Renting a scooter in Thailand is like renting a slice of freedom, and you better believe me when I say it's an absolute must-do for all you travelers out there! With a scooter, you'll have that extra bit of flexibility to go wherever, whenever, and nobody can stop you from it.

Thailand offers countless islands, beach towns, and mountain villages that are just waiting to be explored on two wheels. That's why you'll find scooter rentals in nearly every corner of Thailand.

Having been to Thailand plenty of times and rented scooters all over the country, I understand that renting a scooter can sometimes be a little tricky, especially if you're new to it.

But don't worry! In this guide, I'll share everything you need to know about renting a scooter in Thailand.

Why rent a scooter in Thailand?

Why rent a scooter in Thailand

As I've mentioned before, renting a scooter gives you that extra bit of freedom you can't get with public transportation or organized tours. You'll have the freedom to create your own itinerary, stop wherever you want, and discover all those hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path locations Thailand has to offer.

On top of that, renting a scooter is a fantastic way to save money on transportation costs. Taxis and tuk-tuks in Thailand can get quite pricey, especially for longer distances or full-day private trips.

With a scooter, you'll have greater control over your budget and save some extra cash to enjoy other activities or, as one of my personal favorites, indulge in more delicious Pad Thai, wherever it pops up!

Tips for renting a scooter in Thailand

I have to admit, renting a scooter in Thailand is actually a breeze and quite straightforward.

However, it's still important to keep a few things in mind to steer clear of any potential trouble.

Documents and licenses required to rent a scooter in Thailand

renting a scooter in Thailand

To rent a scooter in Thailand, you'll need to present your passport and an international driver's license.

Even if the rental doesn't require your international driving license, it's always a good idea to have one. Especially if you happen to get stopped by the police while riding without a license, you could face a fine.

I got stopped quite a few times on my travels in Thailand while riding a scooter, but I'm glad that I had my international driver's license (international driving permit) and ID with me. That way, I couldn't even give anyone a reason to try and fine me!

Sometimes the police do it a bit sneaky, and that has happened to me recently in Chiang Mai. I got stopped and the police told me the motorbike wasn't ticked on my IDP, so essentially it wouldn't be valid. And I did get fined!! Plenty of other foreigners got pulled up right before or after me and I saw them all with a similar problem.

stopped by the police in Chiang Mai
Got stopped by the police in Chiang Mai, like many other foreigners.
had to pay a fine to the police in Chiang Mai riding a scooter
Sucks to get fined by the police in Thailand, but the receipt you get is good for a week where you cannot get fined again.

When you only have a car license in your home country, usually, you're allowed to also drive a little scooter until a certain motor power, however, in other countries, this might not be seen the same way. In this instance I got fines, so make sure the scooter icon is ticked on your international driving permit.

Additionally, some rental shops may ask to keep your passport as a deposit when you're renting a scooter, but personally, I prefer not to part with my passport as a money deposit as it's quite valuable. Instead, the rental shop can always take a picture of your passport or accept a higher cash deposit.

What to do in case of a scooter accident, break down or theft (aka Is insurance worth it?)

thailand motorbike traffic

Renting a scooter without insurance can be a risky gamble. Think about it: you're in a foreign country, zipping around unfamiliar roads, possibly for the first time on a scooter.

It's always better to be safe than sorry! A scooter or motorbike accident can easily happen, and so does theft or other unfortunate damages.

That's why I always strongly recommend having insurance, just in case. Some rental shops may offer insurance for an additional fee, and it's definitely worth considering.

It can save you from potential hefty fees if something happens. However, many travel insurances and even credit cards provide coverage for scooter rental incidents, so it's worth checking before you hit the road.

In the event of an accident or theft, remember to contact your insurance company and the police immediately. Most rental shops will provide a number to call or WhatsApp in case of emergencies, so make sure to keep it handy at all times. And remember, safety comes first!

I actually broke down on a windy mountain adventure about 1 hour outside of Chiang Mai. Luckily, I was riding with a friend and the locals were super helpful and towed me to the next garage to get me back on the road.

scooter broke down in the mountains Chiang Mai day trip
Broke down on a day trip outside of Chiang Mai, the locals came to help.
broke down in the mountains of Chiang Mai riding a scooter
Friendly locals took my scooter in their ute and towed me to the next village.

The initial shock was deep though, I could have rolled under my bike if I hadn't jumped off quick enough as I was on a very steep stretch. Always, always get travel insurance, I recommend HeyMondo for your trip to Thailand.

When getting insurance for a scooter or medical insurance, always read the fine print and understand what's covered under the provided insurance. Typically, scooter insurance covers damages to the scooter (but not all damages!), but your personal medical coverage might not be included.

Want to know how to choose the perfect scooter for your needs? 

When you're renting a scooter, it's important to find one that suits you well, especially if you're a beginner or new to scooter rentals. There are different types available like automatic, semi-automatic, or manual scooters.

In Thailand, the Honda Click is the most popular choice, and for good reason! It's one of the automatic scooters that's super easy to navigate through traffic. No need to worry about changing gears, it does it all for you!

But, if you're not going for an automatic, you'll have a clutch and more of a motorbike vibe, which can be a bit more challenging. I don't recommend getting a manual for first-time scooter riders. However, if you have experience with manual scooters, you can go for options like the Honda PCX or Yamaha NMax.

What's the difference between a scooter and motorbike rentals?

scooter in thailand

As a beginner, you might be confused about the difference between a scooter and a motorcycle.

Simply put, scooters have smaller engines (usually 50cc to 300cc) and are generally easier to handle than motorcycles. Scooters also have an automatic transmission, while most motorcycles require manual gear shifting and even a motorcycle license.

In Thailand, both scooters and motorcycles are used interchangeably by locals and tourists alike for transportation. However, scooters are more common in tourist areas, generally speaking, while motorcycles are typically used by locals for longer distances or off-road adventures.

Choose a reliable rental agency

When it comes to finding the best scooter rental shop, I highly recommend checking out reviews and asking fellow travelers for recommendations. You definitely want to rent from a reputable agency that takes good care of their scooters and provides excellent customer service.

Thailand is a pretty big place, and you'll find different local scooter rental shops in most of the places you visit. Many of them are honestly great with friendly staff and top-notch service. 

riding a scooter in the streets of Chiang Mai
Riding a scooter in the streets of Chiang Mai.
roads can be unpaved on day trips outside Chiang Mai
Some smaller roads can be unpaved on day trips outside Chiang Mai.

However, during my travels, I came across a couple of rental companies that were just extra amazing:

Bikago Phuket

If you're staying in Phuket, I can definitely vouch for Bikago. They originally started in Bali, where they have many locations, and they are always my go-to rental company when I'm there. Now they also have a branch in Phuket.

The company provides everything you need for a seamless scooter rental experience. They have a wide range of scooters, helmets, and other gear available. They even offer a SIM card option and a GPS holder, which makes navigating through Phuket a breeze. Furthermore, they offer convenient services like scooter delivery to your hotel and insurance options, which come in super handy if you don't have rental insurance included with your credit card or travel insurance.

Mango Bikes Rent Chiang Mai

I'm sure you'll find yourself in Chiang Mai when traveling through Thailand, and my number one go-to spot for scooter rental up here in the north is Mango Bikes Rent. They offer plenty of different scooters, and the staff there is friendly and speaks good English.

They'll help you pick the right scooter and helmet for you. On top of that, they have accident assistance, so in case of any mishaps, you can call them, and they'll come and lend a hand. Of course, they also offer insurance, including medical insurance for the driver.

I rode a bike from Mango Bikes when I broke down on a day trip outside of Chiang Mai and they were so fast to respond on WhatsApp and talk to the locals to get me back on the road as soon as possible, truly cannot complain about their responsiveness.

Costs of Renting a Scooter in Thailand

traffic in thailand

Let's chat about the scooter cost when renting one in Thailand. As I mentioned earlier, choosing a scooter over taxis or tuk-tuks can help you save a good chunk of money.

On average, a scooter rental will cost you around 200-300 baht per day (approximately US$6-$9). However, keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the type of scooter and rental location.

It's always a smart move to compare prices and the kind of service you're getting between different rental shops before making a decision. Sometimes it's worth paying a few extra bucks just to talk to someone in English and have locals that actually care and don't give you the cheapest most run-down scooter.

Here's my top money-saving tip for you: if possible, consider renting for the long term. Trust me, that's where the real savings kick in. While you might be spending 300 baht per day on a scooter, the prices can drop significantly when you opt for a monthly rental.

Take Mango Bike Rent in Chiang Mai as an example. A Honda Click scooter would cost you 300 baht per day, which is already a decent rental price. But if you rent it for a week, it will be around 1300-1500 Baht, and for a whole month, it's only 3200-3500 Baht! Basically, you're paying for just about 11 days, but you get to enjoy the scooter for the entire month.

Of course, I understand that not everyone can rent a scooter for an entire month due to time constraints. But even if you rent it for a week, you'll still save some money.

Safety tips for renting a scooter in Thailand

scooter day trips Chiang Mai
There are so many amazing scooter day trips outside of Chiang Mai.
riding a scooter in Chiang Mai
Riding a scooter in Chiang Mai, always wear a helmet.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay safe while riding a scooter in Thailand.

When you're traveling throughout Thailand and many other Southeast Asian countries, you'll come across many travelers who are covered in bandages from scooter or motorbike accidents. It's a real thing!

To avoid becoming one of those travelers, here are some safety tips to keep in mind while renting a scooter:

  1. Please don't drink and drive! I know it should go without saying, but seriously, just don't do it. I understand the temptation, like when you're chilling at the beach, sipping cold drinks and watching the sunset. But trust me, accidents happen, and it's not worth the risk. Tuk-tuks and taxis are affordable options, so if you plan on having some drinks, just grab a ride back home!

  2. Wear a helmet! I know, I know, it seems obvious, but seriously, it can save your life. I get that it can be hot and uncomfortable, but it's worth it. Even if you're a skilled driver, there are others out there who might not be. So, protect yourself and wear that helmet, especially in situations where it might not even be your fault in case of a crash or accident.

  3. Consider taking some lessons. I mentioned earlier that you don't need a license to rent a scooter in Thailand, but that doesn't mean you should just jump on one without any prior experience. If you do decide to give it a go, practice on smaller roads first and get the hang of it. Take some time to learn how to brake, accelerate, and turn properly.

  4. Avoid driving in Bangkok, seriously! I know you might think it's convenient to zip through the traffic, but it's chaotic and potentially dangerous. Bangkok has excellent public transportation options like boats, the MRT & BTS, railways, tuk-tuks, and taxis. They are affordable and reliable, so there's really no need to rent a scooter in the city.

  5. Be mindful of traffic rules! Even if you don't have a license or you're renting for just a day, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic traffic rules in Thailand. Did you know that it's illegal to drive without a shirt on? Or that you can only carry one passenger on a scooter? These are just a few rules you should know to avoid any unnecessary trouble with the law.

  6. Drive defensively! As I mentioned before, there are plenty of other drivers on the road who may not be experienced or drive recklessly. So, always stay alert and drive defensively. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, especially when they're changing lanes or making turns.

  7. Be aware of your surroundings! Especially in countries like Thailand, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings. Watch out for damaged roads, potholes, and even animals on the road. Yes, animals! You might come across monkeys, cows, and other creatures roaming freely, especially in rural areas.

  8. Don't overload your scooter! Rental scooters might seem spacious, but they're not designed to carry heavy loads. So, try to avoid carrying too many bags or other items that can affect your balance and make it harder to control the scooter. That's why I don't recommend picking up your scooter from the airport with big suitcases or backpacks. It can be dangerous and make it more challenging to control.

  9. Avoid driving alone in remote areas! This tip is crucial. If you're planning to explore more remote areas in Thailand (which I highly recommend), always have a buddy or at least one other person with you on the scooter. There have been cases where people got into accidents and were stranded without any nearby help. So, always take a buddy with you!

  10. Know your limits! If you don't feel comfortable driving a scooter, that's totally okay. Don't let peer pressure or FOMO make you do something that could potentially harm you. Your safety should always be your top priority.

  11. Always check the scooter before renting! Before you rent a scooter, make sure to do a quick inspection to ensure everything is in working order. Check the brakes, headlights, and turn signals. Also, take note of any existing damages and report them to the rental shop. This way, you won't be held responsible for any pre-existing damages when returning the scooter.

  12. Get travel insurance! Lastly, but most importantly, make sure you have travel insurance that covers scooter accidents. Trust me; it's worth the investment. Accidents can happen, even to experienced drivers. So, protect yourself and your loved ones by having proper medical insurance coverage. A scooter can easily be replaced but your own health cannot!

Remember, renting a scooter can be a fun and convenient way to explore the country, but it's important to prioritize your safety.

By following these tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while riding a scooter in Thailand.

Renting a scooter in Thailand – Final Words

Renting a scooter in Thailand is one of my personal must-do's when exploring the country. It allows you to discover every corner at your own pace, which is an amazing feeling!

Whether it's the next dinner spot, a stunning waterfall, or an incredible beach, exploring is super easy without the need to book a tour or wait for a driver.

Renting a scooter is actually pretty safe as long as you follow these handy safety tips and use common sense. Just remember to always wear a helmet, stay alert, and respect the local traffic rules. Plus, if you do get fined, just pay it and don't argue with the police, it's hardly ever worth it.

With that in mind, renting a scooter can be an unforgettable experience and a fantastic way to explore Thailand like a local.

Don't hesitate to rent a scooter next time you're planning your trip to Thailand! But if you really don't want to, you can always just get a rental car. And with these safety tips in mind, you can ensure your scooter adventures are both safe and enjoyable.

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