Whenever it’s time to explore a new province in Thailand, I always prefer renting a car as it makes exploring so much easier and you can have to freedom to fix your own schedule. Frankly speaking, Bangkok city is the most convenient in terms of transporation as you can easily get a taxi, call a Grab or just take the BTS/MRT. Once you are out of Bangkok, gettting a taxi becomes a challenge and unless you hire a driver with a car/van, it’s really quite difficult to explore or get around.
Having rented cars in Bangkok so many times, I thought it would be good to share with you guys some tips on what you need to take note when renting a car in Thailand.
#1 Minimum Age
For most car rental companies, the minimum age is 21 while some require 23. Drivers need to have at least a year of driving experience.
#2 International Driving Permit
You need to present your Driving License together with an International Driving Permit (IDP). After collecting the car, be sure to have the IDP with you at all times because during road blocks, it is compulsory to show it. In Singapore, you can head to Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) to apply your IDP. Bring along your NRIC, Driving License and S$20. Wait for about 10 minutes and you can collect your IDP.
#3 Credit Card
Reputable car rental companies in Thailand usually requires a credit card for the payment and deposit of the car rental. Without it, you basically can forget about renting a car unless you go to those the local shops that are smaller in scale.
#4 Type of Cars to Rent
It really depends on your requirement. I personally have rented all range of cars such as Nissan March, Toyota Altis, Toyota Vios, Honda Civic, Honda Accord and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. If budget is a concern, then the cheapest you can get is usually a Toyota Vios. I don’t really like driving very light cars such as Nissan March and it’s not stable and especially during wet road conditions it may skid.
When going to Hua Hin, it’s ok to drive mid range cars such as Toyota Altis & Honda Civic as the weight is alright and they provide the comfort you require. As for Khao Yai, I prefer driving high cars such as Mitsubishi Pajero Sport or Toyota Fortuner because of the road conditions. On some roads, there are many potholes and it might be a challenge if you car is too low.
Toyota Altis to Khao Yai
Honda Civic to Hua Hin
Honda Accord to Pattaya / Hua Hin / Khao Yai
#5 Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW)
It is highly recommended to upgrade to the SCDW insurance for that peace of mind. It usually starts from 150 THB/day, depending on the car rental company. With that “super insurance”, you won’t have to worry even if the car gets hurt when it’s not your fault.
Here’s my true and recent experience.
Having rented from this car company for at least 5 times, everytime the insurance is upgraded to SCDW. Most of the time, nothing happens because but one day, when returning the car, they found some issues with the tyre and wanted to charge me for it.
Thankfully, the system indidcated that we had upgraded the insurance and hence there won’t be any additional charges.
Do take note that the normal insurance that usually comes “Free-of-Charge” doesn’t cover the damage of the tyres and should there be a problem with the tyre, you could be paying anything from 5000 THB onwards.
So, upgrade for the peace of mind.
#6 Rental Contract
Be sure to go through the rental contract properly. Double check with the staff on the breakdown hotlines.
#7 Car Inspection
The car inspection has to be done in detail because it can be costly if they find any faults with the car. Be sure to go around the car to mark down all the damages, scratches and dents. Here are some common spots.
#8 Take Photos
It is very important to take photos of the car, covering as many angles as possible. It serves as evidence when something happens. We recommend you to take photos of the tyres too just in case you still don’t want to upgrade to SCDW!
#9 Fuel Tank
If the rental company gives you a full tank of gas, you will also have to return with a full tank of gas, otherwise be prepared to pay additonal charges.
#10 Returning the car
Typically, if you collect the car at 9am, you should also return the car at 9am. You should also return to the same location unless you have specified earlier. Some rental companies have promotions which allow you to return 4 hours later. Always double check with the rental company on this.