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Driving in Thailand

Before you pick up your car hire in Thailand, it is worth noting some of the rules and regulations about driving in Thailand.

Driving license requirements in Thailand:

Visitors may drive using their national license, provided it is in a language that uses the Roman alphabet but it is officially recommended that you obtain an International Drivers Licence (available through motoring organisations such as AA, AAA, RAC, etc.)

The authorities require that you carry your drivers license with you at all times.

Age requirements for driving in Thailand:

Car hire companies in Thailand employ age restrictions, which can vary across companies. Please check your quotation for exact restrictions, as there may be an extra fee for drivers below the minimum age or over the maximum age. 

Speed Limits on Thailand's roads:

The maximum speed limit on expressways and country roads varies from 90 to 120 km/h while the speed limit in towns and cities is 60 km/h.

Be aware that Thai police carry out regular speed checks so remain within the limits at all times.

Tips for driving your hire car in Thailand:

  • Drive on the left. On some Interstates and Freeways it may be permissible to overtake slow moving traffic on the left.
  • Be aware of what's happening around you. Adapt to local conditions.
  • Drivers in Thailand's cities can be quite aggressive (especially taxi and bus drivers!) so be prepared for defensive driving. However driving on major routes outside Bangkok and around the coastal resorts is very laid back and highly enjoyable.
  • Unlike the US and Europe, when you arrive at an intersection or junction, if a driver flashes their lights it means that they are signalling for you to stay where you are and not to cross in front of them.
  • Motorcycles are very common in cities and many are recklessly driven so be careful to try and avoid these.
  • Driving at night is not recommended as heavy truck traffic occurs during nighttime hours.
  • Road signs are in both Thai and English and symbol signs are easy to understand.
  • Most Thai drivers are polite and courteous - please respect this.
  • Do not argue with police. Be polite and be patient. .
  • Drinking and driving laws apply so we recommend you do not drink any alcohol before driving.

Fuel types available in Thailand:

  • Unleaded Petroleum (gasoline)
  • Diesel
  • Check carefully before filling whether your rental car uses petrol or diesel. If you make a mistake do not start the vehicle as severe damage may result and you will be liable for repair costs. Inform service station staff who will assist in arranging for the tank to be drained and refilled with the correct fuel
  • Gas stations are plentiful throughout Thailand and while the bigger stations will accept most international credit cards those located in more rural areas will most likely accept cash only.
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