There are tons of ways to get around Thailand. If you have read our article about all the different transportation methods in Thailand, you know there are tuk-tuks, busses, trains, taxis and private cars. There is one mode of transportation that far surpasses the rest: renting scooters.

No Thailand vacation is complete without a moped rental. Whether you’re bargaining your motorcycle rental in the bustling city of Bangkok or whipping out your English to Thai dictionary in hopes of scoring the best price from a local in Chiang Mai Thailand, you will not be disappointed. Out of all the places, we recommend Phuket scooter rentals and rentals on Koh Samui the most as we loved the freedom to explore all the many Thailand beaches.

After living vanlife for so long, there is no better feeling for us than getting some wheels underneath us and having the freedom to explore deeper. We are HUGE advocates for renting scooters in Thailand and have never encountered any issues personally. We have rented a scooter in every place we have travelled through in the country except for Bangkok as we didn’t spend very much time there. While we never had any problems, we have met a lot of people who have gotten in accidents on their scooters and ended up getting quite injured. This isn’t to scare you but to remind you that while there may be fewer rules in Thailand about scooters, you will still want to take some obvious precautions and have emergency travel insurance.


The prices for scooter rentals vary greatly depending mostly on location. In the north of Thailand in areas such as Chiang Mai, everything is quite a bit cheaper than in the southern islands. While the prices will vary a lot, they are still incredibly affordable compared to the prices you expect to pay in other parts of the world. Most times in the south we paid between 200-350 baht for 24 hours.

We always base our rentals on 24-hour periods. While this is how most of Thailand works, we have been faced a few times with people saying “day rentals” but simply meaning we take it at whatever time we’re there until 7 pm that night. I am not sure why we have heard this a few times but we always just end up saying no thanks and insisting on the 24-hour rentals.

You may be enticed to go for the scooter rental that has the best price but this isn’t always the best idea. Oftentimes, these prices can be bargained down, especially if you are in a group renting multiple bikes. While this is possible, the prices are more than fair and the truth is you’d be paying at least 10 times more in your own country so make sure you are being fair.

While a cheap price is appealing, keep in mind it is much wiser to pay a few baht more and rent from a trusted source. Be sure to always see the bike you rent before you do any exchange of money so you aren’t fooled by shiny bikes up front only to be left with an older one once the exchange has been made.

Where To Rent

In Thailand, you will find a place to rent a scooter on almost every single corner, especially in cities and large tourist areas. While you can rent from just about everywhere, we recommend putting a bit of thought into where you choose.

We found the best thing to do is to ask the person at the front desk of the hotel you are staying with where to rent from. Many hotels do scooter rentals or partner with trusted places to rent a bike. If you can’t do this, we’ve had success renting from travel agencies as well. Again, this is something we have never had a problem with but there are too many horror stories out there to not play it a bit cautious.

Before Your Rental

The moment you decide to rent a scooter it’s important that before you get on your bike you whip out your phone and start recording. Don’t feel rude about doing this, everyone does it and it is to protect them as much as it protects you. Go slow and make sure to record every single inch of the bike making note of any and all damage to the bike before you leave the premises. This will ensure that you return it in the same condition you got it and act as a witness to protect you in case of any future discrepancies.

We recommend paying specific attention to Thailand’s weather. We failed to look at the Thailand news in Koh Phangan one day and found ourselves in the middle of torrential downpour miles away from our hotel.


As with any rental, you can expect to give some sort of collateral for taking the scooter. Most places ask for either a passport or a large cash deposit (often 10,000 Baht). Neither of these are the most appealing of options which is why it is so important to go somewhere somewhat reputable.

As you will likely be giving your hotel your passport anyways (or allowing them to make a photocopy of it) you will not need to do anything else when renting a scooter. As you will be renting from a reputable business that relies strongly on customer reviews, you are far less likely to be scammed as well.

While we have heard people say that it is illegal for someone to require that you give your passport for a rental, the reality is these aren’t big established corporations that you are renting from. In fact, oftentimes it is just a guy with a few extra bikes lying around.

Getting A License

One of our most asked questions here is do you need a license to drive a scooter in Thailand? While you may not think that you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in the country, it actually is required by Thai law. This is a very loosely enforced rule as police here have bigger issues to worry about. It is worth noting that the majority (I’d bet 70%) of tourists in Thailand ride a scooter with no license and most of them never encounter any issues.

After 3 times visiting Thailand and riding a scooter every single time, we only had issues once. We found ourselves in the middle of a roadblock while driving through Phuket and we didn’t have a license. Despite our nerves in the situation all this meant was a ticket given to us by the Thai police. A total of 500 THB (~$21 CAD) was all we owed and simply carried on our way. We asked the police if we would just get pulled over again down the road and they assured us that we just needed to show the ticket and prove that we had already paid.

It is also worth looking into the travel insurance that you get. If you were to get into any sort of accident that requires any hospital time or medication, your insurance may not cover it if you are driving a scooter without a license.

We learned afterward that the police were not concerned with our license but rather it was a common way to get money from tourists. The next time we went to Thailand we came prepared with an international driver’s license and asked them to tick off the scooter allowance (in Canada you can operate a scooter of fewer than 50 ccs with a regular license). While we have never had any trouble since it was still nice to have that peace of mind and the license itself cost about as much as the ticket. This is one of our best Thailand travel tips as it is so affordable and can give you a ton of peace of mind.

After You Rent

You’ve found your bike and dealt with all the deposits and other logistics. Now it’s time to jump on and explore! One of the most important things for you to figure out when jumping on your bike is which brake (right or left) controls the front brake and which controls the back. We have seen some pretty gruesome accidents from people hitting their front brakes and flipping over their handlebars. Be sure to always squeeze your back brakes first and your front brake simply to support your stop.

What a typical Thai gas station looks like.

Before going too far, you will want to do is check the fuel level. Popping the seat up you will find access to the gas tank. In Thailand, you can expect to find places to fuel up everywhere however they won’t all look as you’d expect. While there are some big typical gas stations as you’re used to, more often than not you will find a small store on a corner selling mysterious bottles of fuel that you can put into your scooter. These work and are safe to use but are no doubt diluted quite a bit making them not as good of a bang for your buck.

You will also find random singular pumps in the middle of nowhere that somehow always provide quality gas for an affordable price. Realistically, the fuel is quite cheap in Thailand and scooters don’t require very much of it making it safe to fill up with any of these sources.

Have you rented a scooter in Thailand? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

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Oh Thailand, there is nowhere quite like it. If there is one thing you can count on it is that you will always leave with stories to tell. A common story you will hear is how people get from point A to point B. If you are like us, blind faith and budget friendly alternatives is what you tend to turn to. After three trips through this beautiful country, we know A LOT about how to travel through Thailand successfully.

The best way to get the most out of your vacation is to travel smart. How do we do this? Layovers! We get two trips for the price of one.

Travel Agents

thailand, travel, flight, beach, sand, sun, transportation, food, vegan, hotel, hostelSo you know how at home travel agents are these big corporate businesses in a mall with four walls, chairs and you leave with a bunch of documentation confirming all of your purchases. Ya, not in Thailand. Booking your travels in Thailand is a bit more casual with small cubicles of people telling you to leave your bag with them and the promise that a bus will come pick you up at a certain time to take you where you need to go.

On our most recent trip Myles and I booked from a travel agent in Bangkok that told us to be back at 5:00 pm for a bus that leaves at 6:00 pm. We were told the overnight bus will take us to a pier in the south of Thailand and arrive for 6:00 am and that the ferry will depart at 7:00 am to take us to Koh Tao for a 9:00 am arrival.

thailand, travel, flight, beach, sand, sun, transportation, food, vegan, hotel, hostel

While sleeping on the bus we woke up to someone screaming “Koh Tao, Koh Phanagan get out”. Obeying our orders we wiped the sleep from our eyes and stumbled down the stairs to see our bags lying on the ground. Before we could ask what time it was or where we were the bus pulled out of the driveway and left.

Looking at our watch we saw that it was only 2:00 am. With no idea where we were but with water in sight we agreed to accept that we just arrived early and all would work itself out. Making friends with the few other people that were in our same boat we were able to watch the most spectacular sun rise while playing in the ocean. In the end we got to Koh Tao, no harm no foul. Just a lot of blind faith.


A taxi is a common way to get around a big city in Thailand. Before you hop in be sure you are on the same page as the driver as to cost. A flat rate is normally a bad idea, insisting on the meter is almost guaranteed to get you a lower rate even in rush hour.

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Inside the taxi

When organizing for a taxi to pick you up at a later date it is typically for an agreed upon price. In our case it was in Phuket and we were trying to organize a taxi to take us to the airport at 5:00 am the next morning. Like two very responsible adults we were on a midnight hunt for what we knew would be our last iced coffee in Thailand.

We just happened to stumble on a man in the street that said he was a taxi driver. Good enough for us we put all our trust in this man, told him where we were staying and hoped like hell that come morning time he would be there.

Myles had all the doubts constantly telling me: “There is no way that guy is going to come tomorrow. We are for sure going to miss our flight.”. I would respond with a simple “Thailand has never let me down before”.

The next morning, after checking out of our hotel our taxi driver showed up. He happily greeted us with a smile in the most blinged out van I had ever seen.

We had no idea what we were in store for.

Let’s just say he was a wild driver. While watching fast and the furious he was weaving through traffic as fast as his van could go. Literally, he had a limiter that would beep if he went too fast. Not only did he get us there, but we got there in half the time. Let’s just say one of us was on the edge of her seat. Only in Thailand.

Tuk Tuk

The rules are simple here, there are only two. The first, rates should be agreed upon before starting your trip. The second, keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle and hold on for dear life!


My personal favourite way of exploring the country. At around $8 CAD for 24 hours you can’t beat the price. Renting a scooter in Thailand gives you the ultimate freedom to go anywhere and everywhere. You will also fit in with the locals (everyone scooters in Thailand). While the driving in Thailand is admittedly crazy, once you get used to it you realize that it is incredibly organized form of complete chaos.

Keep in mind that according to Thai law you should have an international scooter license in order to drive one. With that being said, no one listens to that law. If you do get caught in a road block or get pulled over for whatever reason don’t worry. You will just be forced to pay the cops off.

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A typical Thai gas station

When scootering around Phuket we got caught in a road block. A mere $20 CAD payoff later and we were free to go. We were given a note that said we no longer had to pay if we fell into anymore trouble.

There is one catch: crashing the bike. If you crash your bike the fees they will charge you are astronomical. We traveled with a friend who crashed his bike and had to pay 16,000 THB ($640 CAD) for a few scratches and a broken mirror. Ouch. Be sure to take a video of the bike before you rent. This way you can protect yourself. You will have proof of the condition when you return the bike.

Thailand is one wild ride no matter which form of transportation you choose. With trust and some common sense you are bound to leave smiling and with a great story to tell.

Traveling to Bali? Believe it or not, the transportation through Bali is quite similar to Thailand! Read about it here.

Have you ever been to Thailand? If so I am sure you have stories, share them below!