Thailand has a good network between all cities. Roads range from tiny lanes to freeways; in provinces, as a rule, roads have four lanes. Most of the roads and highways are well constructed with traffic signs on both Thai and English languages. Motorways are around the Bangkok area. Driving around resort areas, around Phuket Island, and outside Bangkok are safe and enjoyable. Most drivers in Thailand are polite; as usual, they don’t display anger. But, traffic in Bangkok is hectic and overcrowded, so for foreigners, driving there is difficult; especially, at peak times: 7:00 – 10:00 and 16:00 – 19:00. Foreign visitors should also know than traffic directions and entry/exit locations change during the day. These changes are rarely advised by signs on Thai, but not on English language.

Driving in Thailand at night is not recommended because it is hazardous, especially on holidays and weekends. A good map of Thailand roads can be useful. Plan your route in advance.

The International driver license is required in Thailand; therefore, you should obtain your International driver license before you leave your home county and carry it with your valid National driving permit and passport all the time when driving. Any visitor may drive in Thailand with his/her International driver license for three months. After this period of time, foreign drivers must obtain Thailand driver license.

As to traffic rules and regulations in Thailand, main of them are:

  • Driving is on the left side of the road.
  • Distances and speed limits are measured in kilometers and kilometers per hour.
  • Maximum speed limits in urban areas are between 50 km/h and 60 km/h; on expressways, vary from 90 km/h to 120 km/h.
  • Minimum driving age for cars is 18 years. Rental car companies require from drivers to be minimum 21 years of age.
  • Wearing seatbelts is mandatory in the front seats of the car.
  • When riding, helmets are required.
  • Blood-alcohol limit is 0.5 mg. If a driver exceeds the legal alcohol limit, all insurance is invalid.  
  • Using cell phones without hand-free system is forbidden.
  • Vehicles on the main road have right of way over cars coming from smaller roads to cross it.
  • The third party insurance, Compulsory Motor Insurance, is required. It can be bought from the local Department of Land Transport Office or car insurance companies; for this, a vehicle registration document is only necessary.
  • Vehicles must have tax stickers from the local Department of Land Transport Office.
  • It is forbidden to drive for vehicles with red registration plates.
  • Vehicles older than seven years and motorbikes older than five years must have a safety inspection annually.
  • Parking rules and marked on signs; in tourist areas on English too. Red and white markings mean “no parking zone”; vehicles may not park there at any time. Yellow and white markings mean “short-term parking space”; vehicles may stay there no more than five minutes. Yellow and white markings also indicate bus stops; parking there is illegal. A white rectangle on the road means “space for designated vehicles”. Many diagonal white lines mean “parking spaces for motorcycles”; cars cannot park there.

In cities, avoid the left hand lanes; usually, they are used for parking. When opening the car doors, check for motorbikes; they can move between the road and pavement.
Tolls are depended on the distance and charged for each section of the motorway.

Road Traffic Signs in Thailand

 Driving Overseas - Short Information