One of the most exhilarating things about coming to Thailand is the opportunity to rent and ride a motorbike. Not only it is incredibly affordable, costing as low as 150 baht ($5 USD) a day, but it’s also an excellent way to independently explore town. Here’s everything you need to know about how to rent a motorbike in Thailand.
The variety of motorbikes available for rent in Thailand is fantastic. We’ve seen everything from goofy scooters, comfortable cruisers, to powerful motorcycles. And what’s great is that they are inexpensive and incredibly easy to rent.
Although we own our own motorbike in Chiang Mai, we’ve had a several experiences renting a motorbike throughout our Thailand travels. Our first time renting a motorbike was when we first visited Chiang Mai on our honeymoon over two years ago. Since then we’ve also rented one in Hua Hin, Koh Chang, and even on our recent road trip in Laos.
- 1 What to Bring to Rent a Motorbike in Thailand
- 2 What to Expect from Motorbike Rental Shops
- 3 What to Expect from Really Good Motorbike Rental Shops
- 4 Before Zooming Off
- 5 Motorcycle Rental Insurance
- 6 Do I have to surrender my passport to rent a motorbike?
- 7 Motorcycle Safety
- 8 That’s It! Now You’re On Your Way to Exploring Thailand
What to Bring to Rent a Motorbike in Thailand
- Contact information, such as your Thai telephone number or address, or your hotel
- Cash. Budget roughly 150 to 450 baht ($5 to $15 USD) per day, depending on your motorbike preference. Credit cards are rarely accepted.
- At least a little motorbike riding experience
Most motorcycle companies don’t ask to see proof of a driver’s license, and some don’t even ask if you’ve ever ridden a motorbike before. As long as you can drive away from their shop without toppling over or crashing into something or someone, you’re as free as a bird.
Keep in mind, though, that you are driving at your own risk (and others on the road) if you don’t have much experience!
What to Expect from Motorbike Rental Shops
- Rentals are in 24 hour increments for daily use
- Discounted rates are given for weekly and monthly rentals. You can expect to pay about 1,000 and 3,000 baht, respectively.
- Basic helmets are provided (most often they are visorless and not full-faced)
Sometimes the longest part of the process is picking out which bike you want!
Once you’ve chosen a motorbike, all it takes is a few minutes to fill out a contract with your name, passport number, and address of where you are staying in Thailand. The shop will take note of the return date and how much you paid up front.
Then you’re handed the keys, a helmet, and are ready to go.
What to Expect from Really Good Motorbike Rental Shops
In addition to the above list, excellent motorbike rental shops will also provide:
- Motorbike Insurance: We don’t recommend driving around without it! Although some repairs can be cheap, serious damage may not be within your budget.
- Health Insurance: Health insurance should cover both the driver and passenger(s).
- Copy of Passport: In lieu of handing over your passport, some places will only ask for a passport photocopy and/or a cash deposit.
Before Zooming Off
- Inspect the motorbike before getting on. It is wise to take pictures of or take note on the original contract of any existing dings, scratches, or broken bits. This is especially important for newer motorbikes.
- Hold on to a copy of the contract so you know exactly where the rental shop is and when the drop-off date and time are.
- Ask were the nearest gas station is and immediately fill up on either gasohol 91 or 95 (just ask the rental company) for about 30 baht ($1 USD) per liter.
TIP: There is no need to return the motorbike with a full tank of gas.
Motorcycle Rental Insurance
We highly recommend renting from a company that offers insurance. Look for motorcycle insurance that covers loss or damage and accident insurance if the driver or passenger gets hurt. We do not recommend driving a motorbike without insurance. Ask for this upfront, and if the motorbike rental company does not have it, politely decline and look for another one.
Do I have to surrender my passport to rent a motorbike?
It you want to rent a motorbike in Thailand, some rental companies ask for your passport while others don’t. We’ve noticed that shops located along the main touristy roads seem adamant about handing over your passport. It seems as though the smaller businesses on the less traveled side streets are more accepting to a passport photocopy or a cash deposit instead.
NOTE: Be aware that no matter what happens, your passport cannot be withheld from you. Some rental shops ask for it as leverage if there is damage to the motorbike, or worse, the motorbike is lost or stolen. However, a motorbike rental shop cannot legally withhold your passport.
Thailand has some pretty staggering motorcycle injury statistics. To prevent yourself from becoming one of those statistics, keep in mind some safe driving practices. But for the bare minimum,
- Wear your helmet! The majority of motorcycle deaths can be prevented if drivers and passengers wore helmets.
- Cover up! Wear more than just a sleeveless Chang beer t-shirt, cargo shorts, and flip-flops. This does not save you from disfiguring road rash.
- Take a songthaew or tuk-tuk if you’ve been drinking. Don’t risk wobbling down the road and crashing into something.
That’s It! Now You’re On Your Way to Exploring Thailand
Did you think it would be that cheap and easy to rent a motorbike in Thailand? It’s good news that it’s much more laid back, quicker, and definitely cheaper than renting a vehicle back home.