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Motorcycle and Scooter Rentals

Motorcycles are one of the most popular modes of transportation in Thailand as they are inexpensive and fuel efficient.  Both within cities and around the countryside, motorcycles are used by numerous Thais for work and personal travel. 

For travelers to Thailand, motorcycles serve two functions: motorcycle taxis and motorcycle rentals.  Orange vested Thai motorcycle taxi drivers hang out at major intersections in Bangkok and other larger cities.  Prices are generally fixed so you can ask about the fare after you have told them your destination; then hop on the back and hang on for dear life.  Thailand motorcycle taxis are the fastest and consequently the most dangerous mode of transportation in Thailand.  They are also the cheapest, with fares ranging from 5 to 30 baht, depending on distance.

Renting a Thai motorcycle to drive yourself around is equally inexpensive, though arguably more dangerous.  Particularly popular in northern towns like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai as well as the beach towns on Koh Samui and Phuket, Thai motorcycles are the leading cause of death of foreigners in Thailand, though they are both inexpensive and convenient if driven carefully.  With the deposit of your passport you can get a rental motorbike for as little as 150 baht a day (less than 5$).  That’s for a 100-125 cc semi-automatic scooter.  Fully automatic scooters cost slightly more and top-of-the-line 1000cc motorcycles will cost you upwards of 2500 baht a day (even more if you want to drive a Harley Davidson).  Like rental cars, always inspect bikes for damage before renting and be advised to take good care of them, as you are responsible for any damage that you or anyone else inflicts upon the bike.  An international driver’s license that includes motorbike certification is the best license, though any motorbike license will suffice as you are unlikely to be asked to produce it anyway -unless it’s by the police who, if they have chosen to pull you over, are likely to fine you for something regardless of whether you have your license on you.  The higher-end motorcycle rental agencies will expect you to produce an international driving license however, unless you wish to waive the insurance coverage –an unwise decision.

Helmets are required by both law and common sense, considering the danger involved, and closed toe shoes and jeans are strongly recommended –by common sense.  Although many Thai people can both eat and talk on a cell phone while several family members are piled in front and back of them on the bike, we strongly recommend you keep your wits about you while driving a motorbike in Thailand.