Driving licence

How do Thai people drive in Pattaya?
( Driving license in Pattaya)

Driving in Thailand is challenging and dangerous. Due to the mad volume of traffic and the fact that its roadways are not well maintained and rather confusing.
People who have the need for speed on their motorbikes or in their cars may want to consider that sometimes there are vehicles on the road that carry a whole family. Police will pull you over and find you.

Police set up checkpoints from time to time and fine Thai and Foreign violators alike. In fact, some Police have proper hang out spots at these checkpoints. Either they set up camping chairs or have a little restaurant that serves coffee. It should go without saying, but in a country, like Thailand, it’s important to ensure that you’re always wearing your seat belt. Whilst Thai law only mandates that front-seat passengers wear a seat belt, given the state of the roads and the often awful driving abilities of those using them, it’s better to wear a belt wherever you’re sat to protect you in the event of an accident. On top of this, there are several other laws you’ll need to be aware of, from turning left on red to the speed limits on different roads. By familiarising yourself with the rules before using them you can mitigate any chance of having an accident.
There are many cars, motorbike, and jeep rental firms, including many international firms. While it is legal to drive in Thailand with a valid licence from most countries, it’s worth noting that most companies will not give you a car or provide you with insurance without an international driver’s licence.

This licence and a valid passport must be carried at all times while driving.

Driving Licences

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Does Thailand drive on the left or right?

You  must know that in Thailand people drive on the left side of the road. On many rural roads, you’ll occasionally happen upon motorcycles, cars and even 12-wheel trucks maneuvering against one-way traffic.

Here’s seemingly no lack of them. Many Thais have no awareness of road rules and probably don’t even have a driver’s license. It is extremely easy to pass a driving test in Thailand.
You also have:- drunk drivers.
– teenagers.
– Baht bus drivers on energy drinks (and that’s IF it’s an energy drink).
– tourists with no Thai driving experience.
– drunk pedestrians.
That’s driving in Pattaya: People will- pull out in front of you without looking.
– stop for no apparent reason.
– ride their motorbike at 50 KM an hour with one hand while talking on the mobile phone.
– ride the wrong way up the road into oncoming traffic.
– pass you on either side at full speed.
– weave through traffic like immortals.
– and much more impressive.

If you ask a Thai why he prefers to drive on the wrong side of the road, against the traffic on the “emergency” lane, rather than take the next U-turn which is 2 kilometers away, his answer will probably be somewhere along the line of “ki kiaet pai U-turn”. If you ask this Thai girl why she doesn’t wear a helmet, maybe she will reply “ki kiaet sai”. Now ask this truck driver why he didn’t put on his turn signal before he turned and he may reply “ki kiaet peut”.
”Ki kiaet” means lazy in Thai and it is a derogatory word, like most words beginning by ki-. I’m not saying Thai people are lazy, but we can safely say that, generally speaking, they drive in a lazy way. It means that they choose the easiest, smoothest way to do things, not the safest, or not the most considerate. So I think that the “ki kiaet” attitude, whether you choose to translate it as lazy, or easy, or just “ki kiaet”, is a good way to understand the way Thai people drive. They are not lazy people, but they drive lazily, they choose the easy way to do things. That’s why you see them drive on the wrong side of the road instead of driving 2 kilometers to the next U-turn, that’s why they can enter a gas station through the exit or exit through the entrance, and that’s why they do all the crazy and dangerous things you see them doing.

How can you get driving license?
(Drivers license requirements)
(Assistance Fee: 3,500 Baht)

Expats planning to drive a car in Thailand should apply for a Thai driving license. This is the only way to ensure that you can drive legally in the country and are fully covered by a car insurance policy. It can also serve as an ID card issued by the government.
If you can not read and/nor understand the Thai language, you are allowed to bring an interpreter to fill the forms and translate the possible instruction class and tests.
Valid Passport with Valid Non-immigrant Visa
Signed copies of the passport’s first page, the page with the current non-immigrant visa, the page with the last entry stamp and the TM-card.
A certified letter of address from the applicant’s embassy, or from the Immigration Bureau (the document can not be older than 30 days).
Tip: The letter from the embassy is the fastest option, but the immigration office will provide this service for free. However, it will take them 3-6 weeks to complete and an officer from your local police station will visit your place of residence for verification. If you are working in Thailand: the blue workbook, better known as your work permit, can replace either of these documents and serve as address verification.
– A doctor’s certificate stating that the applicant is in good health, both physically and mentally (standard forms are available from most clinics and should not be more than 30 days old).
– 2 photos, 1 x 1 inch and not older than 6 months (photo service is available on the premises).
– Valid international driver’s license plus signed photocopy or translated regular driving licence from the applicant’s home country, certified by Embassy or consulate. (if available).
– Note that 1 set of these documents is required per licence applications. However, when applying for both a car and a motorcycle license, an extra copy of the doctor’s certificate and the letter of the address will suffice for the second application.
You need to have these documents signed.

All that being said – have fun with your own wheels in Pattaya!

CALL US – 081 865 8910
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2019-11-26T16:26:36+07:00
Last updated on: 11.08.2020 – 22:42

12 Comments

  1. Jenisse July 1, 2019 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    My 5 year Thai driving licence is up for renewal. Now I stay here on a tourist visa. Some report that they get renewal on a TR, other say you need a NON Imm visa. What is the latest renewal requirement from Pattaya Land Transportation office? TR visa ok, or must have NON Imm visa ? Medical certificate? Residence Permit from Immigration ? Other? Thank you i advice.

    • J&E Concierge July 2, 2019 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Hello, we can provide you all information you need, and all you have to do is to get in touch with us as soon as you can. Thank you

  2. BellaMaitre April 27, 2019 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Hi, my 2 year driving license will expire next month. Has anyone renewed recently and can share some experience? How long will it take? What documents are needed? Thank you

    • J&E Concierge April 28, 2019 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      Hello, please feel free to get in touch with us and we will help you understand and reach any information you need. Thank you

  3. AlianThai January 10, 2019 at 10:44 am - Reply

    As my 5 year driver license go expire soon, and not knowing the latest eventual changed requirements for documents especially from immigration ones, it would be welcome someone enlighten me? I have both 5 years (bike & car), having a valid int. drivers license (last year renewed in home country ), Pattaya/Jomtien same address 8 years & all that time ret. extension holder.

    • J&E Concierge January 11, 2019 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      Hello, we can provide you all information you need, and all you have to do is to get in touch with us as soon as you can. Thank you

  4. WisperDark September 15, 2018 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I shall be applying for a driving licence when I arrive in Pattaya next week and understand I need a letter confirming my address in Thailand, can someone please clarify if this letter has to come from immigration in Pattaya or the British Embassy in Bangkok. Thank you very much

    • J&E Concierge September 16, 2018 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Hello please feel free to get in touch with us and we will help you understand and reach any information you need and also get your motorbike licence. Thank you

  5. EnglishMan July 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Can anyone tell me where I can get an International Driving Licence in Pattaya, and how much they cost (and how much hassle I can expect)? I have Thai and British licences, but need an International one for other countries. Many thanks.

    • J&E Concierge July 14, 2018 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      Hello, we can provide you all information you need, and all you have to do is to get in touch with us as soon as you can. Thank you

  6. David100 May 5, 2018 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Can anybody tell me if a international driving license and my UK driving license will cover me driving a motorbike in Pattaya. Thanks

    • J&E Concierge May 6, 2018 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Hello David, we can provide you all information you need, and all you have to do is to get in touch with us as soon as you can. Thank you

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