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Guide to car hire in Thailand 

Last Review Jan 2024 by Editorial Team

The team at Car Hire Thailand have years of experience providing customers with car rental from every part of Thailand. We understand how it works and wish to share that with you. Below, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions. If you are searching for a car hire deal, enter your booking dates into our booking engine, and you may be nicely surprised at the deals that ewe have to offer with all the big name in Thai car rental.

Overall, we would like to say that car hire in Thailand is much easier than in most western countries. By that we mean no fuel or other types of scams purposely exist. That being said, you still need to know the basics of renting a car in Thailand.

Wide choice of Thailand car rental companies to choose from

Car rental in Thailand is a very popular option, and many new rental operators have entered the Thailand rental market. We have provided reviews of both the well known brands plus these new arrivals, for example chic car rental.

Electric Car Hire Now Available in Thailand with Sixt

Sixt Thailand have added 2 electric car options to their Thai car hire fleet of rental cars.  Both from China, the first is the cool looking Good Cat, the second is the estate version of the MG5, electric estate. Charging stations are now being added to most malls and shopping centres and fuel stations, but if you are travelling outside Bangkok, do check for location of charging stations. They can also be charged overnight from your house electric supply if you are living in Thailand. 

The Groovy Good Cat Great Wall Motors

The Cat has an impressive range of 500 km on full charge.

Electric car hire Bangkok, Thailand

The MG EP Electric Estate Car

MG Estate Electric Car Hire Thailand

Thailand Car Rental Informational and FAQ Section

Should I Rent A Car In Thailand ?

It is a smart idea to rent a car in Thailand if you are not staying in Bangkok. Bangkok is way too congested, and it is very easy to make a wrong turn even with Sat Nav adding hours to your journey time. Also, the fact that taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap makes renting a car whilst in Bangkok a bad idea. Bangkok aside, it is a good idea to rent a car elsewhere in Thailand. Having a Thai rental car will let you discover Thailand at your own pace. We especially recommend car rental in Phuket to avoid the extortionist taxi fares, renting a car will actually save you money.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Car In Thailand?

The answer depends on a number of factors. Number 1 will be the car hire category. In the entry level category, typically the Honda Brio will be the cheapest. Whilst small car hire is popular and cheap, if you intend to cover some distance it is better to go for the mid-size Honda City or the larger Accord or Camry. As you go up the car hire categories, the prices will increase.  The average cost for a mid-size automatic car is approx 20 USD per day. The longer the rental, the cheaper the daily rate.

Time of Year : Thailand has high and low season for car rental. In the high season rentals cars are in high demand, more expensive and do sell out quickly. The biggest demand exists over the Songkran period. Christmas and the new year are also selling out periods. In low seasons you will find the cheapest car hire deals. 

Is One Way Car Hire In Thailand Free?

Most car rental agencies will offer free one ways for rental 7 days or over. With Budget car rental Thailand, only 4 days is needed to qualify for a free one way. This gives you the option to make a road trip without retracing your steps. For example, pickup your car rental at Bangkok airport and return to Chiang Mai airport or Phuket airport. If you are going to cover a lot of ground, we would recommend choosing midsized or full size for that added luxury.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Car For A Week In Thailand?

All Thailand car rental companies charge based on length of rental. Example, for 1 to 3 days the daily rate may be 750THB, 4-6 days 650TB, 7 days plus 500THB. If you do the maths, it can normally work out cheaper to rent for a week rather than 6 days.  

What documents will I need to pick up my rental

An international driving permit is NOT required to pick up your car hire in Thailand, but the police may ask to see a copy and a small fine is possible should you be stopped and unable to produce an international driving permit

  • Credit Card : The lead driver must have a credit card, no exceptions. The card will be sued for any local security deposits
  • Valid driving licence :  The rental company will accept your normal licence from country of residence. However, if you are stopped by the police, they will expect to see either a local Thai licence or an international driving permit.   In most cases the policeman will be happy with a small payment, THB 500 to THB1,000.
  • Car Rental Voucher
  • Passport or proof of residence if a Thai national 

Can I Rent A Car In Thailand With A US Licence

All Thailand car rental companies that we represent will accept the licence from your country of domicile. If your licence is not in the Roman alphabet (for example, Hebrew), then you must bring an official translation or use an international driver's permit. In summary, if you hold a driving licence from Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany or any European Country it is acceptable (without the need to have an international driver's permit)

What is the minimum age to rent a car In Thailand?

The minimum age with Budget and other Thai rental suppliers is 21 with a driving licence held for at least one year.

Are Miles Free And Unlimited In Thailand?

In Thailand, all car rental companies will provide fee kilometres or unlimited mileage

Are Airport Fees And Taxes Included In The Car Rental Price?

The prices quoted are fully inclusive of airport fees and taxes. The only extra that you will pay is for any extras added. Naturally, any fuel that you use must be replaced before the car rental is returned, otherwise they will charge to refuel. The refuelling charge is not exuberant like most other countries, but it is still best to return at the same level received.

Are Additional Drivers Free, And How Do I Add Them?

Most suppliers allow you to add additional free drivers, some suppliers only allow 1 free extra driver, some 3 and some unlimited. The deal on free extra drivers will be made clear during the booking stage. Please be aware that the additional driver or drivers must be present to be added. It is also possible to return to any of the car hire company depots and add another driver.

What Is The Insurance Excess Amount On Rental Cars In Thailand?

Most car hire companies apply an excess to your rental. This means, should you be in an accident deemed to be your fault, you will be liable for that excess amount. The amount of excess in some countries can be substantial and daunting if this is your first time hiring a car. The rental company will normally offer you an option to buy additional daily excess insurance to reduce the amount to a reasonable amount, or in some cases waiving the excess completely.

In Thailand, most car hire companies will charge an excess. The good news, it is substantially lower than other countries. For example, with Thai Rent a Car the excess is THB5,000 for mid and small size car categories. For full size that would include the Camry and Accord, the excess is THB10,000

The excess amount must be paid using the credit card of the lead driver. All suppliers will give you an option to purchase additional daily insurance to waive the excess. This can be arranged at the pickup depot. With Budget car rental Thailand, expect to pay about THB200 per day to waive the excess to zero. 

Zero excess does not mean that you have no liability. It is normal that windows, tires and underside are still the responsibility of the driver. The Budget car rental agency does offer to include these in their insurance package. 

Does The Car Rental Insurance Cover Me For Personal Injury?

Personal injury is not included, and this is the standard in the car rental industry. All Thai car hire suppliers will offer you the option to purchase personal insurance. This can be added to your contract at pickup time. You can also take out your own insurance to cover personal injury prior to travel.  

What Should I Do If I Have An Accident In My Rental Car ?

Whilst we hope this does not happen, it is better to know the procedure. The first thing is to contact the rental supplier. Emergency numbers will be in the documentation given when picking up the rental. They will send an insurance rider on a motorbike (to get there quickly). In the meantime, please do not move the car from the scene of the accident. Even if it is blocking traffic. This may sound wrong, and I agree, but this is how it is done in Thailand. It is also time to take some snaps of the accident scene, especially if you are the innocent party. In some cases, the police will arrive first and chalk out the car and take more pictures. They will then ask you to move to a lay-by, so traffic can keep moving. It can take up to 45 minutes ( depending ) for the motorbike rider to arrive, so please be patient. When he does arrive, it should be all completed in 30 mins. If the accident is minor, the rental company will let you continue with the same rental car. If you do wish to change, then they will also oblige.

Why Do Rental Companies In Thailand Ask For A Refundable Deposit?

This is common practice in any country that you rent a car. The deposit acts as a bond and covers the rental company for a variety of possible scenarios, for example you return the vehicle empty (will need refilled), filthy dirty and smelly (will need valeting and maybe retired until the smell dissipates), you caused malicious damage to the interior, return the vehicle full of sand and filthy, return late. All the aforementioned events will cost the rental company, and as such they ask for a deposit that is refundable in full should you follow standard instructions and take proper care of the rental vehicle. 

Can I Hire A Car With A Manual Shift?

This will be difficult. All cars on all fleets are automatic except for the 2-door pickup which is manual and the 12 seater minibus which can be manual or automatic.

What Is The Cheapest Car To Rent In Thailand?

The cheapest car to rent in Thailand is the 2 door manual pickup. Please note, the rear seat is a bench seat with no seat belts. The rear may be covered or open.

Can I Rent An Electric Car In Thailand

Yes, currently Sixt Thailand offer the Good Cat and the MG EP Estate for rental from its Bangkok depot locations

Motorways and Toll ways in Thailand

Thailand motorways are not free, and you will need to pay a fee to use them. The fee can range from 20Baht to 100Baht. Only payment in local currency will be accepted, no credit cards or other forms of payment are accepted. When you approach the toll way you will see some lanes that are reserved for cars fitted with prepaid cards, these lanes are painted in blue. Avoid these as these are unmanned.  Normally you will be provided with a plastic card as you enter the motorway and make payment on exit. A growing number now use auto cameras so you can drive through, and your fee is calculated on exit.

Picking up your Car Rental

Are Suppliers On Airport, Or Do I Need To Take A Shuttle?

Thai Rentals in the past provided a meet and greet service at Suvarnabhumi airport, now for your convenience, all Thailand car hire suppliers now have a desk on the second floor. This is true of most airports in Thailand, and no lengthy shuttle service is required, so you can commence your journey quickly after landing.

What is the fuel policy?

This depends on the rules of the car rental company. The scam of charging for a full tank and asking customers to return empty does not exist in Thailand. The way it works in Thailand is that you are expected to return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel as when you picked it up. Most times that will be full to full, but sometimes it may be half full return half full. The amount of fuel in the tank will be documented, and you will only be expected to return the same. We advise making sure you know where the nearest gas station is on the way to airport and factor in some time for this task.

Returning your Car Rental

What Happens If I Return The Rental Car Late?

All Thai car hire companies give you one hour grace. What this means is if you are due to return the rental at 14:00 you have until 14:59 before they will charge any additional fee for late return. If you return after the 1-hour grace period, you will be liable for extra charges, and you may also affect the holiday of someone else. So please bear this in mind when calculating the journey time to the airport or rental depot.

Car Rental Suppliers in Thailand Local Names vs Brand Names

All the big names in car rental are represented in Thailand. These big names are competing against the local providers of car rental. The local providers have grown substantially over recent years. From day one, Thai Rent Car was the big, reputable car rental provider. They were cheaper than the big brands, but the cars were mostly older and of a lower specification.

Many new players have entered the market, some give national coverage like Chic Car Rentals others only offer a service in Bangkok and at Bangkok airport. The latest arrival is KPN Car rentals Thailand, an offshoot of Toyota Thailand. As you would expect, all cars in the fleet are Toyota, and with that comes reliability. At the moment, they are very competitive as they try to capture a piece of the local car rental market. They operate out of Bangkok airport and Bangkok downtown

Compare the Cost of Car Hire in Thailand

Need to hire a car in Thailand? After the best deal and best package with zero or low excess? We can help you find the cheapest and best value car hire in Thailand. Thailand is a big fly-drive destination, making the demand for affordable Thailand car rental high. Motorways are plentiful and most are signposted in both English and Thai. We can provide you with comparative quotes from the big brands that include Budget, AVIS, SIXT, National and Hertz. We also represent the local quality rental outlets that include Thai Rent a Car, Bizcar Rentals Thailand and recently Chic Car Rental.

All these suppliers have multiple locations throughout Thailand, so you pick up a car rental from Bangkok and return to Hua Hin for example. If your car rental is seven days or over, this will be free, with most suppliers.

If you are out to find the best deal on Thailand car rental, start by getting multiple quotes from different operators. We can help you by letting you easily compare prices and package with branded names including Sixt Car Rental Thailand, Hertz Thailand, National. We also have great deals from local suppliers such as Thai rent a car and Chic Car Rent Thailand. All these suppliers have multiple locations throughout Thailand