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Basics Bureaucracy Living in Thailand

Driver’s License in Thailand

The times where you could “buy” a Driver’s License for 500,- Baht are over since the ousted Prime Minister Taksin tightened the rules for officials. To get a driver’s license today, you will have to go to the Land Transport Office (LTO), usually at the municipal hall and bring the following documents:

  • Your Passport with copies each of the main page and visa page. 2 copies each if you want to get a driver’s licence for motorbike and car.
  • Bring a Health Certificate from a Thai doctor (costs only a few Baht, easy)
  • Certificate of residence from the Immigration Bureau
  • Pictures will be made at the LTO

At the LTO you have to do the following:

Watch a video about the Thai traffic laws which takes up to 2 hours. So go there early 9:00 am!

After the video, you’ll have to do the “written exam” at a computer: 50 Questions for motor bike, 50 for car. You may buy an English book with all the traffic rules before and study.

Now you also have to prove your driving ability on a circuit with traffic signs, crossings and you have to show how to park your car into a parking space. You may bring your own car or motor bike along otherwise you can rent one there just for the test.

If you passed everything you may pay the fee of about 200 Baht per licence and they will take a computerized picture of you and issue the licence.

If you fail any of the tests, you may try again the next day. Good Luck!

Renewal of Driver’s Licence

Your first driving licence will be valid for one year. Then you’ll have to renew it.

With a Non Immigrant Visa in your passport, the renewal will be good for 5 years, with a Tourist Visa only 2 years.

A few tipps on how to drive in Thailand:

  • Thailand has left side traffic. You’ll learn that quickly but watch out when changing to another road or at night, you easily end up on the wrong side. If you are not used to left side
  • Do not expect reasonable action in driving on the part of the locals. They start driving without looking back or caring about others. They overtake at high speed, even when there is oncoming traffic.
  • If you want to turn right or left, look twice! They will overtake you on both sides if necessary.
  • If there is a crash, the foreigner is almost always in charge. That’s because he’s the only one involved who can pay for the damage. He might also be the only one who has an insurance.