A Beginner's Guide to Renting and Driving a Motorbike in Phuket

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Renting and riding a motorbike is one of the best ways to explore the beautiful island of Phuket. The freedom of zipping around lush mountain roads and breezy coastal routes can't be beat. However, there are some important things to know before renting and driving a motorbike as a beginner in Phuket.

Choosing a Motorbike

The first decision is choosing the right motorbike for your needs and skill level. As a beginner, a smaller automatic scooter in the 110-125cc range is advisable. These are easy to ride and provide enough power to cruise around the island confidently without being overpowered machines. Manual transmission bikes require using a clutch and shifting gears, which is more complex for novice riders.

Inspecting the Motorbike

When renting a motorbike in Phuket, thoroughly inspect it for any existing damage and make sure everything is working properly, like the brakes, lights, tires, and gas gauge. This protects you from any liability for pre-existing damage. Also confirm that rental insurance is included, which covers damage or injuries.

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Wearing Safety Gear

The law in Thailand requires wearing a safety helmet when riding a motorbike. Helmet use is essential for protecting your head in the case of an accident. Other gear like jackets, gloves, enclosed shoes, and pants can prevent bad scrapes and skin damage from spills. Ask the rental shop if they include any safety gear with rentals.

Practicing in a Quiet Area

Especially if you have never ridden a motorbike before, take time to practice riding in a quiet, spacious area like a parking lot. Get a feel for using the brakes and accelerating, balancing, turning, and stopping. Practice keeping both feet firmly planted when stopped too. Gain confidence handling the motorbike before venturing out into busier streets.


Being Familiar with Traffic Laws

Knowing some basic Thai traffic laws will keep you out of trouble on the roads. Notably, always drive on the left side of the road, do not run red lights, keep speeds modest within towns, and don't drink and drive. Having an International Driving Permit along with your native license is a good idea but not always enforced for temporary tourists. Still, carry your home license.

Navigating the Roads

Focus your attention and always drive defensively. Phuket's roads range from quiet countryside routes to chaotic main streets. Practice vigilance pulling out onto busier roads from side streets or driveways. Scooters lack power so accelerating to merge and pass requires planning. Leave ample distance between vehicles, watch for hazards like stray dogs, and don't assume other drivers see you coming.

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Practicing Safety

Beyond wearing helmets and gears, safe riding basics like keeping two hands firmly on the handlebars can prevent accidents. Avoid sudden braking or sharp turns at high speeds. Ride at modest speeds suited to visibility, traffic, and road conditions. Take special precautions on curvy downhill sections. Ignore cell phones and avoid other distracting behaviors while riding.

Securing Your Rental

Park and lock up rentals whenever unattended, like when sightseeing or relaxing at a beach. This deters opportunistic theft. Also avoid lending rentals to non-authorized, unlicensed drivers. Report any parking tickets, violations, or accidents to the rental company immediately. Following rental conditions preserves your rights and limits liability exposures.

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Enjoying the Motorbike Experience

Most importantly, embrace the freedom of zipping around tropical Phuket's gorgeous landscape under sunny skies with the warm sea breeze in your face. Ride relaxed but attentive. Stop snapping those iconic coastal outlook photos in Kata Noi or secluded Nai Harn beach. Discover hidden temples, waterfalls, and lush rainforests across Phuket's interior. Let the motorbike adventure reveal this amazing island paradise.

Following these tips will help first-time visitors safely rent, drive, and enjoy motorbikes on a dream Phuket holiday. Cruising Phuket by motorbike lets you immerse yourself into the sights, sounds, and smells of Thailand’s breathtaking Andaman island in an unforgettable way. With a little preparation, even beginners can ride like a local on an accessible automatic two-wheeler. Just take time to learn the roads, drive defensively, and relish the freedom found only on a motorbike.

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