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Renting motorbikes in Chiang Mai, police problems

Posted by lucasan on 18/3/2017 at 02:13

I stayed some 10 days in Chiang Mai in march 2017 and had a free motorbike form a friend that lives there. In town, along the moat and on the "Superhighway" there were several check points where the police stopped only thais with no helmet and all the farangs, regardless of if you have an helmet or not.
Unlike in any other place in Thailand, Cambodia and Burma, where I spent almost four months, moped drivers with no international driving licence, like I was, are fined 400 Bahts for the missing license. I got fined twice... once I handed the money but no official receipt... you can imagine complaining was not a good idea. The second time I was given an hard copy that allegedly is valid for three days.
If travelling in the area invest a bit of time and money and get yourself an international driving licence.
It sounds logical but the other dozen of moped drivers that have been stopped with me all paid the 400 baht fine. It does not help not feeling alone in this case.

#1 lucasan has been a member since 14/11/2016. Posts: 10

Posted by Ian15 on 18/3/2017 at 06:23

When I was in Chiang Mai last year I was stopped by the police on two separate occasions wanting to see my driving license. Only on the second occasion did they also ask for the International Driving Permit as well. I happened to have both and they seemed slightly surprised when I showed them my International Driving Permit. Chiang Mai was the only place I was stopped during 10 weeks in Southeast Asia. I'm sure its a good money making scheme for them as most people I came across did not have a license.
It's also worth bearing in mind that your insurance will probably not cover you if you do not have the required license.

#2 Ian15 has been a member since 11/9/2015. Posts: 10

Posted by amnicoll on 18/3/2017 at 21:26

Many peoples travel insurance will not cover them for motorbikes full stop

#3 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by somtam2000 on 18/3/2017 at 21:30 admin

We've got a page on travel insurance implications of riding without a license/riding permit. Short version: Get a license before leaving your home country—then you'll more likely be insured and not have to be worry about being fined for the police.

Love the hard copy fine that is good for three days. Ha ha!

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,099

Posted by wanderer143 on 9/4/2017 at 09:52

Indeed, it is best to obtain an international drivers license first. Otherwise, be ready to pay a fine.

#5 wanderer143 has been a member since 2/11/2014. Posts: 136

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