Renting a motorcycle in Thailand is simple and cheap. Precisely for this reason, motorcycle rental in Thailand has become one of the big businesses of scammers who demand a large sum of money as a condition to return the passport, which they have kept as a deposit when renting the vehicle, arguing that the motorcycle is damaged or scratched.
It is very striking that motorcycle rental in Thailand is the subject of one of the recommendations of the website of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The following warning appears on its page: “It is common that in the tourist sites of Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Koh Panghan or Koh Tao, car rental shops, especially motorcycles, require you to leave your passport as a guarantee or deposit. It is very common that when returning the vehicle, the owners demand abusive sums to repair alleged damages, and they do not return the passport if it is not paid. It is recalled that never, under any circumstances, the passport should be delivered when renting a vehicle as a deposit or for other purposes. The Passport is property of the Spanish State and its improper use, delivery as a rental deposit, and abandonment of the same to avoid paying damages to a vehicle, are all acts that can be considered crimes and, therefore, prosecutable in Spain.”.
To drive in Thailand it is mandatory to be over 23 years old, have a driving license for at least two years, and be in possession of the International Permit. In the case of motorcycles, the rule is more lax and they do not usually check the license, nor make sure that you are in possession of the International Permit. On the contrary, they usually ask for the passport as a deposit.
Although this is not recommended and in our country it is considered a crime, many rental businesses will not accept to exchange the passport for a cash deposit; with which -especially in small places- leaving the passport will be the only option.
Motorcycles, like other vehicles, are not insured and, in most cases, your international travel insurance, if you have it, will not cover these claims – so you will have to make sure of the coverage before to travel-.
The helmet is rented together with the motorcycle and the truth is that they are usually in terrible condition. Despite the fact that nobody usually wears a helmet, it is mandatory and, if the police stop you, you will be fined for it; to a lesser extent, they will ask you for the International License, but it may always be that they request the payment of a fine for one of these two reasons; so it is better to comply with the traffic regulations.
Regarding the issue of the helmet, I would like to make an assessment. I don’t know if we are bikers or not. I prefer to say that I am a motorcyclist, because at home it is usual for us to use motorcycles – each one has their own – for our daily and daily trips. And the helmet is essential for us. Not because of avoiding paying a fine, but because the helmet is our only weapon of protection. It is very difficult to get out of a motorcycle accident unscathed, and for this reason, we tend to be more than cautious, especially when Macarena goes “package”; but the helmet is the only thing that can save our lives in the event of an accident.
And if this is so in a western country and in a place that we know; how much more essential it is to use it in another country, with a motorcycle that is not yours and driving on the left.
By the way, in Ayutthayathe Police stopped us at a routine road check, the three of us were on the motorcycle, and they let us circulate after checking that we were wearing a helmet and were in possession of the International License.
And it is that in many towns in Thailand the circulation of three people on the same motorcycle is allowed. Of the places we visited and where we rented motorcycles, this was the case in Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, chiang rai Y Koh Phangan. In sukhothai We had to rent two because the circulation of three people on the same motorcycle was not allowed – Westerners, I guess.
Regarding the prices, first of all I will say that there is a difference between the 24-hour rental and the one-day rental and that it is also possible to rent a motorcycle for half a day, and even for hours. The difference between a one-day rental and a 24-hour rental is the difference between taking the motorcycle in the morning and returning it at closing time; or pick it up at a certain time of day and return it at the same time the next day. Regarding prices, the quantity does not vary too much.
In Kanchanaburi, the rent cost us 200 Thb (5€). In Ayutthaya 200 Thb for one day rental and 250 Thb for 24 hours (€5.50). In sukhothai, the rental of one hour is 80 Thb (2€), 1 day 250 Thb and 24 hours 300 Thb (8€). In chiang raiwe pay 300 Thb for 24 hours and in Koh Phangan 200 Thb.
In sukhothaiin the motorcycle rental house that is past the bridge of New Sukhothai in direction to Old Sukhothaiwhere the bus that takes you to the Historical Park, we already told that they wanted to rip us off when returning the motorcycle. We avoided the scam because we had photographed the motorcycles when renting them. So we recommend doing the same when renting the vehicle: photograph them in detail, especially in the part that has scratches or dents; Perhaps, like us, they will save you a dislike.
Finally, I want to say that in Koh Phangan we witnessed an accident of a foreigner who, when renting the motorcycle, turned the accelerator instead of pressing the brake. He stuck a host of three pairs of noses! So do not practice driving in Asia if you do not know how to drive a motorcycle in Spain. You are on vacation, life is very beautiful and it is not worth risking it to save on another means of transport. One thing is that you have bad luck, another that you are reckless.