Riding or renting a motorbike in Thailand by jackie

We posted this in our Transportation Page on Thailand but with the rainy season and the added danger of wet roads thought we would post again


Travel Insurance



The only documents a motorcycle rental company will uniformly insist on is CASH MONEY. To be legal 

  • A national motorcycle drivers licence issued in your home country, valid for a motorcycle AND,
  • An International Driving Permit.

They will have little, or no interest in licenses, international driving permits, or your current level of intoxication.

Some good tips taken from Trip Advisor

  • You must carry your National Licence, in case of an accident, or interaction with the Thai Police.
  • You can not drive intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
  • Helmets are mandatory. You must wear one, and so must a pillion passenger.
  • Helmets are usually provided as part of the rental, if so, make sure it fits properly or ask for another.
  • Failure to wear a helmet will bring you to the attention of Police – you will be fined at best.
  • Wear protective footwear and clothing to give you some protection should the worst happen.
  • The motorcycle MUST have a tax sticker, registration plates, vehicle registration book, and third party insurance.
  • Motorcycle hire services are available almost everywhere, with rates starting at about 150฿ per day.
  • A cash security deposit of around 1000฿ (ensure you get a receipt) is often required.
  • Only use reputable hire companies, and check that they are licenced to hire bikes to tourists.
  • Before accepting your rental, do an extensive walk-around visual inspection of the vehicle.
  • Note ALL defects or pre-existing damage with the vendor, BEFORE you accept the contract, and leave the premises.
  • Take photos from all angles of the rental before you leave, to protect yourself should there be any dispute about damage later on.
  • It is NOT ADVISABLE to surrender your PASSPORT to the rental agency as rental return security.
  • Have a passport photocopy on hand instead, to satisfy the hire company.
  • If a hire company insists on having your original passport, hire from someone Obey all Thai traffic rules and signs, remain vigilant and always drive defensively.
    • Driving at night is considered to be particularly dangerous.
    • Motorcycles in Thailand are routinely operated by children as young as 12, so you must remain vigilant and always drive defensively.
    • If you don’t ride a motorcycle in your own country, Thailand is NOT the place to learn.
    • Vendors will happily hire you a motorcycle whether you have the appropriate permit and licence or not.
    • Rarely will the bike you have hired be covered for damage, you are usually liable for all damage and more than likely to other vehicles involved, although some personal injury insurance to the other party is mandatory in the annual tax paid by the hire company for each bike.  It is worth repeating that if you are involved in an accident, with property damage or personal injury to any party, be aware that if the Thai Police and/or Insurance Company discover that licencing and permit documents are not in order, you may feel the full force of the law, and may have any insurance cover invalidated (if there is any). You may also be required by the Thai authorities, to post a LARGE cash bail amount to cover any liability you may incur.  If the other party was at fault but does not have insurance, you are still liable for the repair costs to the hired machine.



6 Comments on “Riding or renting a motorbike in Thailand by jackie

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  4. Thanks Nilla for clarifying and informing us. You are correct about they require to see your passport and I would also add again do not use a company that want to keep your original passport, copy yes, original no! We suggest you contact your travel insurance company about motorbike size and if they cover medical and evacuation if the bike is over 250cc and YES ALWAYS READ the fine print. jackie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Useful blog, thanks! One thing you didn’t mention and to keep in mind is that most travel insurances don’t cover bikes under 250CC; check the fine print; you have to pay extra for a bigger bike.
    I have a friend that was out of pocket to the tune of over AUD$15,000 after an accident, operation, and hospital bills in Thailand, then had to return to Australia when he was able to fly, to have his Thai operations re-operated.

    Having spent over 10 months in SE Asia last year of which 3 months were spent in Thailand, I know that most bikes are under the 250CC; but also know that many companies will not hire unless you provide your original passport. For example, in Mae Sot, we went without the bike hire as we couldn’t find a company that would accept a passport copy and I refused to hand over my passport!

    Liked by 1 person

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