size and style of the car. For example, the cost for renting a small budget car starts at 790 THB per day and runs 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. In addition, many of the larger car rental companies offer special deals and promotions throughout the year.
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 colliding with another driver, theft of the vehicle, or a breakdown. If you rent from very local car rental companies, cars automatically come with type First Class Insurance. Only a few car rental companies like Expat Car Rent provide premium insurance, giving you complete protection in case of accidents and vehicle theft. Others offer basic insurance, so you may prefer to take out additional insurance to ensure 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 labelled 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. Therefore, it’s better to have travel insurance in preparation for this 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 challenging 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 awful during peak hours and can cause cars to a standstill. Visitors should avoid hitting the road between 08:00 am, and 09:00 am and 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Traffic crawls along at a snail’s pace, even on the expressways. Motorists should stay 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. They will do almost anything to cut driving times, including driving on the sidewalk, crossing traffic lanes, and squeezing unnervingly close to moving cars.
Finding somewhere to park in Pattaya can be an issue, especially for motorists exploring the heart of the city. Although there are designated parking lots in Pattaya, they are few and far between, especially in the city’s core. The fine for parking illegally is high and should be avoided at all costs. Most shopping centres feature car parks where motorists can park for free or for a small fee. And in older areas of the city, using vacant plots & temple parking lots is allowed for short periods.
Unexpected Situations when Renting a Car
No matter how safe or 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 can handle the situation calmly and without it affecting your trip to Thailand. In 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, judging responsibility. Motorists must ensure that they do not move the car unless it poses a direct danger to other traffic. It would be best if you took several pictures from different angles. When they have arrived and assessed the situation, the Thai police will issue you 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, checking with the car rental company is recommended. While larger gas stations accept credit and debit cards, it is always best to have cash ready, especially in small towns and islands. Attendants at gas stations fill up the tank for you, so you only need to specify the 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 find PTT stations conveniently located in all towns and cities throughout the country. In addition, you can discover PTT stations with restrooms, 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 difference.
From All Of Us At Expat Car Rent “Have A Safe Trip & Enjoy The Drive”