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Hitting the road in Phuket

Sick of paying those exorbitant late night taxi of tuk tuk fares? Thinking about renting a bike? Here are the answers to a few common questions about rentals and making your own way around the island.

By Alasdair Forbes

Monday 5 November 2012, 04:23PM

Where can I go to find a bike?

Not very far. Any major tourist centre will have numerous motorbike rental shops, which, in Phuket, covers most of the island. Hotspots to look for are in Phuket Town, Chalong, Rawai and Patong, and some renters also advertise in The Phuket News classifieds.


How much will it cost me to rent a motorbike?

This depends on what type of bike you want and how long you want to rent it for. An automatic will generally cost more than a manual, and newer bikes more than older ones.

For an older manual model, expect to pay around B150 per day, or around B3 000 for the month and you’ve got a pretty good deal.

Negotiate, particularly if it’s a monthly rental, but also bear in mind that high season will limit your bargaining power.


Do I need a license?

Legally yes, technically, well...

CMI - Thailand

A Thai license or an international license are the only ones recognised by Thai law, meaning your home license is officially as useful as your Mickey Mouse Club card. In reality, many people drive around the island on a license from their home country and have never had any problems. But but but. If you have a smash, the insurance company may refuse to cough up, leaving you with big bills to pay. And if you hurt, or worse, kill someone, not having the right license will add to your considerable woes.


What do I need to check before I sign the contract?

If you are renting the bike long term, Check if there are any dings on it. Get the renter to sign a paper acknowledging these. Take photos of any superficial damage so you can’t be blamed for it later. Take it for a ride and check things like brakes and gears, wobbly wheels. Anything that needs fixing before you sign the contract is the responsibility of the hirer. Anything after that will most likely be coming out of your pocket. You may be asked to leave your passport as a guarantee. Don’t do that. That’s silly. Find out what else the renter will accept. Often a cash deposit and a passport photocopy will be accepted. Make sure you get a receipt for the deposit.


I’ve never ridden a motorbike before. How difficult is it to learn?

Follow the logic of this: I don’t know anything about bikes so I think I’ll rent something hugfe that does a zillion kilometres an hour. Does that make sense? No , it doesn’t. So start small and slow. Riding a scooter is surprisingly easy and the basics can be mastered in a matter of minutes. Most rental shops will be more than willing to give you a short lesson if you ask.


Have a question? Email editor@thephuketnews.com

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