Thailand Driving Guide 2021

Thailand is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

Updated Apr 9, 2021·9min read
Driving Guide


Thailand is a central hub for development that rests at the heart of Southeast Asia. Its surrounding country borders are Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. It is also one of the diplomatic member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Unveiling the majestic treasures of this Buddhist nation, your unforgettable exploration of “Muang Thai,” translated as the “Land of the Smiles,” will be your newest favorite journey.

As the impressive advancement in science and technology is evident in this country, indulging in a fashionable voyage style is the most fantastic choice to make. Pulling up extra effort and time to check about the need for applying for an International Driver’s Permit in Thailand will reward you with countless perks and benefits to enjoy. Your everyday worries on the never-ending hassles will have an end through securing an exclusive permit to drive abroad.


The Kingdom of Thailand is the primary hub of Southeast Asia, specifically situated in the tropics. It highlights the mesmerizing diversity of ecosystems. From incredible hilly forested sections on the northern area, intriguing fertile rice fields, the broad plateau of the northeast, and tantalizing rugged coasts on the southern peninsula area, this nation has full of marvelous gems. The country has around 67 million inhabitants, according to its 2019 population record.

Excellent and wise decisions for comfortable traveling is a must when you craft plans for your trip. To get you on the most recommended track, driving in Thailand through a rental car is a beautiful, attractive option to pick. Hassles will no longer cross on your list. You can freely bid goodbye to queue lines, ticket booths, and terminals.

The Current Border Status, Updates, and News in Thailand

Based on the Thailand Government’s announcement, from the 9th of December 2020, all travelers, regardless of nationality, can now head to the country. However, there are newly implemented immigration procedures that a foreigner must follow. Travelers who want to get credible advice about going to this Buddhist place can first consult their local Thai consulate based on their country’s residence.

For driving guidelines abroad amid the pandemic situation, check out the International Driver’s Association’s official website. It has the latest news about the current status of travel restrictions irrespective of the outbreak of COVID-19.

Entry Requirements to Thailand

Since the borders are officially open to accommodate tourists, every national should strictly comply with the enforced legal procedures following the revised Special Tourist Visa program upon entry. Below are the mandatory requirements that a foreign visitor should possess to the immigration officer. Remember that these general guidelines are subject to change depending on the residence’s country’s restriction protocols.

  • Certificate of Entry issued by the Thai Embassy/Consulate
  • Certificate of Fit to Travel
  • Health Insurance document covering the COVID-19 treatments
  • A negative result of the PCR-Test for Sars-CoV2

Quarantine Protocols of Thailand

Travelers should process the certificate of entry issued by the local Thai Embassy or Consulate 10 days before the departure date. The medical swab test should not be later than 72 hours before the travel schedule. All travelers must shoulder the expenses upon undergoing the 14-day quarantine at the government’s facility.

General Knowledge About Thailand

When choosing a country to visit, consider including an educational itinerary concept. It is a productive way to discover the different stories of the culture and history of a nation. Flying over a specific state does not only end in sweet treats and leisure rewards. It also adds a variety of fruitful lessons to keep and eventually share with the other travelers. Getting to know your getaway spot is an essential way to be a responsible visitor outside your nation.

Thailand comprises an astonishing collection of sacred treasures, divine paradises, and epic landmarks that makes the country a modern nation to visit. To know more about this fantastic land, read further below and see its geographical location on the map, official language, exciting points about tourism, and reasons why road tripping is a hit.

The Geographical Location of Thailand

Thailand sits on the Indochina peninsula along with fellow ASEAN states, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Its territorial scope also reaches another neighboring nation, Malaysia. Observing the structure of the country, it interestingly forms into an ax shape. It is also around 15 degrees above the Earth’s line, the equator. Bangkok is the capital of this Kingdom.

The Official Language of Thailand

Thailand has only one official language, and that is Thai. However, the country itself is home to numerous foreign, dialect, and indigenous languages. There are a total of 73 languages in this nation. Fifty-one of those are indigenous. Thai is commonly known as Siamese. Locals speak their mother tongue following the Bangkok region’s dialect. But English is also widely used in the country, specifically in Bangkok.

Despite being the primary site of commercial engagements in different sectors and the central place of numerous languages, trying to blend with Thai speakers through learning the basic phrases can leave a good impression, especially to the residents living outside the capital.

The Facts About Tourism in Thailand

Annually, Thailand welcomes around 25 million visitors. Purposes of travel vary from leisure, extravagance, nature rejuvenation, and finding opportunities. With the fast-moving progress, there is no wonder why the tourism sector is top-notch. The country’s extensive investment in different infrastructures, specifically in improving the means of communication and transportation, makes it a significant advantage over other high-end states.

Prosperity in the nation’s iconic treasures like a past life, legendary marks, religious places, and environment make it a reason to prioritize this country as the next ideal getaway destination. Suppose you are thinking about how you can wander around the country’s majestic hubs. Driving in Thailand as a tourist is a bright theme to try out.

The Road Tripping Galore in Thailand

If you fantasize about a brilliant experience abroad, you should consider trying out the road trip. You can hold the entire time right on your hands. You will no longer think of joining crowds lining up for a ticket or load. You can ensure your safety and protection against any kind of harm. Thailand’s roads are engaging to drive. The unique thing about getting to hit the road in this country is that there are certain areas that public transport is rare, but private cars are a lot.

Another benefit and reasonable point of road tripping is you can smoothly pass on the random checkpoints and cross borders around Thailand. You can simply present to the authorities your travel documents upon request. Securing an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is a must.

International Driver’s Permit in Thailand

As a foreign visitor who wants to feel the comfortable excursion style, one of the main requirements is to get exclusive international permission to drive in other countries. It is a must to make things clear and legal. No one wants to end up paying huge fines and charges by not proceeding to the mandated regulations. When driving in Thailand, you need to own an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from the International Driver’s Association.

As you obtain an IDP, it does not mean that you can completely ignore your home country’s driving license. An IDP is only an official translation of your driving card in a foreign country. It will never replace your original ones. You must keep the IDP and your local license at all times.

Is A Local Driving License Valid in Thailand?

Non-Thai citizens may use their local or foreign driving license in Thailand. Their native driving license is valid in Thailand, as long as it is written in English and has a photo. However, they might get difficulties when availing of a rental car in some rental car companies. It is best if a foreign national holds an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to book a car online. Make sure that you have ample time to apply for an IDP through the International Driver’s Association.

Is Driving With An Australian License Valid in Thailand?

Based on the Australian Embassy’s diplomatic regulation, obtaining an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is an essential thing to do. Though Aussies can use their valid Australian driving license in Thailand, they cannot rent a car as most car rental agencies ask for an IDP as part of the legal terms and conditions.

Is Driving with A U.K License Valid in Thailand?

In leasing or driving a car in Thailand as a tourist, it is vital to have a Thai driving license or a valid foreign driver’s card with a photograph. U.K nationals holding a valid U.K driving license in Thailand can operate a four-wheel vehicle in the state. However, despite being part of the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, it is still necessary to secure an IDP for easiness and confidence when hitting this country’s highways.

Does An IDP Replace A Native Driver’s License?

Having an IDP alone does not suffice the legalities of hitting the highways abroad. An IDP is not a compatible replacement to any foreign driving license in other countries, especially Thailand. If you attempt to drive without the said permit, the Government of Thailand will consider your action-driving without a permit.

Who Can Apply for An IDP?

An individual must be a legal holder of a driving license for a year. It is a mandatory qualification for all applicants who wish to get an IDP. It will serve as the authorities’ basis for a person to identify the capability and knowledge to operate a moving car abroad.

According to the country’s road law, the legal driving age in Thailand is 18 years old. But to rent a car, you should be at least 21 years old to qualify. Additional fees will apply depending on the age bracket of the renter.

When Can I Apply For An IDP?

As you finish planning your itinerary, you can now proceed with applying for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) online. Though there is no specific duration or period for that, it is best to get one ahead of time. But, if you cannot do so, just lending a day before your departure date is fine. You can still score an IDP within the day. Make sure you have the complete requirements on-hand. Understand the terms when driving, especially in Thailand.

Do I Need An IDP To Drive in Thailand?

The International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is a necessary documentary requirement of car rental agencies abroad. Despite the benefit of member states to the Geneva and Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, having an IDP is a must, or else they cannot score a vehicle. Driving in Thailand without a driving license or an IDP is illegal. So, do not dare to violate the law.

Foreigners who hold a driving card that is not in English or Thai should secure an IDP for Thailand. Failure to do so will end up paying a large amount of fine.

Who Needs An IDP?

Nationals who are not under the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic and the 1949 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic should apply for an IDP. Though the member states under that agreement can use their foreign driving license, they will have a hard time scoring a rental car from a rental car agency. An International Driver’s Permit is a primary requirement of car rentals to their customers.

It is not that difficult to get an IDP. Applicants should only do a few clicks and upload through the International Driver’s Association official website. They can quickly get their permit within the day or even in two hours.

When Will I Use the IDP?

Crossing the borders and police checkpoints, you will need to show an International Driver’s Permit. Tourists who will head from Malaysia and Cambodia to Thailand should present an IDP to the immigration officers. Before going, drivers should know first the protocols of the country’s border. It is to avoid misinformation and experiencing delays on travel. Plus, an IDP is a critical requirement of the car rental agencies in Thailand.

How Long Is An IDP Valid?

The maximum validity period of an IDP is three years. However, there are certain conditions before you can have the longest validity time. If you are only a tourist who plans a self-driving, especially in Thailand, you can only have one year. But, if you will head for business matters, you can have the three-year.

Renting A Car in Thailand

Finding the marvelous places in Thailand is best when you hold a steering wheel of a four-wheel car. The convenience is unbeatable. You can easily access the roads and areas that aren’t usually reached by public transport. You can navigate your way without having trouble with where to turn left or right. Time will never be your enemy anymore. A road trip adventure in this country can bring you a new thrill and excitement.

In Thailand, reserving your preferred vehicle type should be done ahead. There are lots of discounts and lower prices to choose from many options. But, before doing so, you should be at least 21 years of age and a valid holder of a driving license in your home state. If you qualify, start your application process through the International Driver’s Association.

Where To Rent A Car?

Thailand’s magnificent improvement in businesses makes it an alluring destination for investment. Speaking of driving as a foreigner, you can freely book your desired car from hundreds of rental car companies in the country. Convenience in reserving a vehicle makes it possible by the incredible technological advancement. You can access thousands of websites and see which offers the best deal. Here are the most popular car rental providers online.

  • Avis
  • Bizcar Rental
  • Chic Car Rent
  • North Wheels
  • Sawasdee Rent A Car
  • Thai Rent A Car
  • Voyg Transport Services, Inc.

While searching for the best rental car company online, be vigilant of the scammers and swindlers. Make sure that the site that you are visiting is legitimate and secured. Do not give your personal information if you think the site is suspicious. Be careful when wiring your payments. No one wants to be a victim of fraud.

What Are The Documents Needed?

In reserving a rental vehicle, you need first to possess particular documents that a rental company requires. It is part of the legal agreement that a customer should present valid proof of the capability of driving. To keep you guided, below are the standard documents that you need to acquire when availing of a rental car. Keep in mind that changes are typical, depending on the policy of the agency.

  • Valid Foreign Passport
  • Foreign Driving License
  • International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
  • Credit Card or Debit Card

Before finishing or wrapping up your transaction, ask your rental agent’s contact number. It will be useful to you in case you face a sudden road emergency. You know who to tap right away.

What Are The Age Requirements?

In Thailand, the driving age is 18 years old. Upon reaching that age, the person can prepare for applying for a driving license. Enrolling in any driving school in Thailand that offers courses exclusively about operating a moving vehicle is a perfect start to take. For rental age, a renter should be at least 20 years old. Car rental stores add charges depending on the driver’s age.

What Is The Coverage of Fees and How The Rental Fee Is Based?

In marking up rental cars’ costs, the owners generally depend on the statistics of their client’s demands. They need to make sure that they will get back what they invest in their business. Another factor is the maintenance value of a particular car type. There are specific car types that have an expensive cost to retain their parts. As for the scope of the car rental fees, the best selling packages include pick-up service, driving kits, gas mileage, and road assistance.

Does Insurance Apply When You Rent A Car?

Rental providers usually separate the car insurances from their packages. Some of them sell it at a higher price making their customer spend bucks of cash. Getting such insurance is a must in Thailand as much as possible. It can help you cover emergencies on the road. However, avoid availing it directly to a car rental agent. Ask your credit card bank or your car agent if you own a car. Inquire if they can extend the coverage of a rental car abroad.

The Road Rules in Thailand

In taking off the road in any international community, educating yourself about the enforced traffic rules and regulations is an essential step. Remember that you enter the driving world by undergoing a series of tests, especially in Thailand. You should know that disobedience has zero tolerance on the laws of the country. Be wary about the different regulations implemented in every state. In case you don’t know such a thing, understanding its meaning is the key.

Do not attempt to go against any road rules and try driving without a driver’s license in Thailand. Severe charges and penalties are waiting for all violators.

Who Is Disallowed to Drive?

Individuals and foreigners who do not possess a legal driving license in Thailand do not have the right to sit in the driver’s seat. Only the responsible and physically fit to drive can take that post. Those who do not acquire an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) cannot hit the country’s highways.

Never let someone who does not meet any criteria to drive. Passenger’s lives are at risk if you permit someone to operate when they do not have any legal document. Accountability on the road is a serious matter. Travelers should not take it lightly.

What Are The General Standards of Driving?

With a few more guidelines to go, you can have a road-tripping galore in Thailand. Try to exercise your brain by looking back on what you have learned from the driving lessons you take. It is a good thing to review your knowledge about handling a moving car on the road. You can easily track the critical points that you might have missed. Below are the standard reminders on what to do before, while, and after driving. Parking rules are also important.

Before leaving, always check your valuable items in your bag. See if you have your original driver’s license and IDP. Losing any of the two can create problems, especially if you are crossing a country border.

Before Driving

Begin your day with full energy by taking proper breakfast. It is vital to keep your condition fair as you go for a long journey on the road. If you feel a little bit sleepy, take a short nap or drink a hot coffee. Your full focus is a must. Drivers should avoid any kind of disruptions.

Checking the car’s condition is also a significant thing to do before leaving. Knowing the possibility of facing trouble on the highway should also be included in your mind when overseeing the vehicle. The completeness of driving kits, tools, and equipment are mandatory to verify. For travelers with kids, car seat installation is a must.

While Driving

Eyes should only be on the road. Do not let it go anywhere unless needed. From time to time, monitor your side-view mirrors. It can help you whether there’s a vehicle near you so you can adjust. Refrain from entertaining calls and texts on your phone. If you can not avoid it, ask for a hand-free system installed on your car.

After Driving

As soon as you halt over your destination point, look for a designated parking area. Avoid leaving your car at risk. You don’t want to be a victim of a hijack. Be sure that the place you found is safe and has security officers around. Do not leave your valuable things unattended. Carry them at all times.

How is the Drink Driving Laws in Thailand?

The strict implementation of drink-driving laws in Thailand is serious. The general legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5 grams per liter of blood. For drivers who have been a holder of a driving license for five years, they cannot exceed 0.2 grams, unless they want to get their permit seized by the officers.

Speaking of fines and charges for drink-driving in Thailand, they are mostly high and severe. Especially during holiday seasons, the penalty for reckless, intoxicated drivers and driving without a Thailand license is no joke.

What Is the Speed Limit?

A road trip does not end on what you need to drive and how you can book a car abroad. You have to comprehend the basic road rules on the road. Among those policies is the speed limit. Thailand establishes the law to maintain and sustain the smooth sailing flow of traffic. Without it, congestion and accidents are most likely to happen.

Below are the speed limit marks for foreigners who want to go on driving in Thailand.

  • Urban - 50 kp/h
  • Rural - 90 kp/h
  • Motorway Speed Limit - 120 kp/h

What Are The Seatbelt Laws?

Those who are sitting in the front should automatically wear their seatbelts at all times. If there are rear seatbelts for rear passengers, they can use them. In Thailand, kids under 12 years old must be sitting on a car seat. They should not be allowed to use the front.

What Are Their Driving Directions?

Heading for a rich exploration over the thousands of magnificent wonders in Thailand, it is an excellent decision to choose the creative way of traveling. You don’t have to think about the time. You are free to go anywhere you want without thinking of catching transport back to your lodge. Furthermore, you can spend a lot of time at the rest stops and enjoy treating yourself to delicious foods and shop your needs.

There are lots of routes to take to reach the gorgeous country. As the nation is sharing maritime borders with ASEAN states, there are convenient ways to go site without taking a flight. Travelers from Malaysia and Cambodia can pass through the barriers when going to Thailand. Be sure to check first the protocols and restrictions so that you can prepare ahead.

What Are The Driving Directions From Malaysia to Thailand?

Tourists who want to test their capacity for a long drive journey can try heading from Malaysia and cross borders to Thailand. The travel time is more than twenty hours, but the experience is remarkable. The route from Malaysia is excellent, and it is so captivating to drive. There may be traffic along the way, but it is manageable than in any other area.

When starting to hit the highways going to another state, take the Jalan Berembang - Kg Gua/ Route 480. Do note that in this route, you have to pass through a lot of tolls. Also, there are country borders along the way. Always keep your IDP, passport, and driving license in Thailand.

What Are The Driving Directions From Cambodia to Thailand?

Hardcore drivers who are brave enough to stay awake nine hours straight should attempt driving from Cambodia to Thailand. Take off on your list of the flight adventures and check out the incredible experience when traveling by land. Getting on the pathways going to another state is like crossing another world. Do not forget the road rules along the way, as it may be a bit different from your point of origin.

As you begin traversing two countries, take the NR6 route from Cambodia. It is the ideal direction to go. Kindly note the health protocols and travel guidelines of the country. You must abide by their laws to avoid charges. Plus, do bring your IDP, foreign passport, and your original driving license. Immigration officers will look for it upon entry.

What Are The Traffic Road Signs?

Travelers can easily read the markings and signage on the road in Thailand. They won’t have any hard time navigating their way. Most of the traffic signs are the same in the international standards, but there are some that only this country has. Knowing its definition alone won’t suffice. Drivers should also do it in action.

In Thailand, they also have five different road signs. The Warning Signs call for possible hazards along the way. The Mandatory Signs should carry out immediately. For the information signs, they are the most commonly used by the citizens. The Prohibitory Signs signify restriction to do a particular action on the road. Last is the Priority Road Signs that tell who has the right of way on a specific highway section.

What Is the Right of Way in Thailand?

Local drivers mainly use the left side lane for driving purposes. For the right of way privilege, according to the Thai Traffic Laws, when two moving vehicles reach a junction spot coming from different ways, the car on the left lane has the right of way. Unless there’s a designation of principle roadway mark, the vehicle on that mark has the right of way.

Obedience on the road is a must. Strictly monitor your fellow driver’s action to avoid getting involved in road rage. Do not also forget to hold your IDP and valid driving license in Thailand.

What is the Legal Driving Age in Thailand?

As stated in the requirements and guidelines on how to get a driving license in Thailand, your age must be at least 18 years old. Generally, you have to join and take courses about operating a car in a driving school in Thailand.

Is There A Law About Overtaking?

You can only overtake in other foreign countries when there is only a free way to do it. In Thailand, attempting to move ahead from another vehicle without any warning signal will pay large fines up to 1,000 baht. As much as possible, avoid overtaking without a valid reason. Do it with proper manners in case you need so. Negligence and ignorance have no place for exemptions in the road rule.

Do not let your educated mind get brainwashed by reckless people. Be a responsible traveler by following and observing what is right. Never attempt to drive without a driving license in Thailand, as there is a penalty for that violation.

Which Side Of The Road Will You Drive-In Thailand?

Suppose you ask about driving in Thailand which side of the road, the left lane is. Overtaking vehicles is strongly prohibited if there is no valid reason to go ahead. Learn to respect and be patient while hitting the highways of the country. Do not neglect the legal laws, as there are appropriate sanctions for violators.

Picking Thailand as your next destination country and want to have a highway bound adventure, make sure you know how to get an International Driving License in Thailand. With the International Driver’s Association’s help, you can have yours within the day or even in two hours.

Driving Etiquette in Thailand

Actions matter in every situation. It mirrors one’s emotion and ethics in such circumstances. Displaying professionalism, especially on the foreign highway, is a must. It reflects how well you are as a person. As a responsible traveler, learning how to manage stress and anger is essential. Mixing personal emotion over a particular road scene can end up in the worst scenario. So, it is vital to express proper behavior when driving.

In Thailand, the Thais are quite known for being polite and patient. So, every foreign visitor should follow the excellent example of the locals.

What If A Car Breaks Down?

Road emergencies should be part of planning and preparation for every travel. No one is sure enough that everything will go smoothly. It is better to think in advance rather than suffering from regrets because of unexpected accidents. Every time you will design a trip, put the emergency on the top. Let go first of the rest stops, boutiques, and leisure time. Create first a back-up plan in case the original does not go perfectly.

Now, to help you with what to do when you encounter road trouble, here are the general tips that you can note.

  • Safe Zone is Your Topmost Priority to Find.

When you feel something weird going on your dashboard, or you start hearing strange sounds, do not simply ignore it. It can cause a massive problem if you let it slide like nothing is happening on your vehicle. Potential danger and hazardous threats may occur on the road. Search for a safe spot around you. Make sure that you don’t cause too much congestion on the highway. Flash your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

  • Take the First-Aid Road Measures to Check Your Vehicle’s Problem.

Same with medical concerns, getting stranded in the middle of a busy road or street because of a car breakdown has an appropriate aid to act on immediately. Once you safely maneuver your car on a safe point, get your reflective jackets, and warning triangles. Wear first the jacket before hopping out from the car to place the warning triangles around 50 yards from your vehicle.

  • Do Not Permit Any Of Your Passengers To Go Out If Possible.

If you happen to face road trouble in the middle of the highways, then hopping out from the car is only advisable if the surroundings are free from danger. However, if the situation is horrible, risking life will not pay it off. Children and older people should remain inside at all times until professional help comes in the way.

  • Dial Your Car Rental Agent’s Number For Immediate Help.

There are two cases in which you can tap your car rental shop’s help. First, when you think you cannot resolve the vehicle’s matter after checking it, you grab your phone, ask your provider if they can assist you. Second, if you are a newbie, and you don’t know how to handle things, call your car rental company right away.

  • Call For A Local’s Help While Waiting For Professional Assistance to Arrive.

You are fortunate enough to encounter trouble on a busy highway area as there are many traffic constables to call out. A uniformed patrol officer is the authorized person to hail as they can offer you emergency aid. However, if you are in the middle of nowhere, talking to locals is the best option you can do. Thais are friendly and helpful. They know if someone needs help. Ask them nicely and politely, so they can do the favor.

What If A Police Stops You?

Passing police points are most likely at the country’s borders in Malaysia and Cambodia. Generally, you need to confirm the travel restrictions and protocols established by the two countries. Expect a random call out from a police officer on the road. Make sure to coast your car right away. Observe also the identity of the enforcer to confirm it is a legitimate one. If you have doubts, you can simply ask them about the matter and inform them if you can leave.

If you experience a surprise hailing from a traffic road constable, do not panic. Relax and show them your willingness to cooperate. Allow them to discuss their concern. Upon their request and signal, present your travel papers like your original driver’s license, IDP, and foreign passport. If they ask you questions, honestly answer those.

What If You Ask For Driving Directions?

Thailand is famously known as the ‘Land of Smiles.’ It is evident, as locals are friendly, approachable, and thoughtful. The country has one official language, which is Thai. Though English is their second mother tongue, practicing to learn their native one will make you receive a joyous smile from the residents.

When you got a little confused about your navigation map while self-driving in Thailand, you can freely reach a local’s help, take note to speak politely, and slowly to them. Here are the common phrases that you can casually use when you go to this nation.

  • Hello
  • Sawadee khrup/ka
  • Sorry/Excuse Me
  • Khor thoad khrup/ka
  • What is your name?
  • Kun chuu arai?
  • Can you speak English?
  • Kun pood paasaa anggrit dai mai
  • Can you help?
  • Choo-ay dai mai
  • * Thank you
  • * Khop khun
  • * How can I get to (name of the place)?
  • * pǒm / chán jà bpai (name of place)
  • * I’m lost
  • * Long thang
  • * Could you tell me how to get (name of a place)?
  • * kun pɔɔ jà bɔ̀ɔk dâi mái wâa jà bpai (name of place) yang ngai
  • * Go straight
  • * dtrong -bpai
  • * Across from, opposite
  • * dtrong-kâam
  • * Beside, next to
  • * kâang-kâang
  • * On the right-hand side/on the left-hand side
  • * (taang) kwǎa mʉʉ/(taang) sáai mʉʉ
  • * Airplane
  • * Kruang bin
  • * Station
  • * Sataanii
  • * Restaurant
  • * Raan aahaan

What If There Are Checkpoints?

Foreign drivers will most likely face checkpoints in the borders of Cambodia and Malaysia. At these points, strict compliance with the protocols and regulations is mandatory. The enforcement of country border checkpoints is to monitor and observe the entry of nationals in Thailand. It is also to ensure the complete safety and security of the country. For more detailed information about what to bring, below are the typical documents you need to have.

  • * Foreign Passport
  • * Original Local Driver’s License
  • * International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
  • * Rental Car Documents
  • * Travel Itinerary

Exemptions from applying for an International Driver’s Permit will only apply for countries included in the 1949 Geneva and Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. However, they will hardly score a rental car in Thailand, as most rental car agencies require IDP. For confidence in the travel, tourist drivers should possess an IDP. Obtaining one is easy through the International Driver’s Association website.

Driving Situations and Conditions in Thailand

Wondering around Thailand’s roads, you may face a little different situation compared to what you used to see in other parts of Southeast Asia. The city highways are in good condition and quality. The country’s transportation infrastructure is incredibly excellent, and it draws plentiful tourists to drive by car in the country. You can even head over to another country through your moving vehicle as it has routes going to Malaysia and Cambodia.

Traffic congestion usually occurs around 6 AM to 9 AM as workers are going to their workplace. In the evening, around 4 PM to 7 PM is when workers head over to their homes. During these times, patience is a virtue. Do not do the same thing as what a reckless driver does typically. You don’t want to have a bad driving record in Thailand.

How Frequent Are Vehicle Accidents in Thailand?

Chaotic road traffic and the high volume of accidents are the major problems of the Thailand Government. Generally, these fatalities happen during holiday seasons. The most common reasons for car accidents are drink and wrong driving style in Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok. With this, the government strives to improve and resolve the problem by upgrading roadways and expressways.

Despite the unfortunate huge frequency of accidents, driving in Thailand safety is continuously developing for better access. Thais are rarely honking on the highways, as they have high respect for one another.

What Are the Common Vehicles Used in Thailand?

Freedom is what makes a rental car a fascinating way to tour the beauty of Thailand. Though the country has a splendid transportation system, from buses, taxis, trains, and motorcycles, many still opt to have their four-wheel vehicle. Renters and Thais commonly use an economy type of car. It can accommodate four to five occupants. Perfect for a small group.

Are they Using Kph or MpH?

Observing the road markings and signage, you will see that they mainly use ‘KpH’ as their speed measurement unit. In Thailand, exceeding the speed limit is a serious offense. Drivers who will ignore the rule will face charges and fines.

What Are the Road Situations in Thailand?

As the Thailand Government works on developing and enhancing its traffic situation, foreign tourist drivers can comfortably traverse this nation’s highways. The city roads and routes are astonishingly great. Signages and markings won’t be a problem despite the lack of clarity in some areas. You can simply navigate alternative ways on the map. Rush hours are manageable, unlike in other countries.

Are Thais Safe Drivers?

When you get stuck in heavy traffic, you will seldomly hear honks from other drivers. Thais are well-known for being a patient individual. They rarely show anger on the road, unlike other resident drivers. Foreign nationals can safely drive in Thailand and tolerate good examples from friendly locals.

Things To Do In Thailand

The abundance in history, culture, and religion make the Land of Smiles the main draw to passionate explorers worldwide. Most foreign visitors likely to level up their adventure life in Thailand. It may be on employment or residency opportunities. Everyone is welcome to grab one if any. There are no limitations in professional work in the country. As long as you have an official offer from any local agency in Thailand, you can secure a work permit and visa.

Non-Thai citizens must secure a work permit and visa. Even those countries that are exempt from Tourist visas should apply with the intention of work. Do note that a work visa alone does not suffice the legalities to work. One should also have a working permit.

Is Driving As A Tourist in Thailand Legal?

Non-residents of Thailand should secure an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). There are exemptions for applying for the special permit. Countries under the 1949 Geneva and Vienna Convention on Road Traffic can use their native drivers’ licenses in the country. However, they might have difficulties in reserving a rental car. Most rental car companies require their customer to have an IDP when booking.

Getting an IDP is hassle-free through the International Driver’s Association’s assistance. Simply encode your details and upload photos for verification. After two hours, you will receive an online confirmation about your IDP.

Can I Apply As A Driver in Thailand?

Any non-immigrant of Thailand who wants to explore the country’s employment industry can freely apply for a working permit and visa. Do note that you should have an official document proving your hire at a local company in Thailand before applying for one. Your employer will be in charge of processing your working documents. If you desire to render driving services in the country, simply look up online for operating roles, especially in Bangkok.

Another vital factor when applying as a driver, you should be at least 18 years old and a valid holder of a driver’s license for a year. You must also consider converting your local card into a Thai driving license.

How to Exchange Your Original Local Driver’s License to Thai Driver’s License?

Converting your international driver’s license to a Thai driver’s license can save you from bringing your passport at all times. Before you can exchange for one, you must possess the general requirements you need to have at the Land Transportation Office in Thailand. First-time applicants can have a two-year validity of a temporary Thai driver’s license. After the period, they can renew one for up to five years.

Make sure also that your current driving license card is using the English or Thai alphabet. If not, an IDP is a must. Here are the standard documents you must obtain when exchanging your native driver’s license for a Thai license.

  • * Medical Certificate
  • * Work Permit
  • * Foreign Passport
  • * Local Driver’s License
  • * Application Form

What Are The Procedures In Acquiring A Thai Driver’s License?

For those who do not have a driver’s license on hand, taking a driving school course is necessary. Passing the driving test, theoretical and practical exam in Thailand is essential. It will show your capabilities and knowledge about coasting, maneuvering, and operating a moving car. The examination is in the English language. You can start the exam after streaming a video talking about the road rules in the country.

You can only pass the driving test in Thailand if you don’t have more than five wrong answers. However, you can take it the following day without watching the video again.

What Are The Tips on How to Pass The Driving Test in Thailand?

First-time drivers should undergo a series of examinations and practical tests. It is to educate and train them on how to deal with other drivers on the road. This type of training usually takes place in any police center. A proctor will guide you throughout the session and will analyze your skills in driving.

Once you are ready for a practical test, below are the quick driving in Thailand tips. Be sure to read it carefully, as you don’t want to have a failing score on your attempt.

  • * You should know first which side of the road in Thailand is for driving
  • * Watch out for subtle signals. Focus your eyes over the other driver’s hand signals
  • * Switch on signal lights to alert your presence. Do not attempt to honk in frustration. Thais do not use their honks for that
  • * Give way when reaching crosswalks, pedestrians, and intersections. Never showcase anger. It will only make you like an obnoxious person
  • * Make use of the driving lane marks as guidelines. Do not tolerate other drivers shifting recklessly
  • * Compliance with the written guidelines on driving in Thailand safety is vital

Can You Work As A Travel Guide in Thailand?

Your fantastic experience in discovering the incredible treasures of Thailand is a worthy thing to share. To do so, you can consider rendering services over a tourism agency in the country. Try to search for travel guide jobs in the brilliant capital of this nation. Bangkok is a popular central hub for business sectors. The opportunities on the mainland are endless.

Aspiring foreign workers should have a working visa first before they qualify for a work permit in Thailand. All non-citizens of the country who has a plan to serve the nation must make time to process documents to work. Read further below about the requirements for applying for a work permit and visa.

Work Visa Requirements

  • * Original Passport (valid at least six months)
  • * Thailand Work Visa Application Form
  • * Passport size photo (white background, neutral face)
  • * Proof of Financial Support
  • * Police Clearance Certificate
  • * Approval Letter signed by the Thailand Ministry of Labour (for employers)
  • * Visa Fee of 2,000 baht to 5,000 baht (depends on the number of entries)

Work Permit Requirements

  • * Passport (with photocopies of all pages)
  • * Thai Work Visa
  • * Professional Credentials
  • * Employment Contract (with the full job description)
  • * Other certificates and licenses
  • * Latest Curriculum Vitae
  • * Three Passport pictures
  • * Proof of Living in Thailand
  • * Work Permit Fee of 750 baht to 3,000 baht

Is It Possible to Apply for Residency As A Driver?

No matter your occupation in Thailand, as long as you want to extend your stay in the country, you may do so. But, you have to undergo a legal process to acquire residency permission. You must have a non-Immigrant visa for at least three years. Also, you should identify what category of resident visa you qualify for applying one. All individuals should head over to a Royal Thai Immigration Office when securing a residence document.

Other essential requirements will vary on what category you qualify. But, for the standard documents that you should bring, read below the details.

  • * Original Passport
  • * Copy of Passport’s Bio page
  • * Copy of Visa (if applicable)
  • * Work Permit
  • * Proof of Annual Tax Return
  • * Passport Photographs
  • * TM6 Departure Card
  • * Receipt of Address Notification
  • * House Book with your name and address

The Top Road Trip Destinations in Thailand

The impressive Kingdom of Thailand that gorgeously rests in Southeast Asia’s heartland is best when you explore it by driving a vehicle. The captivating Land of Smiles has a precious gem to offer for every traveler. From intriguing historical landmarks, cultural heritages, stellar vistas, and unspoiled destinations, your road trip holiday getaway will be unforgettable.

A glorious highway bound voyage in the country requires one to have an International Driver’s Permit. Another significant element is a driver should not have any terrible drink driving habits in Thailand. Keep in mind that you should also not forget to bring your real driver’s license and passport.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

For a divine exploration, visiting a sacred shrine in Chiang Mai is a must. The Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a sitting Buddha figure at the mountaintop. Touring around the vicinity of this legendary structure, you will see a staircase towards the temple. There are also numerous sellers engaging the tourists to buy some souvenirs from them. When going to this place, observe the proper clothes to wear. Be sure to cover your shoulders and legs.

Target your visit to this temple from around December to March the following year. Be sure to plan your drive early on weekdays. Avoid heading on weekends as crowds are inevitable. There’s an admission fee of around 30 baht to 50 baht.

Driving Directions:

From the capital city, Bangkok, take the AH2 route:

  • Get started on Si Rat Expressway in Thung Phaya Thai from Ratchadamnoen Klang Road.
  • Go through the Pencil Road, then take an exit at the roundabout in Ratchadamnoen Klang Road.
  • Follow Bann Phanfa Bangkok until Nakhon Sawan Road.
  • Head straight to Emperor Phong Intersection and stay on the lane traversing the Nakhon Sawan Road.
  • At the Phetchaburi Road ramp, make a left turn before staying on the right fork following the marks for Din Daeng/Rama IX Road/Chaeng Watthana.
  • Merge to Si Rat Expressway before shifting slightly to the right in Bang Pa-in - Pak Kret Expressway/Udon Ratthaya Expressway.
  • Use the lane towards the second exit at 2-16 for 9/Western Bangkok Outer Ring Road to Bang Sai-Bang Pa-in.
  • Keep traversing the route before merging to Route 9.
  • Turn right at Route 3442, then make a left turn when reaching Route 347.
  • Pass through any of the two left-side lanes when accessing the ramp heading to Route 32/Pa Mok/Ang Thong.
  • In Luang Pho O Intersection, follow the Route 1 highway before taking the second exit to Route 122.
  • Continue driving the Route 122 until Route 1/AH2. Hit the Route 1304 and Route 11.
  • Pass over the SuperHighway Chiang Mai-Lampang and Route 1004 towards Suthep District, Chiang Mai Municipality.

Expect toll roads when going on this route. Take note also of the safety driving in Thailand tips. Do not rush. It will only make you prone to accidents.

Giant Swing

Giant Swing fantastically stands in the middle of the bustling capital of Thailand, Bangkok. It is a famous 27-meter high teak frame crafted way back in the 1700s and is for the traditional Brahmin ceremonies. The ceremony is a religious event every month of December after the rice harvest season. However, due to the intense lightning that hit the city, it is now only a country’s historical structure.

Exploring the iconic Giant Swing is best when you head on what they call ‘shoulder months.’ From April to May and September to October are the ideal times to check out the site. Less crowds are possible during those months.

Wat Suthat

Royal temples are quite famous in Thailand. However, there are only a few who can receive an official royal status and class importance. The Wat Suthat is among the few temples that receive a spectacular first-class significance. It is also known as the oldest and most grand temples in Bangkok. After observing the epic Giant Swing, take a sneak peek inside the Wat Suthat. You will see some breathtaking artifacts and fabulous murals around.

Driving Directions:

If coming from the Suvarnabhumi Airport, take Route 7 and Si Rat Expressway:

  • Hit the Khlong Song Ton Nun Sub-District Bangkok towards Suvarnabhumi Road 2.
  • Merge to Route 7 before keeping on the right side to continue on Si Rat Expressway.
  • Stay on the left fork lane in Si Rat Expressway. Follow the road markings on Bang Khlo - Dao Khanong.
  • Proceed to the two left lanes when exiting on 2-09 to Yommarat.
  • Observe the signs towards Lan Luang, then merge to the Phetchaburi Road.
  • Drive through Lan Luang Road, Ratchadamnoen Klang Road, and Dinso Road.
  • Head straight towards Bamrung Muang Road until Sao Chingcha Sub-District.

Do not forget to carry your original driver’s license, IDP, and passport whenever you go out and drive. You don’t want to be a bad driver and leave a negative driving record in Thailand.

Lumpini Park

Explorers can spend some time off from the busy hubs of the capital city. Check out this greenery paradise where nature enthusiasts can have fun over the beautiful oasis of Lumpini Park. Capture the incredible scenery under the comforting shade of a Chinese pagoda. This park is perfect for picnics and short walks as the fresh air is lovely.

If you like to stroll around the park, please verify the current political situation of the country. The park is a hotspot for protests. Be vigilant for the Asian water monitors around. They usually wander around the lake area. If things are in a good state, you can visit the park early in the morning. Lumpini Park is open all days of the week.

Driving Directions:

A 15-minute drive will take from Marriott Marquis to Lumpini Park via Sukhumvit Rd. and Langsawan Road:

  • Head to the north section on Soi Sukhumvit 22 to Soi Somsong.
  • Take a left turn at Sai Namphueng Intersection to Sukhumvit Road/Route 3. Go straight to follow Sukhumvit Road.
  • Proceed to Ploenchit Road before making a left turn after Seiryu Sushi The Mercury Ville Chidlom.
  • Make a right turn at Lang Suan Intersection to Sarasin Road.

In starting your road excursion in Thailand, do not be complacent about the easy highways. Authorities are watching on the roadways. Be sure to secure every vital document like an original driver’s license, IDP, and foreign passport.


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