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In Thailand everyone drives on the left hand side of the road the same as the UK,  or at least most people do!

If you are planning on hiring a motorbike in Phuket here a few pointers on keeping on the right side of the law.

Police Check Points

Whilst you will see many locals and a few holidaymakers driving motorcycles with no helmets, a helmet is in fact mandatory.

There are police road blocks throughout the island and if you get stopped without an helmet expect an on the spot fine of between 500 and 1000 thai baht.

Get stopped without a valid driving license on your person for the vehicle you are driving and you can expect the same on the spot fixed penalty fine of between 500 and 1000 baht.

It is always better to carry an International Drivers Permit along with your valid driving license. These can be obtained from your own country before you leave quite cheaply.


In conclusion it is best not to drive a scooter or motorbike under the influence of alcohol whilst in Thailand.

Get stopped at a police checkpoint, especially at night and the chances are you will be asked to blow into a breathalyser.

The legal limits in Thailand are far less than the legal limits in the US and the UK.

According to the Department of Land Transport, the law states that drivers who have had their licenses for over five years are allowed to have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.05% when behind the wheel, while newer drivers are only allowed to have a BAC of 0.02%. Like many other countries, this is detected via a Breathalyzer owned by the police.

Violators will face either a hefty 60,000 THB fine and/or a 6-month prison sentence. Additionally, they may also get their licenses permanently revoked and be required to complete a set number of community service hours. If a driver is a Foreign National, they may also risk deportation, depending on the severity of the case.

If you do find yourself to be on the wrong side of the law, it is best to contact your embassy and consulate imediately and ask for an attourney who speaks Thai and understands the law.


Small motorbikes and scooters including rental and haire are covered by compulsory government insurance which is a legal requirement. The cover however is very basic and if you do have an accident then be prepared to pay. The compulsory motor insurance for cars or motorbike covers only bodily injury of road-accident victims. The basic coverage for medical expenses is no more than B30,000 per person and B35,000 per person for dismemberment. It is also worth checking if your travel insurance covers you in the event of an accident on a motorbike or scooter, check the exclusions.

Property damage is not covered. So in the event of any accident damage, repairs to the rental scooter or motorbike will be re-imbursed to the rental Company by the hirer.