What do I need to know about Renting a Car in Thailand?

So you think you are ready to hit the road in Thailand? To rent a car in Thailand you certainly have to be a little bit brave, or a little bit stupid, or perhaps a smidge of both. Be prepared, make sure you look in all directions at one time as cars, trucks, motorcycles, buffalo, dogs, and elephants are likely to be travelling in your direction at various speeds regardless of the direction traffic is supposed to be flowing.

You will see up to half a dozen boys riding a single motorcycle, or sometimes an entire family including the family dog. One time I even saw a motorcycle with a sidecar and in the sidecar was a pony. Yes that’s right a pony in a sidecar. My other crazier than crazy road experience was the time I nearly rear ended an elephant in full battle dress with a mahout riding on top. They were crossing a bridge in Suphan Buri over a river. There are hazards in Thailand that you will not experience in other places.

We have put together a list of questions that many expats ask prior to renting a car in Thailand. We have tried to think of the most common questions are clients ask us about. If you have additional questions please feel free to contact us immediately at 038 364 238 or email us at info@expatcarrent.com and one of our friendly staff will get back to you ASAP.


Do I need a Thai Driver’s license to rent a car?

You may use a foreign license to rent a car if the license is in English, and if you are a tourist who has been in the Kingdom for less than 90 days. If your license is valid but not in English a certified translation to Thai or English may be used in conjunction with the license.


Is my international Driver’s license acceptable for renting a car in Thailand?

An international driver’s license may be used for renting a car in Thailand for up to one year. After one year a Thai international license is required to continue driving legally. Check your insurance policy carefully, some policies will only accept a Thai License and some put a limit of only three months. Make sure to always do your homework!


Where can I obtain a Thai Driver’s license?

A Thai driver’s license may be obtained at your provinces local Department of Transportation. For Chonburi province the office is located near Regent’s School on Highway 36.

What do I need to get my Thai driver’s license?

A complete list of documents and instructions to get your Thai license can be found in the article, Licensed to Drive in Thailand

What kind of insurance is required when renting a car in Thailand?

Insurance varies. Thai law has a very bare minimum liability requirement. Rental companies vary from company to company. Some use the minimum, while others use full first class insurance.

*Be sure to check the policy for the type of license that is acceptable and for how long. This is very important as having the wrong license will void any insurance cover

How do I know if the car I am renting is insured properly?

Any reputable rental company will provide you with your insurance coverage in writing. Most have add on insurance available ala carte. If you have questions, simply read the policy and do not let them rush you. If you can not get the policy in writing I would be hesitant to trust anything about the company. Always better to be safe than sorry.

Travel insurance is another great way to supplement rental car insurance against injuries that occur for the driver or passenger. Every person has different requirements, just make sure you read the documents.

What is the minimum age to rent a car in Thailand?

Rental car companies set different age limits to be able to rent cars in Thailand. Budget is 21, while Avis is 23. Expat Rental Car Rental will rent to anyone who is at least  21 years old.

What happens if I get into an accident while driving a rental car in Thailand?

How are the safety standards on vehicles in Thailand?

Beware of rental companies that seem unusually cheap. Remember when things seem to good to be true they usually are. Some rental companies have rentals as old as ten years old. These cars may have been fine when they were first on the road but a car that has been a rental for 10 years has had so many drivers that it is bound to have issues.

Expat Car Rental only uses late model vehicles with low mileage. Safety is one of our primary concerns. The safety standards on the vehicles we are willing to rent to our clients are all cars we would be willing to drive our own families in.

How do I report a stolen rental car in Thailand?

In the event of a car theft you should report it to the Tourist Police immediately by dialing 1155. You may dial the Tourist Police from anywhere in Thailand using 1155.

Thailand is an adventurous place to visit and sometimes it is just better to be behind the wheel of your own vehicle. Renting a car in Thailand is relatively easy, cars are available through huge international chains and smaller mom and pop style places. Always do your due diligence to ensure your trip is a safe one. Happy travels.