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  1. #1
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    Default Driving in Thailand

    Hi all,

    Firstly, I wasn't sure exactly where to put this topic so if it's the wrong place I'm sure one of the moderators will let me know and place it where it ought to be. I thought of putting it in the transport forum. I did what I thought was a thorough search but couldn't find anything relevant to my question.

    I'm pretty sure I know the answer but I would just like confirmation from some of the more experienced users out there who have driven in Thailand before. I have searched the net and although there is much information out there I couldn't seem to find a definitive answer.

    On to my question: should I get an International Driving Permit for driving in Thailand? I know of people who say they've never bothered and just used their UK/EU licence, and I have too in the past for hiring a motorbike but I'm wondering whether it may be at least useful. My wife thinks it would be better because she's suspicious of any potential unscrupulous/corrupt police officers, who may decide to pull me over and fine me for not having an IDP.

    I thought I might get one as the cost is only £5.50 from the post office. I know I can apply through the AA but it's a bit late for that now as I'm off in less than 2 weeks. The wife sprang this on me only today so that's why I'm asking now. Normally, I have a 'chauffeur' or 2 to ferry me about (1 or 2 of my wife's nieces or nephews) but as we're travelling around a bit this time she thought it would be useful to hire a car here and there. I drive for a living here in the UK so am thankful for having some time off from being behind the wheel. I'm quite happy using taxis but I guess having a car for a while would at least give us a little more freedom.

    Apologies for the long-winded way of asking a simple question.

    Thanks,

    Paul.

    Oops, just realised this is definitely in the wrong place. This is for Visa related stuff I think.....or is it? Sorry.
    Last edited by Kanjana & Paul; 1st Dec 2018 at 20:24.

  2. #2
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    As a visitor, officially you are supposed to have a UK licence and an International licence. I only ever bothered having an IDP for the first few visits. In those days foreigners got stopped far more than they do now. During the stops I encountered I was never asked for my IDP - although I offfered it once and the copper barely looked at it so eventually I stopped getting one.

    I have a Thai licence now so don't need anything else but I recently heard of someone who's insurers had refused to pay following an accident - because he didn't have an IDP.

    For what it costs and how easy it is to get, I'd get an IDP.

  3. #3
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    Legally because your licence is in English and the UK has signed up to the relevant agreement you don't need an IDP, but for the cost you may as well get one.

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    Anticipating some disagreement on my post ;

    "
    If you are not a resident (i.e. you are on a tourist visa or exemption of visa), you only need your national driving permit to be able to drive in Thailand. So, if you are visiting Thailand as a tourist and you want to rent a car for just a few days, you just need to carry the driving permit you obtained in your home country. This is clearly indicated in the Motor Vehicle Act:

    Section 42-2

    In case there’s a treaty between the Thai government and a foreign government regarding mutual acceptance of driver’s license, an alien who doesn’t have an immigrant visa may drive a motor vehicle with a driver’s license issued by such a foreign government, or an automobile association authorized by such a foreign government."


    Source: http://driving-in-thailand.com/type-...ence-required/

    Also, this link is useful : https://m.easyrentcars.com/locations...e-requirements

    e have many check points here and the police always accept a Foreign licence. The IDP is written in a host of languages, none of them Thai.
    Last edited by James HKT; 2nd Dec 2018 at 02:24.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ Sammy Shrimper's Avatar
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    As mentioned, for what it costs I would recommend a International DP. If not you are certainly leaving yourself open for a contribution to the tea money fund. I doesn't matter what it says on the websites. If you get pulled up, quoting any of that will increase your contribution. Make sure you have a good accident insurance, the odds are stacked in favour that you may have a prang. Enjoy
    Get busy living or get busy dying

  6. #6
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    I have always got an International Drivers Permit when I have gone to Thailand and expected to drive, they last a year and so if doing more than one trip a year then cost per visit is really a drop in the ocean, and they don't take long to get organised from the post office, the photos always seem to take longer and cost more.

    This gives me peace of mind, so when hiring a car, and making sure it has good insurance, that I have crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's. I "enjoy" driving in Thailand and really am pleased that they use the same side of the road, but the driving experience is incredibly different compared to the UK, especially with all the motorbikes around, livestock, potholes and people in the roads.

    As James has said, I too have seen that an International Driving Permit is not needed, however, as I have a stock of unused passport type photos, I will still be getting one.

    I think you have put this post in the right thread/place, and it's nice to see that you are considering legal points as driving in Thailand needs to be taken extremely seriously, especially if drinking on holiday, there's already a lot of drunks on the road there not all are driving, that need to be a consideration. Fortunately I have never been in an accident there and have enjoyed the driving experience, but if I ever were I would be happier with the belts and braces approach rather than taking any risk. My biggest legal problem there, at the moment, is the ban on vaping which affects me :-(

  7. #7
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    I got an IDP just to be on the safe side.
    I hired a car when I was in Phuket in July this year. We rented it from one of the local shops selling trips and tours. It had a hire agreement but I couldn’t say about the insurance.

    I like to think I’m a careful driver as I don’t want an accident and I don’t want to be paying out for damages but had a couple of near misses.
    One was indicating to pull over left to stop and after clearly giving my intention a moped drove up along the inside of me. The other time was Promthep Cape as I was driving around a big bend a moped going the opposite direction cut immediately in front of my path and drove up the bend of me side.
    They looked like they Chinese tourists and from things like this it is no wonder you hear about them having accidents.
    Need 360° vision when driving in Thailand.
    There were a lot of police roadblocks when I was over there - most were at night but got stopped at one during the day also. They asked to see my licence.
    They then changed their mind and waved me to drive on which to me was after they noticed I was with my Thai wife which was by looking in the car or by her speaking,
    i never got to show my DL or IDP.

    I do enjoy driving over there and was a lot cheaper than a taxi.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ nigel&panada's Avatar
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    I got one first few times I went, but every time I hit the little road blocks was only ever asked for my UK licence. As for tea money most of the time I just flatly refuse to pay it. From personal experience I have found the rural police don't know how to handle it when you just sit in the car saying no as the Thai's seem to just pay up, 5 or 10 min of them arguing with me through the wife and they generally realise they are loosing money from all the Thai's that are driving past. I have noticed a drop in the number of road blocks since the military took over though.

  9. #9

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    For what they cost I would get an IDP. I've driven quite a few thousand miles in and around Thailand. You do need eyes in the back of your head because the other driver do crazy things. Give them a wider berth than normal.

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    I can find as many websites advising that you don't need an IDP as those that do but remember this - the hire company can make its own stipulations in its contract with you. If you fail to comply and have an accident it could cost you an awful lot more than the £5.50 an IDP costs.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigel&panada View Post
    From personal experience I have found the rural police don't know how to handle it when you just sit in the car saying no
    Agreed but not only the rural police. Quite a few years ago I was stopped having just gone through a toll booth in Bangkok and accused of speeding. The copper clearly had no evidence because I had not in fact, been speeding. I stood my ground and he tried the, "OK we go see big boss" ploy. I locked up the car and agreed to go with him - he backed down.

    By the way, the road blocks are back on Highway 2 but they appear in the main to be stopping Thai's in pick up trucks and commercials. I've been waved through every time in the last 2 or 3 years - except on speeding checks.

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    I have wondered how a UK travel insurance might handle a claim should you be involved in an accident whilst driving without an IDP.
    I have never seen in a policy that an IDP is required only that a licence that allows you to drive, in my case a motorbike and car but knowing insurance I always get one just to cover all the bases. £5.50 is peanuts compared to the cost of the trip.

  13. #13
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    I have almost certainly mentioned this before but in any country where the police are a bit dubious having an IDP or several can be useful if they confiscate the licence. When I lived in Cote D'Ivoire I took a few with me as the police tended to take the licence away and expected you to pay cash or travel 600kms to Abijan to get it back.

    Its 5.50 just get one that said I had to travel once with real short notice when my wifes Mother died I did not have an in date IDP so took the next best thing Cash
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash View Post
    I have almost certainly mentioned this before but in any country where the police are a bit dubious having an IDP or several can be useful if they confiscate the licence. When I lived in Cote D'Ivoire I took a few with me as the police tended to take the licence away and expected you to pay cash or travel 600kms to Abijan to get it back.
    And there's me thinking it was only the Thai police that did that . I once had reason to visit a small sort of sub police station - I think it was under the expressway close to the Rama4 junction. It was something about licences although I've never had mine taken - can't remember exactly what though.

    Anyway, whatever it was, the officer opened about 4 draws, all completely full of licences - most Thai, some foreign. I remember thinking then, they are from people who failed to pay a roadside fine. Daft thing is, I've just got 2 new Thai licences after losing my wallet - they cost me 210 baht in total. So I guess the police will be holding most of those licences forever - anyone with half a brain will simply go get another if the fine is over 105 baht.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ Sammy Shrimper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigel&panada View Post
    As for tea money most of the time I just flatly refuse to pay it. From personal experience I have found the rural police don't know how to handle it when you just sit in the car saying no as the Thai's seem to just pay up, 5 or 10 min of them arguing with me through the wife and they generally realise they are loosing money from all the Thai's that are driving past. I have noticed a drop in the number of road blocks since the military took over though.
    I can tell you from personal experience that is not a good tactic. I refused to pay and was sent on my way. Unfortunately the policeman had my driving licence. I was stopped on the outskirts of Bangkok. I had to travel back from Pattaya the next day to collect it. All for the sake of not paying six pounds Sometimes it pays to bite the bullet.
    Get busy living or get busy dying

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammy Shrimper View Post
    I can tell you from personal experience that is not a good tactic. I refused to pay and was sent on my way. Unfortunately the policeman had my driving licence. I was stopped on the outskirts of Bangkok. I had to travel back from Pattaya the next day to collect it. All for the sake of not paying six pounds Sometimes it pays to bite the bullet.
    I agree with you completely, unless you are well connected don't mess with the police!

  17. #17
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    Been stopped many times - never had to hand my licence over without it being handed back.

  18. #18
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    Driving a moped through the village were my misses comes from and next villages never had a problem local police just want a quick English lesson and ask about Manchester united or city get disappointed when i say no no i am a Bolton fan .,
    Police waiting at toll roads is a good one taxi driver takes seat belt off pays goes through
    wham bam thank you mam a few hundred baht who pays usually me taxi driver giving it sob story for rest of trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natty View Post
    I have wondered how a UK travel insurance might handle a claim should you be involved in an accident whilst driving without an IDP.
    I have never seen in a policy that an IDP is required only that a licence that allows you to drive, in my case a motorbike and car but knowing insurance I always get one just to cover all the bases. £5.50 is peanuts compared to the cost of the trip.
    Provided you hold Driving License the IDP is irrelevant for insurance purposes and an insurer could not reject a claim because the claimant did not buy an IDP. An IDP does not license the holder to drive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Provided you hold Driving License the IDP is irrelevant for insurance purposes and an insurer could not reject a claim because the claimant did not buy an IDP. An IDP does not license the holder to drive.
    That is UK law Tobias? I take it the insurer would have to be UK based to fall under that?

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