Car hire in Thailand
Hiring a car in Thailand
Thailand has really captured the heart of holidaymakers and it’s easy to see why. This country in Southeast Asia offers a winning combination of beaches, temples and stunning landscapes. Its capital, Bangkok, is a heady mix of modern structures and life lived as it has been for centuries.
Hiring a car in Thailand will allow you to explore the entire country and tailor your trip to suit your needs. Whether it’s perfect beaches or the chance to enjoy regional specialities of delicious Thai cuisine, your own vehicle is a convenient option for getting around.
What you need to know
The options for hiring a car are seemingly endless. As well as choosing to get one upon arrival in Bangkok, there are also opportunities to pick your vehicle up from one of the airports in Thailand’s many islands. This means that if your main aim is to thoroughly explore the likes of Krabi, Phuket or Koh Samui, you can have your own wheels as soon as you touch down.
While the biggest choice of car hire companies will be at Suvarnabhumi Airport, also known as Bangkok International Airport (BKK), you can bypass the capital altogether if that suits your needs. Use our booking tool to review all your options and make an informed decision.
Where to pick up your car
If you do choose to collect your car from Bangkok Airport, then you’ll find all of the companies have desks within the airport. Some of these are inside the terminal building, while others are a little further away.
Be sure to check the specific instructions for the hire car company you have chosen prior to travelling for your pick-up location. Some will offer free shuttle buses or meet and greet services when the car hire desks are not within the terminal building.
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“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Once you have your hire car, the whole of Thailand opens up to you. Where you decide to pick up your car will determine the area you explore first. On the islands the beach is an obvious first stop, although many of them have charming towns that are just as interesting to discover. Anywhere you go in Thailand it’s hard to avoid the many temples and Buddha images, so pull up near one of these and see the beautiful Buddhist constructions and learn more about the religion.
In Bangkok you will find no shortage of things to do. This sprawling city is filled with shrines and attractions. The Chao Phraya River and corresponding network of canals is also full of life, with everything from people jumping in, to floating markets selling produce.
Driving in Thailand
You may be surprised that in Thailand you drive on the left and overtake on the right. It’s important to have an international driving licence to hire a car and this as well as your passport, should be on you while behind the wheel.
It’s easy to think of driving in Thailand as being chaotic, but outside of Bangkok that really is not the case. The road system is generally very good and signs are given in both Thai and English, making it easier to navigate and spot any warnings ahead.
Speed limits in towns tend to be 60 km/h, while on highways they are 90 to 100 km/h and motorways 120 km/h. It’s important to remain aware of any signs that highlight where there are exceptions to these rules.
Driving between Bangkok and some of the islands can take in excess of ten hours, but there’s plenty to see on the way. While you may need a ferry to get your car across, the likes of Phuket are actually connected to the mainland by a bridge, so it couldn’t be simpler.
Having a car hire reduces the boundaries between you and some amazing experiences and this includes borders. You can drive to Angkor Wat in Cambodia along the NR6 in less than six hours from Bangkok. While the route includes toll roads, you should certainly consider this option if the temple complex is on your bucket list.
Top attractions to visit in Thailand
Wherever you are in Thailand you will find fantastic attractions to visit, but here are a few you may wish to consider.
Overlooking the river in Bangkok is the incredible Grand Palace complex. Constructed in 1782, it has housed Thai kings for more than 150 years. As well as being the seat of government it has a strong aesthetic function too. Showing off the stunning style and craftsmanship of the Thai culture, it’s one not to miss if you’re in Bangkok.
If you have picked your hire car up in Phuket or driven all the way here from Bangkok, you’ll want to see the Big Buddha. This colossal seated statue is no less than 45m tall and can be spotted from all over the southern section of the island. Getting up close to truly appreciate its magnificent scale is incomparable and you can drive up the hill it is sat upon, with parking close by.
Khao Yai National Park
This national park is so extensive and full of wonderful things to see it has been accredited by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Spread across no fewer than four provinces there are plenty of places to gain access to it, which should not be difficult with your hire car. Hike among mountains and valleys and come across striking waterfalls at almost every turn. With 320 species of birds and 67 varieties of mammal within Khao Yai National Park, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.