FAQs from First-Time Motorbike Renters in Phuket

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Are you planning to rent a motorbike for the first time in Phuket? Then you may have quite a few questions in your mind to answers for. This is where we thought of compiling this list, so that you know what to expect when renting a motorbike in Phuket.

What type of motorbike should I rent in Phuket?

If it's your first time renting a motorbike in Phuket, we recommend renting an automatic scooter in the 110-125cc range. Scooters are easier to ride compared to manual motorbikes, especially if you're not an experienced rider. Smaller engines like 110-125cc provide adequate power while remaining very fuel efficient. Just don't expect to carry a passenger on steep hills with less than 125cc.

Do I need an international driving license to rent a motorbike in Phuket?

Technically yes, you should have an IDP to legally rent and ride a motorbike in Thailand. However, many rental shops in Phuket are relaxed and will rent you a bike with just your home country driver’s license. We still advise getting an IDP though, as police occasionally setup checkpoints specifically checking foreigners riding with only home licenses.

What documents do I need to rent a motorbike?

Most shops will rent you a motorbike with just a copy of your passport photo page and driver’s license. It’s also a good idea to keep your home address and contact details handy. Some shops may ask you to leave a cash deposit if you don't have a credit card for security.

Should I purchase extra insurance when renting a motorbike?

Absolutely yes. Basic insurance from rental companies usually covers minimal third-party personal injury liability only. It won’t cause damage to the bike whatsoever. Forking out a few extra dollars per day for comprehensive coverage can save you a lot of money and hassle in the event of accidents or theft.

Is it safe for beginners to rent and drive a motorbike in Phuket?

Renting a motorbike without riding experience is generally not recommended in a busy place like Phuket. Smaller scooters are easier to maneuver but learning traffic rules, local driving habits and controlling a bike properly has a steep learning curve. Consider taking lessons first if you’ve never ridden any two wheelers before.

What safety gear should I wear while riding a motorbike?

Wearing a good quality helmet is legally required when riding a motorbike in Thailand. You'll also want to minimize exposed skin that could get scraped up in a spill. Light jackets, closed shoes, jeans and gloves will help prevent cuts and burns. And be prepared for humid riding conditions and occasional tropical downpours!

How much does it cost to rent a motorbike in Phuket?

Budget around 200-300 baht per day for smaller 110-125cc scooters, more for higher powered bikes. Weekly and monthly rates are significantly cheaper. Many shops offer special low season rates during wetter months like September-October too. Shop around as rentals close to popular beaches sometimes charge higher prices targeting tourists.

Should I fill up the petrol tank before returning my rented motorbike?

Some shops specify you must return the motorbike with a full tank to avoid filling fees. But many don't mind if you don't return it completely empty either. Check the policy before your rental to avoid surprising fuel charges. Reputable shops won't overcharge though - expect to pay around 200 baht to fill an empty 125cc scooter tank.

What if my rented motorbike breaks down in Phuket? Who should I contact?

First call the shop you rented from if your bike won't start or has any issue while riding. Most will dispatch mechanics for minor breakdowns and repairs on the spot. For serious accidents or injury, contact the Tourist Police hotline at 1155 before contacting your rental company. Do not flee the scene of any accident as it can lead to serious criminal penalties.

Can I cross into other provinces with my Phuket rented motorbike?

Generally, it’s not recommended to ride a rented motorbike across provinces in Thailand. Different regions require additional paperwork that rental bikes may not have registered. You also risk invalidating insurance by crossing certain provincial borders. Explore Phuket island itself as it has more than enough to keep you busy anyway!

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