GT Riders' Handy Guide - Thai Motorcycle Test in Chiang Mai

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by jimboy, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. With all of north Thailand to explore, where to start? With the Thai bike test, of course!

    For those interested in a Thai motorcycle license, it's a good idea. Most Thai vehicle insurance policies are valid only if the driver holds a current Thai driving license. A Thai driving license also works as proof of ID for the "boys in brown", is more waterproof than your "smart" chipped passport, and works for getting the Thai price at national parks. And the holograms are groovy.

    To get a motorcycle license in Chiang Mai, you will need:

    - A Proof of Address/Residency certificate. 500 baht. Head to your friendly Immigration Department at 71 Moo 3, Airport Road, Suthep. Driving from town or from Airport Plaza, the Immigration compound is on the left, a couple of plots before the left turn into the airport car park.

    You will need your house/condo rental agreement, or your residence book, photocopies of your passport (main page, visa page, and TM6 exit docket), and two colour photos. A photocopying service and photo service are both available in the Immigration Department compound. Consider preparing photocopies and photos in advance of your visit, in case either the photocopier or camera has broken down.


    As you come through the main gate into the Immigration compound, head for the low level office building on the right. You do not have to join the large queue of those seeking visa extensions, et cetera. Instead, pick up a "Proof of Address certificate" form which, at the time of writing, was available at the far right end of the Immigration counter. Fill in the form, and hand to an official over the counter. If you have any questions, do ask the friendly bureaucrats, they are helpful!

    A Proof of Address/Residency certificate will take around thirty to forty-five minutes. Sit back, relax, and wait to be called for your certificate. If you're thirsty, or hungry, there's a cafe outside.

    Note 1: A residency certificate can be issued by your embassy, usually for a much higher price.

    Note 2: Up-to-date forms are available for free at the Immigration Office. Alternatively a slightly older version can be found on the Thai Immigration Department website

    - Medical certificate. 100 baht. This is a straight-forward test of blood pressure and lung function. It takes fifteen minutes, and is available from Chiang Mai Klaimor Hospital (see photo, below) on the Hang Dong Road (Road 108) as you head for the driving test center. Look out for a twenty metre row of mopeds parked on the curb what looks like a hospital. It's not hard to find.


    Walk in, turn left, smile and say, "Sawadee krap" to the genial nurses behind the counter. There's a "Medical Certificates" sign nearby, in case you're lost, but you won't be. It's all straightforward, and depending on how busy the doctor is, it'll take between fifteen to thirty minutes.

    After picking up your medical certificate continue to travel south on the Hang Dong road to the driving test centre (Google map reference 18.747529,98.962591), first turn on the left after Rattana Sakha. Officially this is called the "Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office", but the road-side signs are in Thai.


    As you head south on the Hang Dong road the Transport Office compound is on the left. Look out for a stretch of painted purple railings (see photo, above), immediately opposite the end of Chiang Mai airport runway (which should be on your right). If you miss the turn, you will reach Big C supermarket, also on the left.

    Some people ask, "Can you drive to your driving test?" It seemed to be what most people were doing when I was there. :smile1:


    Park, and follow the crowd walking in and out of the main building (above). For driving licenses, enter the building and take the staircase on your left to the first floor. There are help desks at the main entrance, and at the top of the stairs in the driver licensing hall.

    The Thai Motorcycle Test
    For your Thai driving license you will need your passport, a valid visa (NOT an issued-on-arrival tourist visa), your national driving license and/or an international driving license, the residency and medical certificates (above), and some cash. The motorcycle license costs around 200 baht, a car driving license costs around 300 baht.

    If you have a valid national driving license, either car or motorcycle, the Traffic Department will issue a Thai driving license without you having to take the practical driving test. If not, you will need to take:

    - The colour blindness test. Stand fifteen feet from the wall and call out the colours the examiner indicates on a colour chart. "Green!" "Red!" "Yellow!" You get the idea. The test takes all of two minutes.

    - The reaction test. Comes immediately after the colour blindness test. Sit in a chair and react to a change in a coloured light by using a foot pedal brake. Hard to fail. The test takes all of sixty seconds.

    - The theory test. This is computer based, and takes place in a large classroom. It consists of a thirty question, multiple choice (each question, four choices) test of the Thai Highway Code. You can fail, but you have sixty minutes in which to pass...

    Armed with no revision, and after twenty plus years of driving, I failed the theory test on first take, and passed on the second. That's right. You can re-take the test as many times as you can manage in the alloted sixty minutes. It took about fifteen minutes on the first go. My advice is to read the questions carefully, answer them quickly, and at the end of the test, should you fail, PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE ANSWERS the computer gives to the questions you failed. Remember them. Take the test again. :D

    Now for the practical motorcycle test.

    After passing the theory test, the examiner will direct you outside, "Right, then left", to an area away from the main building within the compound where the practical driving tests are held. In Chiang Mai, driving tests are done in batches of ten vehicles, be they
    cars or motorcycles. At the outdoor test building, hand your paperwork to the nice man behind the desk, and await your turn.

    The motorcycle test consists of riding around a short course with right turns, a halt, a cone slalom, a left turn, and a ride across a narrow "beam" (a white painted line circa five meters long). I'm not sure of the precise instructions for the test as they were all in Thai. Nonetheless if you follow the riders in front of you, copy their actions, and add mirror check, indicator, and a "head turn vision check", you'll pass. None of the riders I followed failed. Most didn't wear helmets, foot protection, gloves, et cetera. Just don't "dab" your foot on the ground. Who knows, that might be a fail point.

    After the practical test the examiner will hand back your papers. Return to the main building, to the hall upstairs, and hand your papers to the help desk at the top of the stairs (where all your fellow tyros are handing in their papers). Wait for around thirty minutes, during which you will pay for your licenses, and have another photograph taken, which will appear in your driving license(s) shortly thereafter.

    In terms of time, I left home at 9:30am and returned at 4:30pm, which included a two hour detour at lunchtime. That was on a Friday, with Monday, one of the busiest days. Try a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday for a quicker experience. Good luck!
  2. Jimboy
    :thumbup: Welcome to GT Rider & many thanks for the sparkling contribution.
    Some of you new guys are brilliant for seeing & writing up events that us older long term guys take for granted as mundane & boring. You make it sound fun.
    I'm pleased your enjoying GT Rider & have settled down alright in Chiang Mai. :thumbup:
    Your lunch detour was a pleasure for me too - nice meeting you.
  3. Photos are up! Four cloudy days in a row. It must be a record. :shock:

    If anyone has corrections or amendments for the Thai Motorcycle Test info, please feel free to PM me and I'll edit the post. The above was from memory.

    I didn't think of writing about the test until afterwards, mainly because it turned out to be quite fun. Perhaps it was the contrast with deadly serious Anglo-Saxon bureaucracies who like to ban smiling... :D
  4. This is a great post! I love the pictures and everything to make it super easy! Is there any possibility of getting a motorcycle license without living there, just on tourist visa? I would love to have a thai license and my wife should have one for the insurance. Thank you!
  5. This is the advantage of having a valid International DL and significantly cuts the time at the test centre.
    Your tabien baan also negates the need for a Letter of Residence which is required for those renting.

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