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Riding A Motorbike In Thailand

Depends on where you live in Thailand also determines what transport you take. For the most part however a motorbike/scooter is the most reliable/efficient/cheapest way to get around. If you are thinking of moving to Thailand learn how to ride one properly and it's unlikely you'll have any major accident.

The best way to learn to ride a motorbike is to find someone who already knows how to ride one and learn from them, i'd say after about a week of driving one you're pretty much proficient enough to drive anywhere in Thailand. A motorbike is esentially a motor two wheels and handle bars for steering. Because of the low weight ratio on a bike even the cheapest of motorbikes will easily out accelerate a car, driving a motorbike is not the same as driving a car and if you drive sensibly is not as dangerous as you'd think, but driving a motorbike in thailand can and is dangerous if your not looking out. If you've never driven before then i suggest you hire an automatic bike with electric start like the Honda Click.

The key to driving a motorbike in Thailand is having good road sense and not speeding. Road sense is the ability to judge distance and speed, most thai drivers are really bad at this especially when turning, thai's typically slow down way too slow when turning because they can't judge the speed of the other cars and thus don't know how fast they should be going, knowing how fast you can accelerate is the key to good drive sense, remember if you are doubling with someone else then you should factor their weight in as well. Experience is the key and if you are an experienced motorbike driver back home you should have no problem here.

If you are renting a motorbike in thailand then you'll need a few things:

  • A passport
  • Money up front (sometimes you'll need a deposit definately if you don't have a passport).
  • A helmet

The fine for not wearing a helmet is 500-1000 baht (depending where you are) and same if you don't have a drivers license, to avoid fines anywhere get a Thai drivers licence. If you do get fined they will take your license away and get it back once you pay the fine annoying so make sure you follow the rules. It's good to know that if you have unpaid fines it doesn't affect anything with your visa. Also when you go to get your license if you have unpaid fines they will still give you a new license.

Riding a motorbike in Thailand is great fun, you can go to many different places that you normally can't get to from a taxi or bus so i suggest you hire one and explore the unknown just be aware and drive safely, never drive drunk! If you get caught drink driving in Thailand depending on where you live you'll get a 10-20,000 baht fine and may have to wait at the police jail until you are taken to the court which isn't open weekends.

Riding in Thailand is the most convenient way to get to the store buy some groceries or go down the street to meet some friends, it's worthwhile learning to ride as it can not only save you time but money as well. Be safe out there!

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

9 Responses to Riding A Motorbike In Thailand

  1. David November 24, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    Do all motor bike hires in Chankmia require your pass port? if you don’t give over your pass port does that mean no hire …it is illegal for Australians to give over your passport as it is only on loan and belongs to the Aus Govt. It could be very expensive to replace your passport for an Aus in Thai…will hirers accept photcopy of passport

    • Chris November 24, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      Typically you can just leave a deposit for the bike, if you rent of the hotel they won’t require anything.

  2. Dannyboyd September 5, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    The Police in Pattaya are catching on, they are asking for International drivers license now, and some of the buggers are looking for.motorcycle stamps on them, usuall the minute they see Inernation they wave u off, I got one at AAA in California for 15 bucks it’s good for forever, it’s wise to get one before coming over. A buddy of mine got a fake one on Khoasan Rd for 800 baht with motorcycle endorsement.i have saved so much money from that investment.

    • Chris September 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Using a fake drivers license bought from khaosan to fool the Thai cops…Priceless!

      • Donald February 27, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

        Thai cops not knowing their own lawa..priceless. An International DL is only valid on a tourist visa…

        • Dannyboyd March 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

          Valid on 30 day , not just TV

  3. Roger rabbit February 13, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    seems like you’re running out of things to write about…

    • Chris February 13, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

      Updating old posts at the moment, new articles coming soon.

  4. rottosolo October 4, 2018 at 11:16 am #

    The penalty for using a false document in Thailand is very serious and quite possibly prison.
    This includes a fake licence or international licence stamped with an endorsement that you don’t have for example a motorcycle licence when you only have a car licence.

    regardless of the fine, if you have an accident and you don’t have the correct licence you will not be covered by any insurance and will have to pay expensive hospital bills etc.

    you can be prevented from leaving the country until you settle the money that you owe.

    I have read a lot of the posts from Chris and they are quite uninformed and incorrect.

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