Foreigners may own a vehicle in their own name. Although they are required to have the appropriate driving license to operate it, none is required for ownership.
Major roads are usually in good to fair condition and have international road signs, directions in Thai & English, and place names in both Thai script & Roman letters.
Traffic in Bangkok is often jammed, especially during the morning and evening commuting hours. If your destination requires travel through Bangkok, you may wish to take, if possible, the "outer ring road" to bypass the worst of it.
The Land Transport Office in each Province is responsible for the registration of ownership of vehicles and for issuing Thai driving license(s).
Those living in Pattaya and Sattahip use the Banglamung District sub-office of the Chonburi Provincial Land Transport Office which is open from 8:30am and to 4:00pm Monday through Friday, except for government holidays. Click here for location.
A Driving License is Required
to Operate a Vehicle
To legally drive within Thailand you are required to have a driving license - either from your own country (domestic) or from Thailand that authorizes you to drive the type of vehicle you are operating.
you are using a domestic driving license, you are
required to also have an International Driving Permit (IDP) which will
show the type(s) of vehicles you are licensed to drive. Note:
IDPs are issued for driving in another country that has agreed to
follow the provisions of the appropriate International convention.
They are not valid for driving in the country of issuance.
There are separate Thai driving licenses required depending on the types of vehicle, e.g., car, motorcycle, etc.
Thai Driving license(s) are issued by the Department of Land Transport through their Land Transport Offices (LTOs) located throughout Thailand. The Chonburi Provencal LTO has a sub-office for Banglamung District which is where you can obtain a Thai Driving License.
Click the button below for more information on obtaining a Thai driving License:
Click the button below for more information on obtaining an International Driving Permit for use of your domestic license in Thailand or for using your Thai driving license in another country:
Owning a Vehicle
In Thailand, foreigners can own a vehicle in their own name. As with most countries, the vehicle will need to be registered, license tags issued, and annual taxes paid. The process is similar for car or motorcycle.
Motorcycles - Being more affordable, they are the most widespread form of motorized transport in Thailand. Finding a new or used motorcycle to buy is not a problem as there are an abundance of shops not to mention advertisements in the English language and other publications.
Cars and Pickups - Most brands of cars and pickups are available in Thailand. If it is manufactured outside of Thailand, there are hefty duties attached. So. for those vehicles, you can expect to pay substantially more than you would in the west. However, several manufacturers have plants in Thailand and make some models here. These will be the most reasonably priced.
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For a foreigner operating a vehicle in Thailand, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of insurance - especially third party liability.
The best to have is referred to as "first class" vehicle insurance which also includes an amount for bail bond in case the police decide to charge the driver.
There is a compulsory Government insurance, which costs about 700 Baht for one year. Although it is strictly third party liability, it has minimal pay out that is not enough to protect you in the event of an accident with serious injury. This compulsory policy can be obtained from the third party insurance company or separately.
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Things to Know About Driving in Thailand
Many might question your sanity if you say you want to drive a car in Thailand and even more so if you say you want to operate a motorcycle. However, Expats do drive and/or operate motorcycles in Thailand, most with great care.
Our first recommendation for anyone contemplating driving in Thailand is that you first take time to observe the traffic, road signs and traffic signals, and general driving habits of Thais - especially motorcycles. If you then decide to try it yourself, do so with the knowledge that many of the rules of the road you are used to may be the same, but are not followed or enforced that much here.For those that are up to the challenge or want to show they have nerves of steel, we have assembled information about driving in Thailand that you might find useful – including some of the rules (or lack thereof) of the road. This information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, if you find any inaccuracies or broken links, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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