Thailand Country Guide

Getting Around


By Road - Car Rental

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Renting a car to explore on your own is a cost-effective way of getting off the beaten track and avoids the constant hassle of haggling with local taxi or tuk-tuk drivers. However, driving in Thailand is not for the faint-hearted and many car rental companies can supply drivers at very reasonable prices. Prices without insurance for a self-driven car start around 800 baht per day for small cars and as little as 600 baht per day for open-top jeeps. Cars with insurance start at just around 1,000 baht per day and comes down to around 5,600 baht per week or 18,000 baht per month. 

Traffic jam in Bangkok by Sergei Rubliov

Cars can be rented without difficulty in many locations. It's worth paying a little more than the absolute minimum to use one of the international franchises (e.g. Avis, Budget and Hertz) to minimize the risk of hassles and to ensure any included insurance is actually worth something. There are also the national companies as well as local reputable car rental companies, which are often a little cheaper.

Traffic in Chiang Mai by Manop

More reputable agencies require that valid licences be produced. Foreign visitors who do not have a Thai driving licence must carry a valid International Driving Permit. Even if you manage to rent a car without an IDP, not having one will invalidate the insurance and count against you in the event of an accident.

Evening traffic in Phuket by Theslash

A common rental scam involves the owner taking a deposit and then later refusing to refund it in full on the basis that the customer is responsible for previous damage - the Tourist Police (dial 1155) may be able to help. Another common scam involves the owner having someone follow the rented vehicle and later "steal" it, using a set of spare keys. Always report thefts - a "stolen" vehicle may mysteriously turn up as soon as the police become involved. 

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