Driving license and insurance to ride a motorcycle in Thailand.

Motorcycles can be a fun and exciting way to travel around the Kingdom of Thailand independently, but remember road accidents are common. Lack of legal driving permit and insurance can turn your holiday into a nightmare. In this article, we will focus on how to ride a motorcycle in the legal and responsible way. In other words it is about having a valid driving license and insurance to ride a motorcycle in Thailand

To rent a scooter or motorcycle in Thailand, all you have to do is leave a cash deposit and/or photocopy your passport in the rental office. Scooter hire outfits are not required by law to have proof of hirers meeting the legal license requirements before hiring a motorbike or car. Remember it is the hirer’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the legal driving permit requirements, not the hiring company. Nevertheless, very scooter hirer who acts legally and responsibly should take every opportunity to emphasize the legal requirements and the potential consequences of not adhering to them. To hire and ride a motorcycle both legally and safely is simple common sense and care for others. Lack of valid driving license and insurance to ride a motorcycle in Thailand can have serious consequences in case of an accident with property damage or personal injury to any party. A ticket received during random police control is the smallest problem.

Driving permit for non-residents

The proper license to ride a motor vehicle in Thailand as a tourist is a topic often discussed in many forums. According to the opinion of the majority, an important document authorizing to ride in Thailand is the International Driving Permit (IDP) and a valid driving license for a certain type of vehicle issued in the country of origin. There are also statements, that IDP is not required if you are a tourist or visitor in Thailand as long as your license is in English, has a photo, and your country is a contracting state of the UN Traffic Act of 1949 treaty. This statement is in line with the UN Traffic Act of 1949 and the Thai Traffic Act of 1979.

However, due to the occurrence of different statements on the forums and in articles it is worth to doublecheck and consult this in your own country’s Royal Thai Consulates or Embassies or Motoring Associations before you leave your home country.

The maximum period that you can drive a hire car or bike legally on an IDP is 60 days on a Tourist Visa, 90 days on a Non-Immigrant visa. In the case of a longer stay, it is worth obtaining a Thai driving license. If you are a resident, you require a Thai driver’s license. Thai driving license is cheap and easy to obtain. Information on how to obtain it can be found in a separate article.


Concern about will not compromise any insurance arrangements either with the hire company or their travel insurance company is a second topic that is often raised. The best way to dispel doubts is to check whether our travel insurance covers the costs of hospitalization and treatment in case of a traffic accident. Many standard travel insurance policy providers restrict the size of motorcycles which can be hired or ridden to less than 200cc. Check your own policy closely before hiring large motorcycles which exceed 200cc. There are many companies offering travel insurance to ride a motorcycle in Thailand. For instance, Travelex, World Nomads, Travel Safe, Travel Guard or Roam Right. The terms of insurance can be compared using one of the comparison websites, such as travelinsurance.com, insuremytrip.com, squaremounth.com. In addition, the motorbike we rent should be insured, have the annual tax paid and have license plates. We should check this before signing a motorcycle or scooter rental contract and driving away from the rental office. Most Thai rental outfits include motorcycle Insurance in the rental. If they don’t look elsewhere!

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