Thailand Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving in Thailand
Thailand drives on the left and you require an international driving permit to rent a car. Roads are generally in good condition for Asia. Paved roads, many of them four lanes wide, connect Thailand’s major cities. Large towns and Bangkok in particular have very heavy traffic composed of motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, and tuk-tuks. Motorbikes and tuk tuks are likely to drive in an erratic manner – weave between lanes and overtake on both sides of slower moving traffic. Traffic accidents are common in Thailand, and often involve 2 and 3 wheel vehicles.

The accident rate in Thailand increases during holidays, when alcohol use and traffic are both heavier than normal. During the Songkran (Thai New Year) holiday in April, the problem is worsened by people throwing water at passing vehicles as part of the traditional celebration. On main roads between towns speeding, reckless overtaking and flouting of traffic laws is common in all regions of Thailand. Bus and lorry drivers often use amphetamines to stay awake and serious bus crashes occur frequently, especially on overnight trips. You should exercise caution around buses and lorries.

On some of the Thai Islands roads are mostly gravel and can be in poor condition. You should check with the rental company if you intend to take a hire car to an Island as additional insurance may be needed.The same applies to some National Parks where you may need a 4X4 or a vehicle with high clearance. This is the case in Kaeng Krachan National Park. Advice from user Annabel Young- If you drive into the park you do need a vehicle with high clearance or 4X4, as the main road is a steep, rutted track at times and there are some steep drops in and out of the streams north of the first campsite. Also one of the routes from Hua Hin to Kaeng Krachen involves a very steep sandy bit of ‘road’. The road north of Hua Hin to the park is in better condition though.

Thailand Car Rental –
Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, National, Budget,Avis,  have branches here.Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire and Web discount sites such as

These are local company websites-

These companies rent cars in Phuket –

There are also a number of small companies who rent jeeps by the beach in Phuket, usually for less than 1000THB per day. These are usually fine for exploring the Island but may struggle with some of the steeper hills. Be sure to check insurance terms carefully if you rent from one of these operations as often insurance isn’t included.

This company are based in Chiang Mai and were able to rent a user a vehicle when all the big companies had sold out –

This company offer self drive with pre-planned itineraries

Thailand Self Drive Rules
None of the big companies allow cars to be taken out of Thailand. There are also restrictions on taking cars on ferries- you should check out terms with the company at the time of reservation.


Leave a Reply