Hi there, I'm planning a month-long trip to Thailand with my boyfriend and we really love the idea of doing at least some of the tour on scooters. I've been trying to find some more information on the whole process. I know about not leaving your passport at the rental place, the crazy traffic, etc. What I'm wondering is: are there rules about where one can take a rental bike, i.e. can you take it out of the city from where you rented it?
Thanks for the help!
Each rental shop will be different, but most rental places I've used don't put any restrictions on where you can use the rental scooter, and quite often I've done out-of-town, overnight trips. You might want to get in a couple of shorter, day rentals for practice before you take on a longer trip. You also might want to try those longer trips in places quieter than Samui or Chiang Mai. A trip up river from Nong Khai comes to mind, and if you wait for it ..., Tilapia will jump in and talk about a wonderful day or overnight trip from Sukhothai to Si Satchanalai that is really worth the time and a great ride.
As you said, be safe by always wearing a helmet, assuming that other drivers will do really silly things directly in front of you all the time, and driving well within your own ability. Be sure not to put anything in the basket that you wouldn't want to suddenly donate to random passers by either, as bag snatching can be common in some areas. Take it easy. Cheers.
Yes you can -- I've taken rental scooters from Chiang Mai over half way to Bangkok no problem.
Not sure about taken rental bikes off the Gulf islands by ferry, but aside from that I wouldn't expect any problems.
Also - don't count on not leaving your passport behind! You can try but you're unlikely to succeed. You could try offering to leave a laminated copy behind, which I tried, but without success when hiring cars in Thailand. (Worked OK at guesthouses in Vietnam though).
Now that's interesting! I read that it's illegal to be caught without your passport on you, so I wasn't planning on letting it go at all. A lot of guides advise renting through the guesthouse instead of directly from the rental company.
I had a two hour standoff with a small rental agency once over hiring a 4WD once on Koh Phangan. It took two hours because I had time on my hand and I was in a stubborn mood - but the agency won in the end. There was no way they rent out without taking my passport.
Having said that, a few years earlier I hired a car in Chiang Mai and dropped it off in Bkk so I didn't hand over my passport then. But I had organised it online and paid by credit car, so that was there security I guess.
The problem with the smaller guesthouses renting out bikes is that they don't offer insurance - so that's most likely why they want the passport.
Insurance is something you should also look into very carefully. Most travel insurance policies won't provide cover if you have an accident on a motorbike and aren't complying with local laws (which may mean a local licence in some countries). Not sure about Thailand. But there have been numerous stories of being stuck in hospital and have to get their families back home to do some serious fundraising to pay for medical expenses, evacuation costs, etc. Read your policy VERY carefully.
Thanks for the warning, I'll see what else I can find out. I hear places will let you leave a cash deposit instead of a passport? It seems like it will just depend where I go...
I was definitely planning to get travel insurance. I'll have my motorcycle endorsement and an international driving permit so I should be set legally, and it looks like World Nomads policies will cover motorbike accidents.
"Now that's interesting! I read that it's illegal to be caught without your passport on you"
Buffy, this is going to sound strange I know, but depending where in Thailand you are (Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya have different rules than the rest of the country) the law doesn't really matter. This isn't a nation of laws. In western civilization, the law tends to be seen as coming down from God on tabletts. Not so here. The law here, if the Police know it at all, is a negotiating start point in the event there's a problem. I live here, and I NEVER take my passport anywhere in country anymore unless I go to Bangkok. Last time I went to Khon Kaen and I didn't bring my passport and the clerk at the hotel said they had to have it and I said "well, I don't have it, guess I'll have to sleep someplace else" and suddenly they didn't really need it. I've been stopped by the cops for a host of small driving offenses and never paid a fine always just get a warning. I would be completely shocked if the police stopped you and demanded your passport. I have had them ask on the bus when I didn't have it at a check point and I just showed them a drivers license and that was good enough. That said, I would not surrender my passport to anyone either - cause I don't want it stolen or "Misplaced".
#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
"The law here, if the Police know it at all, is a negotiating start point in the event there's a problem." - Well said MADMAC...money talks!
I simply carry a photocopy of my passport with me in the event that a guesthouse insists on keeping my passport with them for scooter rentals.
I have been renting scooters in Bangkok and I drove until Chumpon in the south. It was amazing. We took scooter at this place http://www.rentascooterbangkok.com/
It was a long trip but very exciting, a lot of memories. If anyone want to do something like this in Thailand, like go to chang mai, I think it can be very nice.
#12 keynejacks has been a member since 20/5/2015. Posts: 1