Renting a scooter motorbike in Phuket

4 Jan

On our most recent trip we rented a motorbike for two days. The last trip I was still pretty nervous about doing so for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the accident rate in Phuket being so high. Driving on the left side of the road wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be…you just need to follow the other traffic and you will be fine. And during tourist season, there is a lot of traffic! We found the smaller roads on the south part of Phuket (near sunset point) to be much more enjoyable as there were very few cars. Helmets are now mandatory by law and should be included with the rental price. By Thai law, you are required to have either a local or international drivers license (which like most I don’t) – the fine is 500 bhat if you are caught. We saw several police, but they didn’t bother us, nor did we see them bothering anyone else. Accidents are common, due to lots of traffic, aggressive driving and lots of booze. For these reasons we didn’t drive at night. The price to rent a scooter is 200 bhat per 24hrs, although you can find slightly less expensive rentals, as well as weekly or monthly rentals which are much less expensive. Most places will want to hold your passport, we simply politely refused telling them that by law we were unable to surrender our passport(s). After two or three minutes they accepted a photocopy of our passports since we came with a referral from the hotel lobby desk lady so they knew where we were staying as well. I recommend taking pictures of the existing damage to the bikes and pointing out every scratch, or problem with the scooter with the renter before leaving with it. We have read/heard about foreigners being taken advantage of for damage they didn’t cause when the return the bikes. Yet another reason not to let them keep your passport (how much would you be willing to pay to get it back?). If you stay at Karon beach, I recommend a place named Tod’s for rentals. He and his wife are both Thai, and have been in business for 12 years there. Very friendly and honest. Most of their scooters get rented as a result pretty quickly after they open (9am) so you might want to get there early.

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