Renting a scooter or motorcycle in Thailand is one of the most popular ways to explore the Land of Smiles. A scooter gives you independence and the ability to travel on your own. You can see beautiful places that are inaccessible to most tourists on organized trips—you can see the sunrise over Phang Nga Bay or the sunset at Big Buddha in Phuket. Renting a scooter is also a good way to save a lot of money and time. Taxi drivers in Thailand often overcharge customers, and public transport is not perfect.
Before you rent a scooter, remember to get the right driver’s license and buy travel insurance. This step will allow you to sleep peacefully and enjoy your holiday in beautiful Thailand. A lack of insurance and a driver’s license is an unnecessary risk that may end badly.
If you already have the right license and insurance and are preparing for your first scooter trip outside the city, remember to take some necessary things with you.
1. A Helmet
Always wear a helmet and make sure your passenger does as well. Driving without a helmet is not only illegal but also dangerous.
In addition to providing safety in the event of a crash, the helmet also protects your eyes and face from dust, sand, and insects. This protection is necessary and a helmet easiest form of protection.
Most rental companies provide helmets for free, so always remember to ask for it. Also, make sure that the helmet has a visor and that it fits well. A helmet that is too will hurt you and may cause a headache. One that is too large will move and may limit visibility or fall off your head.
2. Proper shoes
It may come as a surprise, but despite the holiday atmosphere, the flip-flops popular in Thailand are not the best shoes for riding a scooter, especially if you are the driver. There is a lot of traffic here, which makes it necessary to maneuver on busy streets. In such situations, it’s easy to lose your balance, and the flip-flops could harm you instead of helping you. Also, when walking around in the flip-flops, you can easily get cut, and the high temperature and humidity in Thailand create an ideal environment for all kinds of bacteria.
Always wear full boots when riding a scooter. They will protect your feet and allow you to support yourself in heavy traffic or when stopping at traffic lights.
Most days of the year, the sun in Thailand shines strongly. Spending a lot of time on the scooter can cause sunburns. Even worse, you may not even notice that the sun is burning your skin because of the wind that cools you while you’re driving. You may only feel the effects in the evening at the hotel.
Pain caused by burns is very strong, and you could end up visiting the hospital. Choose sunscreens with a high UV filter, and remember to use it on your hands, which are exposed to the continuous effect of the sun.
Sunscreen can easily be purchased on-site in Thailand at a 7/11. However, the high UV filters (30, 50 SPF) available in pharmacies are quite expensive.
4. A Small Backpack
A small backpack is always useful for trips outside the city and to the beach. Remember to take a small and comfortable backpack. A large, heavy backpack will cause unpleasant back pain after some time. It is also bulky and inconvenient at the beach. A small backpack can always be hidden under the scooter seat. Just make sure it’s big enough to take only the essentials and a bottle of water.
5. A Raincoat
A raincoat is a must during the rainy season. Heavy rains come and go unexpectedly. You never know if a cloud will begin to break in a few minutes.
In this situation, it is best to have a raincoat with you. It will protect your body and your legs from rain and wind. The raincoats in Thailand are very light and don’t take up much space. You can buy one at any store in Thailand for a few Thai Baht, so it’s not worth bringing a heavy a raincoat from home that takes up a lot of space.
You must have a pair of sunglasses before you go to Thailand. They will be useful not only during the scooter ride but also when you’re on the beach or during sightseeing. The strong sun can temporarily blind you and cause a dangerous situation on the road. Besides, sun exposure is simply dangerous for your eyes.
Make sure to bring good sunglasses with an appropriate UV filter. Do not buy a pair on the beach or from street vendors. They usually sell Chinese counterfeits at inflated prices without protective filters, and those with a reliable filter are expensive in Thailand.
7. Maps with Points of Interest and Your Hotel Address
Thailand offers a lot of beautiful places. Before a motorcycle trip, it is worth planning a route, noting the places you want to stop, and making sure that you can return to your hotel before dark. When planning a route, take into account the necessary stops and calculate the risk of rainfall, which can significantly extend your trip. It is worth buying a local sim card (preferably AIS or TRUE) so that you will be online all the time. You can also use an offline map app, such as Maps.me or OsmAnd.
The high temperatures in Thailand can carry the risk of rapid dehydration, especially if you’re not used to the tropical climate. That is why it is always worth having a bottle of water with you, especially if you are going out of town on a longer trip.
A good way to get quick hydration is from coconuts. They are extremely common in Thailand, and you can buy them at every stop. Coconut water is rich in essential components for the body, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C, and the level of electrolytes is almost identical to that of the plasma of human blood.
9. Driver’s License
Remember that in Thailand, you must always have your driver’s license with you. Police controls are frequent, and the police officers are firm.
For several years, Thailand has been fighting the scourge of drivers without a valid driver’s license who are responsible for the high number of road accidents. That’s why the police are sensitive to the appropriate permissions to drive a scooter.
If you do not know whether your driver’s license allows you to drive a scooter in Thailand, ask at your consulate. You can also find useful information in our FAQ section.
Thailand is a very popular holiday destination for people from all over the world. Tourists often decide to rent a scooter as a basic and cheap way to travel between the hotel and the beach and for short trips out of the city. It is worth preparing for such a trip and taking some necessary things with you. Do not be caught by surprise. Stock up on the basics for a motorcycle trip.