Thailand motorbike rental – rules and tips!

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Thailand motorbike rental is a very popular service for tourists who come for a standard two-week holiday to the Land of Smiles, as well as those who spend a long time in the resorts of the country, for example, throughout the winter. Finding out the offices that rent motorbikes in Thailand is not a difficult task. At the same time, the cost of renting this two-wheeled transport in most cases is many times less than the costs that would be required when using local public transport and taxis. On this page you will find information on the cost of renting motorbikes in Thailand, the procedure for concluding a contract and other useful tips regarding the rental of motobike in Thailand.

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Thailand motorbike rental – features and prices

In a number of articles from the section “Transport in Thailand” at specific resorts, I already wrote that it is rather expensive to move around cities and islands even on public transport, especially after dusk, which occurs in Thailand soon after six o’clock in the evening. And this is in view of the fact that the movement is carried out on standard routes. If you want to slightly correct the traffic route, public transport will automatically turn into a taxi with very high rates. Therefore renting a motorbike in Thailand is a great way to save on transport and feel a greater degree of freedom.

Thailand motorcycle rental means renting is not classic in the view of many sports motorcycle, but a vehicle that is a cross between a small motorcycle and a scooter. In contrast to the classic scooters in Europe with engines up to 50 cc in size, motorbikes in Thailand have much more powerful engines (usually from 110 to 250 cc), which is due to the presence in many places of the country of mountain serpentines with long lifts and the need transportation of several passengers on one motorbike. In addition, Thai motorbikes are equipped with wheels with a larger diameter.

Appearance and way of landing on most motorbikes corresponds to the classic scooter: fully manual control, automatic gearbox and landing like a “stool” (the driver’s legs are located not on the sides of the bike, but on the ground in front of the seat). Of course, classic sportbikes with 400 cc or more engines are also available in Thailand in a good assortment, but this article is very firstly written for those tourists who have a modest experience of driving a bike or do not have such experience in the past. In such cases, it is better to choose motorbike models with a fully automatic gearbox and pay more attention to the road situation itself. Although if you are confident in your abilities, you can find in Thailand and models of motobikes with semi-automatic transmission (by the way, renting such motorbikes costs a little less).

However, I’m a little distracted from the direct Thailand motorcycle rental and the distinctive features of this process in the resorts. The sign “Motorbike for rent” can be found, probably, in any city of Thailand, and in the popular tourist centers, which include the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Chang, Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi, etc. such signs are found practically at every step. As a rule, in the immediate vicinity of this sign are parked the bikes themselves, which are leased, and there is a price list on which the cost of renting a motorbike is written depending on the volume of its engine or the brand of motorcycles. Sometimes the inscription is shortened to “For rent”, and sometimes it’s just a series of similar motorbikes, next to which in the shadow is a rental employee.

Motorbikes store – do not confuse with rental office!

Just do not mix it with the store for the sale of new motobikes, there are also a lot of them (see the photo above). It must be remembered that the price is indicated for the 24 hours, so if you want to rent a motorbike for a longer period, you can and should bargain. Under a longer period, I mean at least a week, because when renting for a few days usually do not want to bargain and the possible discount will be quite small. Another thing when it comes to renting a motorbike for a month. The average cost of renting a normal motorbike, for example, Honda Click, is 150 -200 baht per day. However, when renting the same motorbike for a week or a month, the amount will be approximately 1000 baht and 3000 baht respectively. Agree, the benefits are obvious!

How to choose a motorbike for rent in Thailand

Since the cost of Thailand motorcycle rental is approximately the same in most rental offices (150-250 baht per day), it makes sense to choose the rental location for the following parameters: the lease terms and technical condition of the motorbikes themselves. Personally, I always started with a survey of vehicles in the parking lot, and found out the terms of the lease only in the case when there were motorbikes in good condition. One of the most important parameters, which everyone is advised to pay attention to, is the motobike run. It is desirable that it was as small as possible, especially if you are planning a long-term lease. Speaking of figures, it is less than 20 thousand kilometers, and if possible – it is better to choose models with a range of up to 10 thousand kilometers. In general, modern models of Japanese motobikes (in Thailand you will most likely drive to Honda or Yamaha) can serve much longer, but you should understand that motobikes from hire are often operated by people with no corresponding experience, so by 25-30 thousand kilometers of mileage, ethor already very “tired” model.

If you do not have the experience of riding a motorbike in Thailand, I also do not advise you to hire completely new vehicles with a minimum mileage (up to 3-5 thousand kilometers). This is due to the fact that even with minor damages (for example, scratches on the plastic case when falling), you will have to pay very high for repairs. Therefore, choose motobikes in good condition and average mileage. This is really worthwhile advice, and the number of enough “fresh” motorbikes in the rental offices allows him to follow. The truth is increasingly common motorbikes with an electronic scoreboard on the panel, where the mileage can be seen only by inserting the ignition key. The second parameter is the external state of the bike. It is advisable to choose without strong visible damage, indicating that motobike has been in serious trouble. The presence of small scratches is not critical, but all of them must be fixed in the lease.

Typical rental office for motorbikes in Thailand

The third important aspect is the terms of the lease: the need to leave a passport or cash deposit as security. Preferably, of course, the second option. Moreover, I advise in no case to leave the original passport at the box office, because it is fraught with serious problems even with minor damage to the motorbike rented. There is a big risk that by keeping your passport in bail, the owner of the bike will show unreasonable and obviously overstated claims for repairs, reaching up to 20,000 or even 30,000 Thai baht. And to return your passport and fly home you will have to fork out! Therefore, only a photocopy of the passport and a cash deposit, which is not more than a few thousand baht (usually this amount (3000-5000 THB) is more than enough for repairs).

Perhaps, this item should be put even in the first place, i.e. you should not waste time inspecting the motobike, and immediately ask: is it necessary to have a passport or will it be enough to leave a sane deposit and if you can not do without a passport, you can simply pass by. Unfortunately, at the present time (2018) ever less rental offices agree to provide motorbike for rent without a pledge of the original passport. Especially in this regard, the unfavorable situation in Phuket. In December 2017, I visited more than 20 rental offices, but none agreed to a copy of the passport and cash deposit. In this situation, you can use the rental of motobikes in Thailand online, where most offices agree only on a cash deposit, without the original passport. Just remember that the online booking of motobike is only possible 2-3 days before the start of the lease.

The process of renting motorbike in Thailand

If you are satisfied with the terms of the lease, and motorbikes themselves are “fresh” and not “killed” externally, you can proceed with the formalization of the lease. But first we must conduct, so to speak, drive trials, i.e. to conduct a small test. To do this, you can leave your passport and make a small circle, passing through a nearby street. First of all, you need to make sure that the motorbike does not not go to the side when you hold the steering wheel straight, and also the fact that the brakes are working properly. I do not even know if it’s worth to conduct a test with a complete lack of riding skills – decide for yourself. Personally, I did not do the test for the first time (and next travels also) but every time before drive to the street with big traffic, I prefere spend some time to littlr bit study in a quiet street or yard near the rental office.

Yamaha and Honda – the main motorbikes for rent in Thailand

If there are no obvious shortcomings during the inspection, you can proceed with the formalization of the lease agreement. Do not sign it, if it is completely in Thai, which you probably do not know. There should be either a fully English version or a version where the fields are signed in two languages. In the last couple of years in tourist places you can find rentals of motobikes, which belong to expats. As a rule, the rent in them is slightly higher, but in the contract there may even be a your native language. Also, when renting, you can contact the your language-speaking intermediaries, which are easy to find on the Internet and which, for a fee, will help you sort out the rent.

In the process of renting motobike in Thailand, it is necessary to photograph all external damages (or even better – shoot everything on video). Of course, the pictures or video should be in high resolution, so that all the scratches and cracks on the plastic are clearly visible. If you are shooting on video, try to see in the same video file the employee of hire who gave out to you motobike was visible. And all the scratches and cracks on the plastic is better not just to comment, but also to point the finger of a free hand. In general, I talked with people living in Thailand for a long time, and many of them stated that in reality it is not so easy to prove something with the help of pictures and video. I think this is more necessary in order to show the employee of the hire that you are not quite a idiot whom he will later be able to “throw for money.” By the way, I already wrote about this in the article “The main ways of fraud in Thailand.”

Only the marks on the state of transport made in the lease agreement have legal effect, therefore it is better to write in the special column the noticed shortcomings of the leased transport. If the rental employee does not know English well, you can use a regular electronic translator Google Translate. In the latter case, try to avoid long and complex phrases, because translators are not perfect and the meaning of phrases can have a double or completely opposite meaning. Just write “crack on the headlight,” “incision on the seat,” “scratch on the right mirror,” “dent on the muffler,” etc. In some rentals there are printed images of a motorbike, on which damage can be indicated schematically by a handle, which is very convenient. Having filled and signed all documents, it is possible to make payment and, using the helmet given out in hire, start driving of motorbike.

Motorbikes for rent in Thailand – better to choose with automatic transmission

Some tourists carefully choose rental motorbikes in Thailand, make out a lease, and after they receive the keysб they just stay near rented motorbike and just look at it, because they do not know how to handle this transport. In order not to get into this unpleasant situation, it is necessary to memorize a few fairly elementary rules and repeat them on the eve of the first trip, so as not to forget anything. In order not to overload this already long article with information, a short theoretical course with photographs is described in a separate article on the site: “Motorbike riding in Thailand: how to quickly learn to drive.”

Documents for rent motobike in Thailand

As I already wrote, usually in the process of registration only your passport is required, a copy of which will have to be left in the rental office. It often happens that way, that the search for rental offices without mandatory pledge of the original passport did not bring any result. If your country has in addition to a foreign passport a national passport, you can try to leave it at the rental company. In case of damage to the motorbike and extortion of an unreasonably high amount for repairs with such a passport, you can simply part, easily recovering it after returning to your country. But if in your country there is no division into a national and a foreign passport, this option is not suitable.

What is striking, some rental offices, for example, on Koh Samui, may be asked to leave as a deposit directly the driver’s license. The driver’s experience and driver’s license with the presence of the appropriate category “A” in them is usually not checked by anyone, but it is implied that you have such a license, i.e. rental ofice does not bear any responsibility for the fact that you rent a motobike without a driver’s license and driving experience. Agree, a very convenient scheme for everyone. Otherwise, customers in the rental offices would be many times less, and the traffic police could not receive fines for driving motobike without a driver’s license. But still the ideal option – when you really have the international driver licence for motorcycle or Thai driving license.

In the article “Road traffic in Thailand” I wrote that the country signed the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and undertakes to recognize the driver’s license not only of the international standard, but also of the old national one. However, in practice it is difficult to prove this fact to the Thai road police and they demand to show only Thai or international drive licence (by the way, you can get it even with a tourist visa), so you have to pay a fine of 500 baht. Earlier you could save your time and just give the traffic police officer a bribe (a similar amount). But now rules is much stricter, and road policemen use in their work special action cameras, which are attached to them on a helmet. Therefore, the fine must be paid at the police station, which you will have to travel by foot or by taxi (the keys to the motobike are taken by the police until you show the receipt for payment of the fine).

The same must be done in a situation where there is no driver’s license at all, or when you drive a motorbike without a helmet. When you renting a motorbike in Thailand on the islands of Koh Chang or KohSamui, the risk that you will be stopped by police on the road is small, but in Pattaya and especially on the island of Phuket everything is much more difficult: foreigners often stop and check not only documents but also the condition (alcoholic intoxication). On the roads of the island of Phuket, mass checks of farang documents are carried out at all, and even search of things for the presence of narcotic drugs (often when you leave the beach of Phuket Island Patong in the direction of Karon Beach).

What to do if you damaged motorbike for rent

Situations in which foreigners become guilty and just participants in large and minor accidents with damage to the motorbike are not uncommon. Since this article is about renting a motorbike in Thailand, I will not write about the consequences that arise as a result of an accident involving other vehicles and citizens of Thailand, since I am not very competent in this matter and only know that such incidents should be avoided and be very careful on the road. As for the damage of the motorbike for rent, in this situation there are two main options: to tell all situation to owner of the motorbike or try to repair it yourself (in a third-party service).

On the one hand, the first option is more correct and honest: you confess in your error and accept the amount of compensation for repairs. By the way, this behavior is usually indicated in the lease agreement. But there is one big disadvantage: often owners of a rental motobike, especially if the original passport is left as a deposit, can begin a natural extortion, demanding for not too complicated repairs an amount that is almost equal to the cost of a new motorbike. Therefore, experienced travelers to Thailand and those foreigners who live there for a long time, are advised to contact a third-party service, where the cost of repairs will be several times lower.

The fall on motorbike – the main way to damage a rented motorbike in Thailand

Most often, as a result of minor accidents, which include falling bike (when the driver failed to control), plastic parts of the motorbike body, mirrors, lighting equipment suffer. In reality, all these details stand even on the official service a little, and in many cases it is easy to pick up even the right color of the part being replaced. paintwork is not needed. By the way,that’s why it’s better to choose those motobikes that have standard colors, without complicated unique drawings, during the rental of motobike in Thailand. Service centers and repair shops in Thai cities are many, so it is not difficult to find them (you can ask local residents or mototaxists). Even on small islands like Ko Chang there are Honda and Yamaha service centers.

Due to the fact that many rental companies stick stickers on their motorbikes with their logo and phones, there is a certain probability that the car repair worker will call the specified number and inform the motorbike owner about your visit. But the probability of this is small, and the sticker, if it is glued to the part being replaced, can be gently peeled off with an industrial hair dryer and re-glued to a new part. As a result, such repairs will rarely cost more than 3000 – 7000 baht, while at the rental office they can demand from 15,000 to 25,000 baht. The difference in money is palpable, but you will not worsen your karma, because the bike will be restored no worse than what the owner would have done on a similar service. For more information on the cost of repairing motorbike (prices for plastic parts and tires), please visit page Motorbike rental in Phuket – prices and secrets!

Useful tips for renting a motorbike in Thailand

Not to frighten you, but for warning, I remind you that the traffic in Thailand is quite intense, while a considerable number of foreigners per year die on the roads of the country (only about 300 per year in Phuket). In order to understand how serious everything is, writer into Google search the phrase “Crash motorbike in Thailand” and see the photo. Only immediately I warn – the spectacle is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s sobering and it makes me think about my safety. Following some simple tips often neglected by tourists will save you not only from unnecessary expenses, but also help to save your life and your health when renting a motorbike in Thailand.

★ Be cautious and do not ride during alcohol or narcotic intoxication. Not because of fear of the police and fine, but because of fear of parting with their own lives and health.

★ Be sure to use helmets. These head protection products are provided at the rental office for free for the driver of a motorbike and a passenger if you are going to ride together.

★ If you disdain to use the helmet after many other tourists and take a motorbike not for a couple of days, you can buy an inexpensive new one, and after use sell it to one of the rental offices for half the cost.

★ If you buy a helmet – choose a model with a visor (can be removable) that will protect the eyes from possible insects from driving at night and pebbles that can fly out from under the wheels of moving ahead in the course of traffic.

★ Do not race on a bike in Thailand, even if you feel confident that you have acquired the skills to manage this transport. Remember about safe speed limit!

★ In the early days try not to drive faster than 40 km / h. And spit on what other participants in the movement will think about you: life and health are more expensive.

★ When renting a motorbike for a long time, you need to drive it once a month to the rental office, where you have to change the oil in the engine and thoroughly wash the bike. It is must be free for you!

★ Use the fuel type that is recommended for your motorbike model.

★ Before you go to Thailand, you must buy insurance for active recreation

★ Record the registration number of the bike so that it can be easier to find it in the parking lot. Believe me, there will be a lot of similar motorbikes, so sometimes tourists simply can not find their motorbike in a big parking lot and they tell the police that their motorbike was kidnapped.

★ Attentively cross the intersections and do not forget that the movement in Thailand is left-sided.

★ Do not leave the motorbike in the wrong places, from where it can be taken to the parking lot (at bus stops, pedestrian crossings, in the places that prohibit parking signs). The main sign that parking is prohibited is red and white curbs along the road.

In any situation, keep a sober head and do not panic. Then Thailand motorbike rental will not cause a headache, but a great way to qualitatively diversify your vacation, feel real freedom of movement and get a lot of new positive impressions. And remember that if you are not sure of yourself and are afraid to ride a motorbike, you always have an alternative in the form of a car for rent in Thailand. Good luck on the roads and have a good rest!

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