Guide to Driving in Thailand

In the past few years Thailand has become an excellent destination for tourists. This is the reason why the traffic is not that smooth, especially during the hot summer days and you need to know the basics in terms of driving restrictions and permissions. A rule of thumb is to stay on the left side on the road; any overtakes should be performed on the right. The road infrastructure is great, especially in large cities and on highways. If you’re heading towards remote, rural areas, you might encounter roads that are in poor condition. There are several toll roads around Singapore and Bangkok but the fee is usually low. Make sure you change some money in the local currency. Traffic congestions are something normal especially during rush hours. However, Thai drivers are not going to lose their cool. When it comes to road signs, they are often in English, especially in touristic areas. However, you will encounter some signs that are in Thai so it may be useful for you to have a basic understanding of the key words. Parking around the streets of Thailand is not an easy mission. Sometimes drivers park their car in areas where normally parking is not allowed, but since they’re not disturbing the traffic flow, it is considered a normal thing. However, you should try and park only in specially designed places. Park-o-meters are a normal sight across Bangkok and Singapore.

Police cars in Thailand are often painted in white with black or dark red hood and trunk. The red light beacons and the national logo on the sides are distinctive marks. You could be pulled over just for a routine documents check or for a breath-alyser test.

Essential Driving Information

  • Unlike most of the countries in the world, in Thailand only the front seat passenger and the driver are required to use the seatbelt at all times.
  • An international driver’s permit is required and must be carried at all times. But this permit is available only for 6 months; after that you must apply for a Thai license.
  • The use of a mobile phone while driving is not allowed in Thailand. There are some serious fines for the ones who break the law.
  • Dipped beam must be used when the visibility conditions are not perfect. Driving with the high beam or with the fog lights when the sky is clear can lead to fines.
Speed Limits
Town/City: 50kmh (30mph)
Main Road: 90kmh (55mph)
Motorway: 120kmh (75mph)
Emergency Phone Numbers
Police: 191
Tourist police: 1155
Ambulance: 1554
Firefighters: 199
General Information (as of 2014)
Min Driving Age: 18
Alcohol Limit: 0.05%
Petrol Price: €1.09/litre
Diesel Price: €0.67/litre
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