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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

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Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy

02

Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license

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Do I need international driving permit in Thailand?

Yes, you need an international driving permit (IDP) in Thailand to drive legally as a tourist, especially if your license is not in English or Thai. Sometimes, licenses in English are accepted without translation necessary.

An international driving permit is highly important, especially at checkpoints and when authorities stop you on the road. Your IDP is also required by car rental companies if you’re planning to rent a car in Thailand. Your IDP is not valid without your driver’s licence so make sure you always bring both documents when driving.

How do I get an international driving permit in Thailand?

Foreign drivers don’t need to get a Thai driver’s license to drive legally in Thailand. However, you need to have an IDP and your national license. You can get an international driving permit from an issuing agency, typically the Department of Land Transport (DLT) office, from your home country or from third-party issuing entities like the International Drivers Association. You don’t need to take a driving test to get an international driving licence/permit.

What are the requirements for international driving permit in Thailand?

To get an IDP in Thailand, you need to submit an accomplished application form, upload your passport size photos, a digital copy of your driver’s licence, and proof of payment. Driver’s licenses from Australia, the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Brazil, and New Zealand are valid in Thailand because they are in agreement with Thailand under the Vienna Convention.

How to renew international driving permit?

To renew your IDP from the International Drivers Association, you only need to follow the same steps you took when applying for an IDP. You don’t need to go to a transport office to renew it; all you need is to fill out the application form online, submit the requirements, and pay the fee.

Top Destinations in Thailand

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Thailand is a nation that can make you flash a bright smile. It is famously known as the “Land of Smiles” and Southeast Asia’s prestigious royals. Majestic palaces, off-beaten gems, and glamorous landscapes are what mostly surround the country. Wondering those fascinating jewels will be fabulous if you choose to drive a rental car. 

Railay Beach

Railay Beach is a stunning paradise in the country’s province and a charming home of trendy beaches. Krabi is quite known for having endless pristine water spots. Many travelers have been going ahead to see the marvelous crystalline water of the site. The Railay Beach features alluring white sand, aquamarine beach, and the addicting ambiance of heaven.

Tourists should target their visit to Railay Beach from November to March. The weather during those months is delicate. It will be the perfect timing to lounge over the alluring waters of the beach. Going on other months can get you to soak under the scorching temperature. Chances of rain are higher, so high tides are possible to happen.

Engaging Outdoor Sports to Do

After rewarding treatment to the irresistible waters, going for a recreational sport is also a great addition to enjoy the trip. Rock climbing is a popular Railay activity as the enticing limestone cliffs call the hardcore climbers to take a strenuous hike. Faint-hearted explorers should avoid attempting to do arduous adventures.

The Grand Palace

As Bangkok conceals with elegant jewels, a tour inside the Grand Palace will bring an elegant and luxurious vibe to the explorers. The glamorous site highlights the impressive royal halls, sacred temples, intriguing relics, and the mesmerizing Wat Phra Kaeo. It is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which locals believe has a piece of hair or bone from the Buddha.

To avoid the surge of crowds and large groups, consider setting the alarm in the early morning. Try to schedule the visit on weekdays as it is the off-peak times of Grand Palace. Going around mid-April and Holiday seasons will have a higher chance of getting stuck in a long queue upon entry. Better come ahead of time and be early as you can.

Sunday Walking Street

Sunday Walking Street is a savory place for food buffs. Explorers can taste the iconic trademark of Thailand when it comes to affordable and delicious dishes. Visitors can see varieties of foods in this area. From the legendary pad Thai, Chicken Satay, Samosas, Fried Bananas, Sweet Roti, and tasty fruit smoothies, all of it are at cheaper costs. Aside from satisfying cravings, there also rows of bizarre goods and souvenirs.

The famous market caters to thousands of crowds every week. So, even if you head early, expect to see plenty of people strolling around the site. But, the noise, chaos, and hype are worth experiencing. 

Check Other Markets to Go

Travelers who fall in love with wandering the lively market, try also visiting other nearby places. In Chiang Mai, there is the Saturday Night Walking Street. Tourists can extend their shopping galore and food trip adventures on the said site. At the Chang Klan Road, there is a daily activity that explorers can check out. The Night Bazaar is an exciting event to see. To feel an intimate stroll, head over to Warorot Market near the Mae Ping River, and have fun wandering.

Sukhothai Old City

Sukhothai Old City is an ultimate hub for history fans. It is no wonder why it receives high recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Due to its authentic ruins that still exist despite the countless world battle and chaos that tests the iconic remains’ resilience, it is incredible to think that it survives the past nightmare.

Foreign nationals must consider scheduling their road trip from November to February. If heading from March to June, a hot climate will welcome the travelers. The remaining months, which are July to October, is the precipitation period of the city. 

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat is a temple that dates back to the 13th century. Its creation is to preserve the Buddha relics and artifacts in a consecrated place. It is widely known as the fascinating wats in the entire city of Sukhothai.

Kanchanaburi Bridge

Kanchanaburi Bridge is a historic gem known as “The Bridge over the River Kwai.” This legendary treasure of Thailand supposedly to be a part of the Thai-Burma Railway, but it did not have the chance. Because of World War II, over 12,000 prisoners end up dead while the bridge is under construction. When the reconstruction takes place, a horrific bomb attack devastates the bridge. That’s how it gains another name, which is “Death Railway.”

Explorers can go over the bridge whenever they want. It is best to reserve dates from November to February as the climate is cool and pleasing. Avoid peak seasons like summer in April. Scorching hot weather will embrace the visitors. 

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Around the remarkable bridge is the graveyard site of the Allied military personnel who died in a tragic war. The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is a living reminder to the world about the nightmare that happened at the site.

Erawan National Park

The Erawan National Park is a spectacular world of flora and fauna. From its enthralling caverns, trails towards the evanescent forests, tempting wildlife jewels, and the most majestic spot are the glamorous Erawan Falls. The origin of the paradise’s name is from a white elephant with a journey with the Hindu god Indra, which has a slight similarity with an elephant’s head.

Visitors may pick their preferred season to see the enchanting seven-tier falls in the Erawan National Park. But the ideal time to tour around the park is September to December. It is better to avoid the rainy period and dry season.

The Grand Palace photo

The Most Important Driving Rules

Compliance with traffic laws and regulations is an essential thing when driving in a foreign country. Do also remember that an International Driver’s License is a primary requirement of car rental agencies in Thailand.

To qualify for the special permit, a person must be at least 18 years old. For car rental, a client should be at least 21 years old. 

Native Driver’s License and International Driver’s License

An international driver in a foreign land should always hold their National Driving License and the International Driving License for Thailand. Traveling without any of those is a grave offense in the country. With an IDP, you don’t need to go through the hassle of getting a Thai driving license.

In searching on how to get an International Driver’s License for Thailand, you will see that there are exemptions for the nations under the 1949 Geneva and Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. However, nationals from those countries may have a hard time transacting at some car rental providers. So, it is better to have an International Driver’s License in Thailand. Make sure also that your contact number on your IDP is working.

Watch Out For the Speed Limit Marks

Observe the allotted speed limit sign on the road. This rule is not limited to every International driver, but it also applies to every Thai driver. In urban areas, drivers should not go beyond 60 kph. On rural roads, they must not exceed 90 kph, and on highways, a maximum speed of 120 kph is the legal limit.

Do Not Attempt to Drive Drunk

Holiday seasons are the peak period of road accidents with a common cause, driving under the influence of alcohol. Thailand has been monitoring drivers who are not afraid to hold a steering wheel despite the condition. This country’s government has vigorously enforced the legal alcohol limit for drivers, which is 0.5 grams per liter of blood. Anyone who will be fearless and go beyond the line, imprisonment is the maximum fine for it.

Once a road enforcer catches a drunk international driver of this nation or even a Thai driver within road traffic, the International driver or foreigner should not refuse or reject taking a BAC level test. 

Toddlers on Car Seats

For the families who are touring with their kiddos, they must provide the appropriate car seats. Upon reserving a vehicle, inform your provider that you need a child booster seat for your kid. Failure to do this will harm your child. It is a rule that also applies to every Thai driver to ensure the safety of children.

Seatbelts For All Passengers

Front passengers should automatically wear their seatbelts whenever the car is moving. Some vehicles have complete seatbelt features, so even the rear passengers must fasten their respective safety belts. Doing this will lessen the impact in case of road accidents.

Mobile Phones While Driving

You choose to drive by car to head over to your destination. So, the responsibilities are right on your shoulder. Complete focus and attention are vital every time you coast a vehicle. Letting it disrupted can lead you to severe injuries. Better refrain from answering calls and messages if it is not necessary to do so. However, if it is inevitable, make use of the hand-free system feature.

The Driving Side Is On The Left Lane

Most Southeast Asian countries use the left side for driving, unlike in European nations, they are using the right side to drive. Thais typically pass through on the left side. Though some citizens might have difficulties in adjusting their pace, practice will help them the most. There’s no harm when you exercise and venture new style of operating a moving vehicle.

Blowing of Horns Are Rare

Traffic jams are frustrating and rude drivers who will suddenly go ahead in front of you without a signal is a nuisance. However, although the parking lot feels on the road are evident, you will seldomly hear local drivers honk. You will only listen to them beep when they want to alert you of their presence and whenever they pass by at some sacred places.

Be Careful Around Motorbike and Bicycles

Motorbikers are also a standard transport vehicle in the country. They have a separate International Driver’s License in Thailand if they prefer a scooter to drive. Those kinds of drivers are the main surprise on the road. They will pop out from nowhere. You will eventually see them moving ahead without any alerts. So, whenever on the highway, be vigilant for motorbikers and also cyclists.

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