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International Driver's License In Thailand: Rent A Car and Drive Safely

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IDP is essential when driving abroad

driving abroad with idp

International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.

documents needed for international driving permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.

How to get your IDP


Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy


Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license


Get approved

Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

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Thailand, the "Land of Smiles" and a jewel of Southeast Asia, invites tourists with its royal heritage, stunning landscapes, and flavorful cuisine. Start a journey from Chiang Mai to Phuket by car and experience the country's beautiful beaches, towering mountains, historic temples, and vibrant nightlife at your leisure - all guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!

International Driving Permit FAQs

Do I Need an International Driving Permit in Thailand?

Before proceeding, we'd like to clarify a common misconception: no officially recognized document is known as an "International Driving License." No legitimate authority issues such a document. The correct term and recognized document for international driving is the International Driving Permit (IDP).

In Thailand, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required to drive legally as a tourist, mainly if your license is not in English or Thai. While licenses in English might be accepted without translation, it's crucial to have an IDP for navigating areas like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, or Pattaya.

The IDP is essential at checkpoints and when interacting with authorities. It's also a requirement for car rental companies throughout Thailand. Remember, your IDP is only valid alongside your national driver’s license, so always carry both when driving in Thailand.

How Can I Obtain an International Driving Permit for Thailand?

You don't need a Thai driver’s license to drive legally in Thailand. Instead, you can obtain an IDP from your home country before traveling. This can be issued by the Department of Land Transport (DLT) or third-party entities like us, the International Drivers Association. No driving test is required for the IDP.

What are the Requirements for an International Driving Permit in Thailand?

You'll need a completed application form, passport-size photos, a digital copy of your driver’s license, and proof of payment to apply for an IDP. Licenses from countries like Australia, the USA, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Brazil, and New Zealand are recognized in Thailand under the Vienna Convention.

What is the Process for Renewing an International Driving Permit?

Renewing an IDP from the International Drivers Association involves the same process as the initial application. You can complete this online without visiting a transport office. Simply fill out the application form, submit the required documents, and pay the renewal fee.

The Most Important Driving Rules

Following the driving rules in Thailand is crucial when you're in a different country. Keep in mind that an International Driver’s License is often needed to rent a car in Thailand.

Age Requirements for Driving

To obtain an International Driving Permit, you must be at least 18 years old. However, car rental companies typically require drivers to be at least 21.

Mandatory Licenses for International Drivers

It's crucial for international drivers in Thailand to always carry both their National Driving License and the International Driving License. Traveling without either of these documents is considered a serious offense in the country. Having an International Driving Permit (IDP) eliminates the need to obtain a Thai driving license.

When researching how to obtain an International Driver’s License for Thailand, you'll find exemptions for countries under the 1949 Geneva and Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. However, nationals from these countries might face challenges with certain car rental providers, so possessing an International Driver’s License in Thailand is advisable.

Additionally, ensure that the contact number on your IDP is up-to-date and functional.

Speed Limit Compliance

Adhering to posted speed limits is mandatory. In urban areas, the limit is 60 kph; on rural roads, 90 kph; and on highways, 120 kph.

Zero Tolerance for Drunk Driving

Thailand strictly enforces drunk driving laws, especially during the holiday season when road accidents peak. The legal alcohol limit is 0.5 grams per liter of blood, and exceeding this can result in imprisonment.

Child Safety in Cars

Travelers with children must use appropriate car seats. Inform your rental provider if you need a child booster seat. This regulation also applies to Thai drivers to ensure child safety.

Seatbelt Requirement

All passengers in the rear seats must wear seatbelts when the vehicle is in motion. This helps reduce injury risks in accidents.

Using Mobile Phones While Driving

Drivers must focus entirely on the road. Distractions like mobile phone use should be avoided unless a hands-free system is used.

Driving on the Left Side

Like many Southeast Asian countries, Thailand practices left-side driving. This might require adjustment for those used to right-side driving, but practice makes perfect.

Minimal Horn Usage

Despite traffic congestion and inconsiderate driving behavior, horn use is infrequent in Thailand. Horns are typically used only to signal presence or when passing sacred places.

Caution Around Motorbikes and Bicycles

Be vigilant for motorbikes and bicycles, common modes of transport in Thailand. Motorbike drivers require a separate IDP, and their unpredictable movements necessitate extra caution from car drivers.

Discover the Wonders of Thailand

Railay Beach

Railay Beach, nestled in Thailand's province of Krabi, is a pristine haven known for its crystal-clear waters and white sandy shores. Visit between November and March to enjoy the best weather, avoiding the hotter, rainier months.

For the adventurous, Railay's limestone cliffs offer exhilarating rock climbing experiences. However, those less inclined towards challenging activities might prefer to enjoy the beach's serene beauty.

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace awaits in Bangkok with its opulent royal halls, sacred temples, and the renowned Wat Phra Kaeo, housing the Emerald Buddha. To beat the crowds, visit on a weekday morning, especially outside mid-April and during the holiday season.

Sunday Walking Street

The Sunday Walking Street is a paradise for food lovers, offering an array of Thai delicacies like pad Thai, Chicken Satay, and more, along with unique souvenirs and goods. Despite the crowds, the vibrant atmosphere is a must-experience.

Chiang Mai's Saturday Night Walking Street and the daily Night Bazaar on Chang Klan Road are must-visits for tourists looking to buy souvenirs. The Warorot Market near Mae Ping River offers a more intimate shopping experience.

Sukhothai Old City

Recognized by UNESCO, Sukhothai Old City is a haven for history enthusiasts, boasting ancient ruins and a rich past. The best time to visit is from November to February, avoiding the hot and rainy seasons.

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai, dating back to the 13th century, is a revered site housing Buddha relics and artifacts.

Kanchanaburi Bridge

The historic Kanchanaburi Bridge, known as "The Bridge over the River Kwai" and "Death Railway," is a poignant World War II landmark. The cooler months from November to February are ideal for visiting.

Nearby, the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery stands as a solemn reminder of the war's toll on Allied military personnel.

Erawan National Park

Erawan National Park, famous for its diverse flora, fauna, and the magnificent Erawan Falls, is best visited between September and December, avoiding extreme weather conditions.

Get an IDP to Explore Thailand

An International Driving Permit allows you to travel across the diverse regions of Thailand, each offering a unique experience. From browsing the bustling stalls of Chatuchak Weekend Market to experiencing the underwater wonders of diving in Phuket, your journey through this Southeast Asian paradise will be unforgettable.

Enjoy the freedom of driving from cultural hotspots to natural wonders for a truly immersive experience!

Ready to check if an IDP is accepted in your destination?

Use the form and find out in seconds whether you need an international permit. Documents vary, based on the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic.

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