International Driver's License

mtbe

Member
Aug 28, 2011
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What's the rule on IDL? My wife and I will be renting a bike out of Chaing Main and we have no problem getting an IDL. However, my brother-in-law is coming and he is from Colombia.

An IDL is over $100 in Colombia, which is a lot of $$ for him....(he's already probably in to much just getting to Thailand!).

Are IDLs needed to rent a bike? Can one be had in Thailand?
 

David Learmonth

Ol'Timer
Apr 23, 2006
513
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As far as I know, an IDL is required officially. Though I know a few who have just shown their UK licence to police officers & had no problem. It is my understanding that rental shops would require an IDL + evidence of official licence of country of origin. I see no way how he can obtain an IDL in Thailand - to the best of my knowledge it can only be obtained in your country of origin i.e. the country of your driving licence.
 

cdrw

Ol'Timer
Oct 6, 2006
572
1
16
An IDL (actually called Intern'l Driver's Permit) is valid in countries outside the country where is was issued. Thai IDL not valid for use in Thailand.
Many rental shop don't need an IDL, just may want to see your home county license, but they usually will hold your passport as security.
 

Pgt066

Ol'Timer
Jan 31, 2005
137
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Been stopped by the MIB in BKK plenty of times on a bike, and in a Truck. They could have cared less what license I gave them, as long it was something. I have given them both IDL and USA license, and most of the time they did not even want to see that IDL.
 

Captain Wally

Ol'Timer
Jan 14, 2010
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I've rented from 3 different places in CM and never been asked to produce any sort of licence before taking a bike. Been pulled over by BIB twice and my Australian licence accepted. I have an IDP (mainly to cover my @rse insurance wise) but have never been asked to produce it.
 

Tom Forde

Ol'Timer
Jul 6, 2004
355
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I totally agree with Capt Wally.
I arrived in CNX over 12 months ago and went to the Registration dept to do a driving test.
I failed... they do a colour blind test in Thailand.
I went again and they give me a licence. I recieved a phone call from the department to go back and do the test again.
The chief of the dept wanted some money... I told him to f..k off and walked out the door.
Now riding on my Aussie licence and also got onto a business in Pattaya who will give you a International licence for around 2500bht, and it is good for 5 years, weather it is real or not ... this is Thailand.
Iwill try to find their email address id you are interested, anything is possible in the LOS if you have money
 

Pgt066

Ol'Timer
Jan 31, 2005
137
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Just for education purposes...

Maybe someone can give me a good reason from personal experience.....

The way I see it. Even if I did have a Thai License, what advantage would I ever have to show it to a cop versus a license from another country? Why would I want to have anything that goes into their system, and possibly tracked?

What (incident) fine could be so dreadful that I could not just pay it and be on my way.

Right now I just don't see it. Is this a hang up from our western "Got to be 100% Legal" upbringing? I mean there are guys on this forum riding unregistered, and illegally imported bikes. I have Green and Blue books on a Tourist Visa. This is Thailand.
 

Changnoi1

Ol'Timer
Nov 21, 2010
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Well legally I need a local DL when you stay somewhere longer as 90days .... e.g. when you are not a tourist anymore.
And yes TIT but does that make it Disney Land?
Once living here with the idea of longterm future here it might become in handy to be more or less in the system.

For me it is much easier to get a Thai DL as to get a new DL from my home country. And I use it many times for all kind of other things like avoiding paying 200 Thai baht entrance fee at a National Park.

I am sure at your home country you can ride a bike without license or registration, so would you? I do not and I not see any reason to be different here. Beside that when you are in a accident and not having a legal DL you might be in trouble.

Chang Noi
 

Pgt066

Ol'Timer
Jan 31, 2005
137
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Getting into a National Park for the Thai rate is about the only thing I think I would use a Thai Drivers license for, and about the only advantage I have heard so far on having a Thai License.

Sure I would keep it as an ace in the hole IF I actually needed it, but my point is. What advantage does it possibly have in showing a cop your Thai License versus your home country license if the Police really could care less, as long as you show SOMETHING? Personally, I want as little as possible for them to keep track of me in this country. I have gotten stopped by the Police too many times to count, and not once have they even asked me for my passport, or a copy of my passport.

I have been living here for 9 years as a "Tourist". If I wanted to live in a black and white place where the "Rules are the Rules" I would. Luckily I don't have to.
 

LivinLOS

Ol'Timer
Mar 11, 2008
534
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Pgt066;271468 wrote: Just for education purposes...

Maybe someone can give me a good reason from personal experience.....

The way I see it. Even if I did have a Thai License, what advantage would I ever have to show it to a cop versus a license from another country? Why would I want to have anything that goes into their system, and possibly tracked?

What (incident) fine could be so dreadful that I could not just pay it and be on my way.

Right now I just don't see it. Is this a hang up from our western "Got to be 100% Legal" upbringing? I mean there are guys on this forum riding unregistered, and illegally imported bikes. I have Green and Blue books on a Tourist Visa. This is Thailand.

Insurance can refuse to pay for any unlicensed driver.. Often also medical / travel insurance will only cover legally licensed drivers. Plus in the event you have an accident and (god forbid) hurt or kill someone, do you think your going to need to pay higher bribes when your legal or when your not.

The IDP is only 'legal' for a short term, you cannot be here years using an IDP 'legally'. As far as the local enforcement goes, a buddy used to show a video store membership card (which had his photo on it) taking the piss and it was usually accepted. Just because it was doesnt make video store membership cards legal.
 

daewoo

Ol'Timer
Dec 6, 2005
821
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In response to the original post... the fee for not having an IDP is going to be about $10 on the side of the road... if you get stopped and don't get let off just showing his home licence... I have never had to show any licence yet, (have only bought an IDP once, $60 in Aus)... no hire shop has ever asked for one...

I only got it 'cause I was concerned about the hassle of trying to sort it on the side of the road, and concern over insurance (for medical costs for other people) in the case of an accident... In Australia, insurance companies seem to make it a sport to get out of insurance payouts for the tiniest reason...

Cheers,
Darryl
 

Ricohoc

Ol'Timer
Aug 15, 2011
117
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Before living here permanently (if there is such a thing) and when I was traveling back and forth twice a year, I always got an IDL from AAA just to avoid the hassle with the police at all of their traffic stops. I found it to be a small price to pay. It was always accepted, and I was thanked and sent on my way.

I have had some friends who have just used their DL from the states, but police were not consistent in their acceptance of it.