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Driving in Thailand

As a tourist you are allowed to use your national driver’s license to drive in Thailand. If you are a permanent resident you will need to obtain a Thai driver’s license to be able to drive a car or motorcycle. This license is issued in the Land Transport Office.

It is best to call your local office to make sure that you take all the necessary documents with you, as the requirements may vary in the different offices.

Usually you will need the following papers:

  • If it is the first time you are applying, a signed photocopy and a translation of your national driving license, if you have one.
  • If it is for a renewal, your Thai driving license.
  • A signed photocopy of your passport (front page and visa page).
  • A medical certificate (can be issued at any hospital or clinic for 50 to 100 bahts).
  • A proof of address (yellow book if you have one, or letter from your embassy or from a police station stating your place of residence).

In Thailand people drive on the left side of the road. Thais are usually very polite and friendly driver’s who seldom honk their horns and are not given to road rage. Nevertheless there is lots of traffic and whole families might travel on one small motorcycle following their own traffic rules, often riding into oncoming traffic.Road signs follow international convention and are in both Thai and English. Night driving is not recommended on the open road due to heavy truck traffic, whose drivers tend to have poor respect for cars. Driving on the more major routes outside Bangkok and around resort areas is both a safe and an enjoyable experience.

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