If you would like to drive a motor vehicle in Thailand, you obviously need a driving license. In your homeland, you can apply to be issued with an international driving license. Unfortunately this driving license is temporally limited in its validity. If you want to stay in Thailand longer, then you should request a Thai driving license with the “Department of Land Transport”. This authority is represented in the entire country.
Department of Land Transport:
TEMPORARY (ONE YEAR) DRIVING LICENSE
This driving license is only valid for one year!
When the one year driving licence has expired, you can apply for the driving licence with a 5 year validity period. The sight test and reaction test is not necessary because the tests were already carried out one year ago. It is urgently advised to avoid renewing your driving licence after a longer period of time (> 2 months after expiry). In this case, you would have to retake the driving licence tests and would only receive a one-year driving licence once again.
Department of Land Transport:
RENEW THAI DRIVING LICENCE (FROM ONE-YEAR TO FIVE-YEARS)
The driving licenses for motorcycle and motor vehicle are issued separately in each case.
The practical thing about the Thai driving license is that it is usually accepted as general personal identity papers, (like ID card). Therefore you can show that you wish to remain in Thailand permanently and thus avoid the elevated admission fees for tourists.
When driving a motor vehicle, you should under no circumstances rely upon the adherence to any traffic rules by other road users. Do not under any circumstances try to enforce your “right of way” rights. Sufficient driving experience and a good knowledge of the Thai way of thinking is a valuable thing when sitting behind the wheel in Thailand.
Starting from January 2002 Thailand introduced a point system for traffic offences. This is graduated depending upon severity of the offence with a point assignment between 10 and 40 points. If 60 points are given, a driving ban of 90 days is enforced. Drivers who receive the ban twice or more in the same year with the same offences, must participate in driver training.
In the future, the traffic police want to come down harder on drink driving and speeding. In addition, alcohol breath tests and radar pistols were purchased. Speeding can lead to a fine of up to 10,000 Baht. Drivers under the influence of alcohol can incur high fines, and in extreme cases, be sentenced to up to 3 months in prison. Drivers who are caught for similar offences twice or more in one year must take part in driver training.
Helmets are also a legal obligation for motorcycle drivers in Thailand. Motorcycle passengers must also wear a helmet. Certified motorcycle helmets are recognized by the initials TISI (Thai Industrial Institute of Standards) and have a certification number. Seat belt laws exist for car passengers. Adherence to these regulations is recommended for your own safety.
In Thailand it is also illegal to drive while speaking on a mobile phone.
Data is provided without guarantee!
All information represents my own personal opinion.