Newbie's Driver's License Questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by letsryan, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. Hey all, I've looked over the site and haven't seen my particular questions addressed, but if this is old ground I apologize.

    First: I'm an American with a U.S. license for cars - not 'cycles - and an international driver's permit, also for cars (not sure if it's the '49 or '68, but it lists Thailand as one of the legit countries).

    So... will my permits allow me to get a Thai driving license for cars at least? (I'll be on a non-immigrant visa, which I know never used to be acceptable, but I've heard that the rules have changed recently).

    Assuming that I have to get a Thai 'cycle license, can anyone reccommend a school or place for lessons? I don't think I really need the practice (plenty of scooter riding in my current locale, Japan, and I was a snowmobile guide in the states) but then again, better safe than...

    If I get a Thai 'cycle license, will I need to bring a translator? Is the written test available in English? Could someone give me an idea of logistics?

    Finally, are there lower-powered bikes or scooters that I could use for riding around town (Chiang Mai) without a license?

    Thanks for taking the time to help out a budding rider, and again if I'm making old queries I apologize.
  2. If you do this, please read your travel insurance policy very carefully. Usually you need to have a licence for a motorbike or you will not be covered by your travel insurance for any medical expenses you may incurr if you have an accident riding without a valid licence.

    just a consideration,

  3. Here is a link to a recent story about getting a Thai license in Bangkok.

    This is the complete proceedure, including the road test, for a car license. According to this story, the test is given in English.

    But, this is Thailand, and Chiang Mai might do things differently.

    As far as whether you can get one, what type of visa do you have? When I first got my licenses, I was in Thailand on a Non-immigrant B, business visa. That was 2 years ago. The first license was good for 1 year, when I renewed I got 5 year. All I had to take was a colorblindness test. But this applies to whatever you already have on the US license, so no bike license without a road test.

    You will need an official address form, either from the US Consulate for $30, or from Thai Immigration for free (unless the unoficial fee is back in place)

    Do a search for drivers license. Also go to New Users and follow the links to motorcycle laws.


    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
  4. Thanks Bob. I'm going to start reading the story immediately.

    And thanks for the advice on insurance - it's true that mine doesn't cover anything remotely "extreme," including motorcycles. I was thinking more along the lines of, if the whole process turns out to be a much bigger headache than I'm ready to stomach (at least upon first arriving), I could make due with a moped or 50cc scooter or something like that, if a license isn't required (I imagine I might have extra issues with border crossings which is too bad - one of the main purposes I've got in mind is visa runs - but then again, if I can register such a thing without a driver's license, I might have an easier time with crossings. If I can make it up there.)

    I've read the motoring laws so I'm pretty sure I know what hoops to jump through and all that, I just hadn't seen anything on the actual process of getting a license. Now that I've got the story, I should be a lot further along.

    I still think I should get lessons of some sort - if no one know of a school or instructor, would someone on the board be willing to help me out? We can figure out some fair pay schedule of beer or money or something.

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