Rent and drive a motorbike in Thailand
The motorbike is a popular means of transportation in Thailand. Renting one is quite easy, even if you don't have a driver's license, nevertheless, think twice before you do that. Thailand is a pretty safe place if you think about what you are doing, but there's one thing that most likely will get you into some kind of trouble, - a rented motorbike.
The motorbike is a means of transportation used by lots of families in thailand, particular outside of Bangkok. It is often used to transport the whole family on a single trip, and it is quite common to see 3 or more persons on a motorbike. I have see 6 persons on a motorbike; the mom, dad and 4 kids, and i don't even think that would be a record.
When you see how the motorbikes are used by the people of Thailand, be it for personal use or mass transportation, you would properly also want yo drive one. It is practical, easy to get around on, and it is a lot easier to find a parking lot than when driving a car.
But again... You might want to think twice.
Even if you have many hours of experience in driving a motorbike in your home country, you cannot use that experience so much in Thailand. Because, back in your own country most people follow the rules and usually run considerably on normal speed, but you can't say the same for Thai bikers.
In Thailand they drive on the left lane, but you will often see the motorbikes use the right lane, because it will bring them to their destnation faster.
The use of turn signals in abused as, the light is either not used at all, or is flashed all the time. And if you see a driver reach out his or her hand, it's not necessarily because he or she is turning around, but because she's pointing to show her passengers where there's a good sale. Also, you can't expect a vehicle on the narrow side road to hold back for traffic on the bigger road where you are driving.
Red light does not apply "of course" for motorbikes - or for cars all the time. In short, the Thai's are notorious for not taking traffic rules seriously.
That said; is bad enough, but it is even worse at the tourist spots because there you will meet frolicsome - and often slightly distorted - motorbike-loving tourists who think they are invulnerable because they are on holidays. They could be more dangerous than the Thai's.
All in all, the risk of an accident is significantly high when driving a motorbike in Thailand than when you ride a motorcycle in your home country. If you have little or no experience with two-wheeled motorized vehicles, stay totally out of it in Thailand.
Rent and insurance
Most Thai rental shops do not care if you have a valid driving license. But that can’t be said for the insurance. If you rent a motorbike without having a valid motorcycle card and end up having an accident, the insurance will not cover for the damages! It can be expensive if you drive into the side of a new Mercedes or if you cause an injury. The accident does not even have to be your fault, but it will cost you a lot of money.
Also, your driving license from your home country isn’t valid for driving in Thailand, as you will need an international driving license.
If you happen to stay in Thailand for an extended period, getting a Thai driver's license is payable. The price is quite low, and it can be gotten in few hours. The latter explains why Thailand is not just known for high road safety.
A Thai driving license cannot be used only when driving; it can also be used to save money. It is not unusual for foreigners to pay more than the Thais, not only in the tourist markets. Even the publicly owned place of attractions, such as nature parks, may have a different range of prices for foreigners and Thais. With a Thai driver's license, you are guaranteed to spend less.
I hope I haven’t discouraged you from renting a motorbike, and you actually have a valid driving license as well as the international driving license. Please note that some travel insurance either do not cover or cover only Up to a certain engine size.
Before heading of for Thailand, you might find it interesting to read this: Things NOT to do in Thailand
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