Driving in Thailand

Thailand has a good network of well maintained roads and highways between all main centers. Most of the north-south route is dual carriage way. Road signage follows international convention and is in both Thai and English. Night driving is not recommended on the open road due to heavy truck traffic, who tend to have a poor respect for cars. Motor bikes can on occasion be a hazard, particularly as they are often ridden into oncoming traffic. Driving on the more major routes outside Bangkok and around resort areas is both a safe and an enjoyable experience. A self drive holiday offers the opportunity to experience wonderful Thai culture and the opportunity for travelers to stop as long as they like at the many points of interest in the Kingdom.


Bangkok has a poor reputation for traffic conditions and this is justified except on the expressways. The city is very overcrowded with traffic and this makes driving difficult for drivers unfamiliar with the city. Whilst Thai drivers are exceedingly courteous and considerate to other road users (horns are used very rarely), traffic directions, and entry and exit locations often change during the day. These changes are seldom advised by signs, and none are in English, hence unfamiliar drivers can end up a considerable distance from their desired location due to enforced traffic flows. An increasingly extensive network of expressways within Bangkok now makes entry and exit of the city a simple task. Accordingly, one way rentals from or to Bangkok International Airport is not a difficult undertaking.

Fuel Availability and Prices

All Budget cars in Thailand use unleaded petrol, which is sold by the liter. Budget's vans use diesel. Both fuels are freely available throughout Thailand and prices generally range around 30 Baht per liter for them. Fuel stations are plentiful and most of the larger ones accept major international credit cards. In more remote locations cash will be required.

Road Rules

In Thailand you are required to drive on the left hand side of the road. The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60km/h (35 mph) and varies between 90 and 120 km/h (52-60 mph) on expressways and country roads. Police regularly check motorists speed. Wearing of seat belts is compulsory and drink driving laws apply. All insurance is invalid if drivers exceed the legal alcohol limit.

Mobile Phones

Renters should be advised that Thailand has nationwide GSM mobile telephone coverage. Provided international roaming has been obtained in their home country, renters personal telephones will work in all but the most remote parts of Thailand.

Drivers License

All drivers must hold a current, non-probationary license. The license may either be Thai, or from a renter's country of residence (with an English translation) or an international drivers permit. Licenses (and a valid passport) must be carried at all times when driving.


Pattaya Car Hire require drivers to be at least 21 years of age, and there are no age surcharges or maximum age limitations.

Additional Drivers

No charge is made for additional drivers, however, they must be nominated and have their names entered on the rental agreement at the time of rental.