The re-confirmation follows Dutch Ambassador to Thailand Kees Pieter Rade visiting Phuket on June 9 to ask officials here about what steps were being taken to improve the safety of tourists on the roads while they are on holiday in Phuket.
Among the assurances given, Phuket Vice Governor Thawornwat Kongkaew told Ambassador Rade that tourists could get a “temporary” driver’s licence. Specifically, he said, “Moreover, the Phuket Provincial Transport Office can also accommodate tourists by providing them with a temporary driving licence”. (See here.)
However, the Chief of the Driving Licence Department at the PLTO, Kanda Santipattranont, has told The Phuket News that no such special “temporary licence” for tourists exists.
“The only temporary driver’s licence we issue is the standard ‘Temporary 2 years’ driving licence that everyone gets when they first apply for their Thai diver’s licence,” she said.
As such, any tourists wanting to obtain a Thai driver’s licence must book an appointment, for which the first available time may be weeks away, obtain a letter from their embassy or Phuket Immigration confirming their registered address, complete five hours of driver training provided by a recognised driving instructor or school, and pass the standard theory and practical tests.
As for tourists proving their residential address in order to be issued driver’s license, Ms Kanda explained that as tourists are entered by hotels into the immigration database as staying at their hotel, tourists can just go and ask Phuket Immigration for a letter confirming where they are registered as staying.
A staffer at Phuket Immigration confirmed this to The Phuket News, but noted that the letter is not an official form marked with a TM” number.
Alternatively, to avoid being fined by every police officer who stops them while driving during their holiday in Phuket, tourists must obtain an International Driver’s Permit issued in their home country and present that along with their actual driver’s licence issued in their home country.
If tourists don’t have these, they will be officially fined in the range of B200-B500. (See story here.)