How Dangerous is it to Rent Motorcycles in Thailand?

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Public transport on Phuket is so expensive that in the past I have advised people to rent motorcycles or cars. But, due to the number of road deaths is that really good advice?

I met this group of foreign tourists in Phuket at the weekend. They said that they had rented the bikes for only 250 Baht per day. Cheaper than one Tuk Tuk trip between beaches.

It was good to see that they were wearing helmets. So many foreigners wear only beachwear while riding which offers no protection. But when I asked if their insurance covered riding motorcycles they admitted they didn’t know.

If you are going to rent a motorcycle here then make sure you take the same precautions as back home. Wear a helmet and any necessary protective gear that you would wear in your home country.

Most importantly, you should make sure you have the correct insurance and are an experienced driver. If you don’t ride motorbikes back home then don’t start to learn here.

It seems crazy that people rent out motorcycles & cars here to people with no license or insurance. But I guess money talks. One final word of advice, don’t give your passport to anyone. A photocopy should be fine.

10 thoughts on “How Dangerous is it to Rent Motorcycles in Thailand?

  • June 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm
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    I have to admit that Thailand (and Cambodia) would not be the same for me without the possibility of moving and exploring of my own free will & independantly that renting a bike gives you. If it happens a town does not have any rental, I just move on.

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  • June 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm
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    Phuket without a car or motorbike becomes completely inaccessible. The prices for taxis, tuk tuk and so on are ridiculous, the availability of transport – pathetic. But once you rent a car (they go as cheap as 650B for a day) the place is yours to conquer. There are rentals just across the street form the airport. Ignore the touts, get yourself a car and enjoy the island.

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  • June 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm
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    Should not rent car or bike./you suppose to use public transportation.i see a lot of tourist die from accident. mostly alcohol,dope ,beer ,xtacy and crystal method.

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  • June 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm
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    In Phuket tuk tuk and taxi cartels have forced meter taxis out of the market and they are only allowed to operate from the airport. Also the taxis tend to charge the locals the same sky high prices. The only way to travel cheaply and relatively safely in Phuket is by song-tow but they are irregular and do not operate at night

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  • June 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm
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    Depend of the rental shop… In koh pha ngan, they almost all try to make people paying for little scratch the motorbike receive years ago….

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  • July 1, 2013 at 11:54 pm
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    Renting a bike in Thailand is dangerous, because the tourists are irresponsible. Many of them don’t have a drivers license to motorbike. Moreover, they are not used to drive in the left side of the road and contrary to the traffic laws in their home country, many of them drive under influence of alcohol or other substances. Now add all these up and those who wonder why Phuket has many fatal accidents among tourist, well? And don’t blame the Thais.

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  • July 4, 2013 at 11:59 am
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    Renting motorcycles is dangerous and inexperienced riders should not be allowed to rent them. @Torben Lund, many countries also drive on the left like in Thailand, which just happen to make up a large proportion of the tourists in places like Phuket such as Australians, New Zealanders, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Indians, Brits, Hong Kong residents etc. However, for most travelers, even those from countries that drive on the right switching to the left is not difficult and not what makes driving in Thailand more dangerous. I agree drinking and driving is what makes foreigners even more susceptible to having accidents and the police need to crack down heavily on drink driving with checkpoints outside all major entertainment zones every night of the week until the message gets through – punishments should include jail time, confiscation of the offender’s vehicle for a period of time (say 30 days) and a heavy fine.

    @Perception Grove – what a ridiculous statement. As has been pointed out, public transport prices in Phuket are inflated, so if you ARE experienced then by all means you should be allowed to rent a motorcycle although wearing a helmet and protective gear is a must BUT even better is renting a car. It’s quite safe to drive around Phuket by car and driving is the ONLY way I get around Thailand, including Phuket if I ever chose to visit.

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  • January 26, 2018 at 10:00 am
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    So I bought a bike Suzuki 125 this year and stay in Bangkok for 3 months a year I am a experienced rider in my early 50.
    I take the view if someone pulls out in front of me or a bike/car gets so close and I don’t know about it then it’s always my fault and I should have been more alert
    Expect everything that could possibly happen and you won’t be disappointed.
    I stay away from all buses and trucks because they smoke real bad and drive just the same give plenty of space to taxis because a door will always open.
    I rode to pattiya last week with my wife thinking it would be a pleasant journey and it was quite the opposite real kin dangerous lesson learnt the bike and us came back in a pick up truck four days later because I figured it was to dangerous.
    if you haven’t ridden before don’t start in Bangkok its good advice

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  • February 15, 2018 at 10:01 am
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    Motorcycles are more dangerous than cars, it’s a simple fact, as the crash zone is limited to your soft flesh and bones.
    If driving motorcycle without helmet and protective clothes, the anybody ask to get badly injured or die, from even low speed accident.

    When I’m at my girlfriend, approximately 4 – 6 months a year, I prefer to ride motorcycle in South Thailand.
    I was advised to get a proper Thailand MC license, and I did.
    I ride everywhere I like to go. I really enjoy the freedom of motorcycling.

    The traffic in Thailand is more dense and the roads are very poor in Thailand, than in Europe.
    Also it seems like people in Thailand don’t always obey the law/rules of traffic.
    It’s here to mention, most people in Thailand drive their vehicles very good. I see many dangerous situations, where only the skill of the driver to handle the vehicle prevent an accident.
    If foreigner, then make sure your travel insurance covers motorcycle driving in Thailand !
    Drive very very careful, follow the traffic and obey traffic rules, keep on protective clothes and helmet, then I believe you are as safe on motorcycle, as in any other country.

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