Thai cities generally have extremely congested traffic but good public transportation, meaning that hiring a car is not recommended for travel in solely urban areas. However, renting a car in Thailand is a great way to enjoy more flexibility and get off the beaten track to explore other areas of the country. Popular self-drive destinations include islands like Phuket (where taxis are very expensive) and the north of the country around Chiang Mai.
Toll roads are common in Thailand and usually charge about ฿40-50 ($1.25-1.60) per vehicle. Most are cash only, although the expressways around Bangkok require electronic payment. Be aware of blue-marked lanes, which are for vehicles with an easy-pay pass only. If the toll is not paid, the car rental agency will typically deduct the cost plus an administration fee from your credit card.
Children under 12 may not sit in the front seat of a vehicle in Thailand and should also be restrained in an age-appropriate seat. These can be rented from most agencies for an additional fee, but to get the correct size and to guarantee availability, it is strongly recommended to book in advance. An international agency like Avis charges in the neighborhood of ฿200 ($6.40) a day for a child booster seat.
Car agencies typically do not allow drivers to rent a car in Thailand and drive into neighboring countries like Cambodia or Malaysia. Many, such as Hertz and Avis, also prohibit their vehicles from being taken on car ferries to islands belonging to Thailand. If planning to make any border or sea crossings, whether international or domestic, always check with the rental agency in advance.
Economy (Hyundai Accent or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Thailand.
Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car hire companies in Thailand are Europcar (9.5, 6 reviews), National (8.7, 4 reviews), and Thrifty (8.3, 8 reviews).
Take a look at our extensive car hire location map to find the best car hire deals near you.
Based on car searches on KAYAK. The most popular cities to hire a car in Thailand are Udon Thani (42% of total searches of users looking to rent a car in Thailand). Bangkok (26%) and Phuket City (16%).
On average hiring a car in Thailand costs £122 per week (£17 per day).
On average a car hire in Thailand costs £523 per month (£17 per day).
Driving in Thailand is on the left-hand side and is not without its hazards. Watch out for congested and chaotic traffic in cities, while in rural areas, drivers need to be aware of potholes, street dogs, and people unexpectedly crossing the street. Monsoon rains can make road surfaces slippery. It is recommended to avoid driving at night, maintain a defensive attitude, and get accustomed to accepted local maneuvers like tailgating.
To rent a car in Thailand, drivers should usually be at least 21 years old, although some agencies like National will accept drivers from 20 years and up. An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is always required, along with a valid domestic driver’s license.
Petrol stations in Thailand can vary considerably in style depending on the location, from familiar-looking ones in urban areas and on highways to small roadside kiosks in rural areas. It is always advised to have cash on hand when paying for fuel. Prices are around ฿37 ($1.20) for a liter of petrol and ฿28 ($0.90) for a liter of diesel. By the gallon, that comes to $4.54 for petrol and $3.40 for diesel.
Although it may seem as though many drivers speed in Thailand, fines for traffic offenses can be high, and roadside police patrols are not uncommon. Always stick to the general speed limit or any roadside signs that state differently. Commonly, you will find a speed limit of 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas, 90 km/h (55 mph) on open roads, and 120 km/h (74 mph) on highways.
The rates displayed include all taxes and fees for hire cars for the class listed and were found by KAYAK users in the last hours. Hires are subject to change and may not be available on all hire cars listed or dates of travel. Some hire car providers charge additional fees for other services (GPS, infant car seats, etc.). Please check the hire cars providers' sites.