Learners License

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by jasonator, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. jasonator

    jasonator New Member


    On browsing this forum.. i can see it has a wealth of information about South East Asia riding.. looks great! A friend and I are travelling to Thailand in a few weeks and plan on doing some riding around Chiang Mai. I live in Australia and have my Learners License here.. but am not sure whether that is ok for Thailand. From some reports, you dont even need a license in Thailand for bikes..

    It would be excellent if someone could clarify this.

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  3. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Hi Jason,

    I agree 100% with what Happy Feet has said. Even with just a learners licence, get an IDP to make things easier on yourself in case you get stopped by the cops.

    I'm a partner in a rental shop here in Chiang Mai and from my point of view, we do not insist on a licence, rather we are more concerned about your ability to ride the bike, thus giving us an element of security about a) your safety and b) we get our bike back in one piece!

    I would recommend that you initially rent a "twist & go" auto scooter for a day or two so as you can get a feel for the traffic and how things work here and then, if you are comfortable, move up to a bigger bike.


  4. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    do they issue International license if you only have a learners permit?

    I doubt it ?
  5. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    The guys above speak the truth...

    Most of the hire places only care that you have 800baht/day for the hire, and that you will leave your passport as a deposit, other than that, as with most things in Thailand... it is your personal responsibility... if you want to hire a bike, who are they to argue...

    I know Mr Mechanic had no problem hiring me a bike a couple of years ago, even tho I couldn't start it, and stalled it about 5 times just trying to ride off...

    You might want to do as Pikey suggested and get a scooter for a couple of days until you get used to the way that the traffic works... depends on how confident you are on a bike, and how experienced you are...

    I have never been stopped by the cops in Thailand, andmost of the time you will get away with it by bluffing, or showing them you Aussie licence and library card or work ID as your "IDP", but the guys in Chiang Mai might be getting smarter... remember a portion of the 'fines' go straight into their pockets, so it is in their interest to get you...

    The big thing is, you are usually only covered by your (Aussie) travel insurance if you are licenced to ride that bike in Aus... i.e. under 250 or LAMS bike, no pillion... if you have a get off, medical costs in Thailand can be high, especially if you need evac to BKK or something... alternatively, Tony at einsure didn't seem to concerned about it, so maybe get additional insurance through him...

    I have never had an IDP, because I think it is a rort that NRMA charge you double if you are not a member... a common phrase to remember in Thailand, UP TO YOU...

  6. Noel Akers

    Noel Akers Ol'Timer

    Jasonater, do yourself a big favour, try to get an Oz licence and IDP before you get here and also as much experience as possible.
    Northern Thailand is brilliant riding country, however you will be sharing the roads with everyone from locals who have no knowledge of western type road rules, to moronic tourists with a belly full of beer and shorts and thongs being their idea of bike gear. Like Happyfeet , I have seen some horrific sights. A healthy sense of paranoia is quite handy here. Also remember if a farang is involved in an accident , he will almost always be blamed.
    Ride to live , you'll have a great time in Thailand. Fellow aussie.
  7. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Hey man, re-read what I wrote, I was agreeing with you... I even wrote "The guys above speak the truth"...

    He (assuming it is a he) may only be on his learners, but been riding motorcross since he was 5, so might not really need to go for a scooter if he is confident riding the bike, but inexperienced with Thai traffic...

    Whether or not a place will hire him a bike even though he only has his L's isn't really a question, if he has the baht they will... they don't see it as their problem... he has to take responsibility...

    I said that his Aussie insurance won't cover him unless he is on a bike he is allowed to ride in Aus, so if he wants to do more he needs to get additional insurance...

    I was just saying that the IDP probably isn't the biggest concern... taking responsibility for what he chooses to do i.e. get a scoot if not confident, don't expect the hire shop to make that decision for him, and making sure he is covered for medicals...

    I've seen plenty of black high heels in the middle of the road while some bloddied schoolgirl is off on the footpath waiting hours for medical attention to arrive, or a ute to take her to hospital... a $60 piece of paper from the the guy who changes flat tyres in the rain isn't going to protect him from the drunken pickup driver... just saying that in Thailand 'the man' isn't going to tell you what you can and can't do...

  8. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    No matter how experienced a rider you are , it pays to ride as if every other road user is a homicidal nutter out to get you and keep a close eye out for dogs,buffalo, snakes, elephants and dopey pedestrians as well a hundreds of other potential hazards .

    Pieces of paper just satisfy the legal requirements its your brain and observational skills that will allow you to ride safely and have an enjoyable trip. Oh a a good dose of luck sometimes.
  9. jasonator

    jasonator New Member

    Thanks for all of the replies. I have been riding motorbikes since i was 7, so i done plenty of riding in Australia. I am getting my P's before i head to Thailand, so i will have an IDP (which my travel insurance requires). I have seen some pretty nasty accidents in Australia involving bikes and 95% of the time it comes down to the other person involved and it being their fault.

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