Biking Across Southeast Asia: How to Rent a Bike in Thailand
If you plan to rent a bike in Thailand, it’s definitely not as complex or intimidating as you might imagine. In fact, it’s all pretty simple! Although there are some key points to pay attention when renting a motorbike. Check out our top tips and you’ll be as boss as us. Here are five expert pointers to make your bike renting experience in Thailand a lot more chilled and focused.
1. Never hand over your passport!
Many rental bike shops in Thailand will try to take your passport as a deposit when renting, but you really don’t have to abide by that. Forget anything you’ve read elsewhere, don’t hand over your passport at any bike shop! It is illegal for shop owners to keep your passport but that won’t stop them trying. If you do leave your passport, you might find dishonest shop owners demanding money when you return their bike. Even if it is in perfect condition! Many bike rental services in Thailand will allow you to leave a cash deposit in lieu of your passport, so keep that in mind if there aren’t any other good (or affordable) shops nearby.
2. Take Photographic Evidence
Take photographic evidence (either photos or video) of the bike’s condition, before you touch it or even take off on it. You’ve now got proof in the event that the owner demands compensation for any damages to the bike before you rented it. If you do damage the bike, you will have to pay, but this should be just a couple of hundred baht for a couple of scratches. Seriously, don’t fall for the old scam of it costing several thousands of baht.
3. Weekly Motorbike Rentals Are Cheaper
Before renting a bike in Thailand, think about how long you’ll be sticking around. Weekly motorbike rentals are cheaper than renting for six days. Take the bike for an extra day and return it early. You’ll still have beer money to spare. Note to self: not worth mixing beers and bikes! Take some time out and discover some of the local flavour at one of the many coffee shops dotted around.
Make sure that you choose a rental shop that provides insurance. You want to be covered if you do have an accident. A bill of 50-200 baht up front is preferential to a major repair bill of 10,000 at the end of the day/week. Click here to check out Bodega’s insurance partner!
Note: Without a motorbike license in your home country, the majority of travel insurers won’t cover your medical expenses. Check before you ride!
5. Forget the Big Beasts
Stay away from the mighty bikes (not even talking Ducati Monsters here) especially if you don’t have a licence. Shop owners will try to convince you that you need a larger bike. It’s going to be less fuel efficient and thus more expensive. Do I need to remind you that it WILL be more dangerous. This is not the time to be big dicking around.
If you’re a more experienced driver, you might consider taking a stronger machine for the winding bike ride from Chiang Mai to Pai!