Self Driving in Thailand

driving in thailand Driving in Thailand is not recommended for those visitors who:

  • Are timid
  • Adapt slowly
  • Are impatient
  • Have low frustration thresholds
  • Can't read maps
  • Have orientation difficulties
  • Expect driving rules to be obeyed
  • Expect to be able to stop and ask/get directions & distances

A less-than-serious look at Rules of the Road - Thai Style

Driving in Bangkok

is not recommended for those who (additionally):

  • Detest traffic jams
  • Expect to find parking easily
  • Don't have a clear idea of the layout of the city
  • Don't have a mental snapshot of the route to a destination
  • Wish to retain their sanity

Okay, you probably won't really go insane after driving aimlessly around Bangkok for hours on end, but ...

The other side of the Driving in Thailand Issue

As a great way to see Thailand, self driving offers opportunities:

  • Works great for couples, pairs or small groups
  • Enjoy a part of Thailand you otherwise might not see
  • Easily change your itinerary
  • Experience more contact with the Thai people
    • Service stations
    • Roadside eateries & markets
    • Walking around small towns and villages
    • Remote neighborhood temples
  • Visit national parks
  • Visit remote monasteries and temples
  • Enjoy quiet beach area
  • Well, you get the idea ...

Avoid driving in Bangkok by taking bus, train or plane to your first destination and renting a car there.

Maps for Driving in Thailand

  • Get the best available and study them before departure.
  • Look at the publication date of the atlas. Don't buy an old publication
  • Some recommended road atlas, available at good book stores such as Asia Books or DK Books.
    • Thailand Atlas, by Lotus Image
    • Road Atlas of Thailand, by Asia Books
  • Tourist Police stations usually have free local maps.

Getting lost is probable. In a city, hire a motorcycle taxi, or motorized samlor to escort you to your location. Pay on arrival.

Alternatives to Self Drive in Thailand

If any/many of the above factors make you reluctant to drive ... but you still want the options, confider a van with driver. This is an extremely good option for families or small groups. The driver will / can / should:

  • Assist with baggage
  • Act as a translator
  • Know what attractions are in an area

Other benefits:

  • Allows you to watch, chat, or sleep
  • If you plan on spending several days in one area and don't feel you need a driver, he can be dismissed and another hired.