Renting a car in Thailand

The car rental experience in Thailand was a pleasant one. I was really impressed by the condition of the roads – wide, two lanes, level trunk roads just about everywhere. Very low volume traffic (in South Thailand), and few traffic lights. No speed camera, mostly. Thais are rather polite on the road (beyond comparison to Malaysia). Motorcyclists keep to the side. All these made for an ultra smooth and pleasant road trip.

Here’s how my rental experience went:

I rented from Sixt from Krabi airport, and it worked just the same as any international chain. The major chains are all present in Thailand. An International Driving Permit was not required. A 150% pre-authorization was done on the credit card. My rental rates were 999 Baht (S$40) per day for a Toyota Altis, which was quite affordable.

Toyota Altis with excellent fuel economy

The customary inspection of existing damage was done, after which, off we went. The car came fully topped up and had to be returned full as per normal. At the time of my rental, the regular 91 cost around 27 Baht per litre. Foreign credit cards (at least those from Singapore) are accepted at the petrol kiosks. They handle the filling and payment fully for you while you remain in your car, like in Taiwan. The attendants can mostly handle simple English.

Traffic signs giving general directions all came with English. Otherwise, the signs are in Thai, and if no graphic or number was included, it was impossible to guess what they mean. The speed limit was mostly not explicitly spelled out, and you’re just told to observe the “city limit” when entering towns, or to reduce speed around bends. Basically, you can drive at any speed. Many of the cars were doing 100km/h and above on the two lane trunk roads.

Prior to this, i have only been to Bangkok, and i can’t get an idea of the general traffic condition in Thailand from what i see in Bangkok. From this trip, however, i gather that Thailand is pretty safe and pleasant for driving about, and i have decided that i will do a road trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, someday.

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