One excellent way to visit Thailand is to hire a car and explore by yourself. Since most of the highways are well maintained and are in good condition, Thailand can be a great place to drive. By driving yourself, you will not only have a greater chance of seeing things off the beaten track, but you’ll also get to have the adventure of navigating and exploring on your own. You’ll be able to visit all of the gorgeous tropical beaches, mountain villages and traditional monasteries with your own set of wheels.
Hiring a Car: The Logistics
The big car hire brands operate out of the airport in Bangkok and have offices in the major cities. There are also local agencies that will rent to foreigners. However, before you plan to hire a car, you should make sure that your car insurance covers accidents abroad, just in case. If you plan to spend less than six months in the country, then you can use your regular driver’s license. For longer stays, you should get an international license or a Thai driver’s license.
In terms of road safety and etiquette, cars drive on the left side of the road and the driver’s seat is on the right side of the car, the same as in the UK. Outside major cities, driving can be quite pleasant due to the lack of traffic, while driving in Bangkok can be hellish. Expect to deal with tailgating and other drivers cutting in front of you. If you are uncomfortable with this type of aggressive driving, you can arrange to pick up your car near the city’s outskirts and use the car to only explore the countryside, with only a short trip back into the city to return the car at the end of your trip.
With no shortage of interesting sites and activities, there are thousands of different routes you can take in Thailand. For example, you can drive from Bangkok to Phuket, exploring beaches and seaside villages along the way. Or, take a trip up north to the hill country and explore the mountainous tropical rainforest. With a car, you’ll be able to set your own schedule and see things usually left off the tour company itineraries, such as secluded beaches, isolated villages and little-known ruins.
While a road trip around Thailand may be the adventure of a lifetime, it’s also important to take steps to ensure your own health and safety while you’re away, and it’s important to read up on important and relevant travel information. In some parts of rural Thailand, medical care may not be readily available, and you should make sure you carry basic first aid supplies in the car, take medication to prevent malaria if necessary, and receiving all necessary vaccinations before your trip.
Additionally, driving in some parts of Thailand can be dangerous, particularly in Bangkok. Make sure you have insurance before you go and try to drive as cautiously as possible. Be aware that even a minor accident can result in a whiplash injury that can cause significant pain and discomfort. If you are involved in an accident, seek medical attention immediately.
Nevertheless, travelling by car is a fantastic way to see Thailand. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime and experience the open Thai road.