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Renting a motorcycle will open up Thailand's countryside to you.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Thailand > Getting around

Getting Around Thailand By Motorbike

  
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As in much of Asia, motorcycles (motosai) are the most common form of transportation in Thailand. The most popular models are 100cc-125cc step-through designs. These are also widely used as taxis; fares start around 20 baht.

Motorcycles can be rented without difficulty in many locations. Rates start at around 150 baht per day for a semi-automatic (foot operated gearchange, automatic clutch) step-through model. Fully automatic scooters are less common. Larger capacity models can also easily be found, although the rates reflect the risks - up to around 2500 baht per day for the latest sport bikes, such as the Honda CBR1000RR. Lower prices apply if you pay upfront for a week or more.

Motorcycle rentals do not include insurance, and buying some at the last minute is usually impossible. Because both accidents and motorbike thefts are common, check in advance that the insurance you leave home with is going to cover you. If you rent a vehicle without insurance and it's damaged or stolen, you'll be required to pay in full the cost of repairing or replacing it. Note that some travel insurance policies only provide medical cover in the event of an accident if you hold a motorcycle license in your home country.

Many places will rent to you without requiring a license. Instead, you'll be asked to deposit your passport; if you don't want to do this, offer a cash deposit. Legally speaking you must have a valid Thai license or International Driver's Permit. Helmets are normally included, but are usually ultra-basic models with very flimsy chin-strap fasteners. If you're intending to travel by motorcycle and have a good quality helmet at home, bring it with you. If supplied a helmet with a chin-cup, slide the cup up the strap out of the way and securely fasten the bare strap directly under the jaw, as this is much safer.

It goes without saying that you shouldn't drink and ride. Also, in certain places, one should take great care after dark, as the chance of robbery - or coming across wild animals on the road - is much higher.

Motorcyclists (including passengers) are required to wear helmets and to keep their headlights switched on at all times. Enforcement varies widely, but in tourist areas spot checks for helmets and/or licences are commonplace. While the fines are light (typically 400 baht) the inconvenience can be considerable as offender's vehicle is impounded until the fine is paid, and the queue at the police station can be lengthy.

Some border crossings allow motorcycles through. At those which do, documentation including proof of ownership must be produced (with the possible exception of day visits to Payathonzu, Myanmar via Three Pagodas Pass).

Type of company: Tip
Location: Thailand







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