This is my experience of renewing my five year Thai driving license. It doesn’t matter which office you go to. I chose the one in Bang Chak this time instead of the one in Samut Prakan as it’s a few minutes walk from a skytrain station. Just go to BTS Bang Chak and take Exit 3. You are looking for a road on your left with a blue archway over it. It’s just after Sukhumwit Soi 99. Walk down the road to the Department of Land Transportation (see map). It is a three-story purple building on your left. You cannot miss it.
When you enter the building, go to the information counter. They will check your documents. If you don’t have the correct photocopies already, she will direct you to the service for this to your right. In my case, I needed a signed photocopy of my passport (photo page, visa page and last entry stamp page) and work permit (photo page, last extension page, and page with my home address). If you don’t have the latter, you either need a yellow house registration book with your name on it or a letter from Immigration with proof of address. Please note, a sign on the counter says they only issue 250 queue tickets per day. I got queue number 247 at 10:45am, so, advisable to come early.
After you get your queue ticket, wait near the counters to your left for your number to be called. The lady here will check your documents. Next up is the physical tests in the large room opposite. Apparently, you should wait for your number to be called but I went straight in without realizing. But you’re not really jumping the queue, as you use the same number to enter the seminar room for the road safety video and then later to have your photo taken.
There are three tests but two stations. First one is to test your peripheral color vision. You have to look straight ahead and then say what color you see to the left or right. It can either be red, green or yellow. You will fail if you look left or right or say the wrong color. Several people failed by saying yellow was red. So be careful with this color. If you fail, go to the back of the queue and try again. The next two tests are at the next station. For the first one, you have to press a button to align two sticks. This tests depth perception. For the next test, you put your foot on the accelerator and then, when you see a red light, quickly put your foot on the brake. This tests your speed reaction. Watch how others do it if you don’t understand the instructions in Thai.
Next up is the one hour road safety video. You have to wait for your queue number to be called. The times for this are on the hour from 9am to 12pm. I was in time for the last one at 12pm. As there were many of us and the room on the ground floor only seats 60 people, we were invited up to Room 301 on the third floor.
Once this was over, we went back down to the ground floor to the section to the right of the Information counter. Sit down and wait for your number to be called. I had to wait here for over an hour. In this large room, you pay the fee and have your photo taken. They will then print out your new driver’s license. If you do like I did and wait for your license to expire first, then they will give you five years from the date of your next birthday. So, I got 5 years + 359 days. The cost for me was 555 Baht as I had to have some details changed. But the standard fee is 500 Baht.
If you had a different experience or you have some tips, please post in the comments below. Please note, It’s been twenty years since I applied for my first Thai driving license and so I cannot help you with tips for doing this. But, I do know that in this same building you can apply for an International Driving Permit if you want to use your Thai driving License abroad.