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HomeRoad TripsAsiaSouth East AsiaThailand

Road Trips in Thailand

Thailand is an amazing destination for a road trip, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. With its well-maintained roads, affordable rental cars, and friendly locals, Thailand is a great place to explore on four wheels.

As you travel through Thailand, you'll encounter breathtaking landscapes, from the lush jungles of the north to the pristine beaches of the south. You can stop to explore hidden waterfalls and caves, hike through national parks, or simply take in the stunning views from the roadside.

One of the most popular road trip routes in Thailand is the Mae Hong Son Loop, which takes you through the scenic mountains of northern Thailand. This route includes winding roads, stunning viewpoints, and opportunities to visit hill tribe villages and soak in natural hot springs.

Another great road trip option in Thailand is the Gulf of Thailand island-hopping route, which takes you through some of the country's most beautiful coastal destinations, including Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. You can explore pristine beaches, snorkel or scuba dive in crystal-clear waters, and indulge in delicious seafood cuisine.

Thailand's cities are also well worth exploring on a road trip, with bustling markets, ornate temples, and colorful street life. The capital city of Bangkok offers a wealth of attractions, including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Khao San Road. Meanwhile, the ancient city of Chiang Mai in the north boasts a vibrant night market and a range of cultural experiences, from cooking classes to meditation retreats.

Of course, no road trip in Thailand would be complete without sampling the local cuisine, which is renowned for its bold flavors and fresh ingredients. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, you can taste authentic Thai dishes such as pad Thai, green curry, and papaya salad, as well as regional specialties like khao soi in the north and seafood dishes in the south.

Overall, a road trip in Thailand is an incredible way to experience all that this diverse and fascinating country has to offer. With its friendly people, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural scenery, Thailand is sure to be a destination you'll never forget.

Expect on your itinerary

Beach Beach
Urban life Urban life
Value Value
Nature Nature
Shopping Shopping
Benefit-stress ratio Benefit-stress ratio
Culture Culture
Security Security

Best months to drive

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Road Trip Highlights in Thailand

One of the greatest attractions in the country is Bangkok. Thailand’s capital rarely sleeps and will welcome travellers with a clash of Thai traditions and Asian modernity. Most holidaymakers tend to start their journey from the Banglamphu District and the Rattanakosin Area. Other notable highlands include the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo, and the National Museum, where you’ll learn more on the capital’s history.

Travellers who seek beautiful open spaces, green forests, and relaxing time spent close to nature should definitely head for Central Plains. A beautiful idyllic environment is offered by the town of Kanchanaburi situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai. It is valued by many backpackers seeking a top-notch starting point for the local tourist sites. 

Those who are into archaeology will be surely intrigued by the remnants of Lopburi that remembers the times of Hindu Khmers’ reign. Other interesting settlements in the region are Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai, and Mae Sot – a top-notch accommodation base for the waterfalls of Umphang.

If you are into long hours spent in the sweltering sun, you can always head for the Andaman Coast. The most popular resort town here is, of course, Khao Lak offering brilliant infrastructure and plenty of water sports opportunities. It will be also an ideal place to start the exploration of the nearby Khao Sok National Park. The second most popular resort in the region is Krabi, well-known for its crystal clear waters and the backdrop of dramatic islets. 

Ko Samuo, located around 80 km from the equally popular town of Surat, is a magnificent paradise for those who seek idyllic spaces. From here, you can travel to a number of smaller towns of Maenam, Bophut, and Choeng Mon. The small towns of Thailand are where you can learn the most about the country’s intriguing culture and understand its traditions to the fullest.

Car Rentals in Thailand

Thailand is a paradise for travellers who enjoy sightseeing with the help of public transport. The bus network is considered very reliable and you won’t find exorbitant prices here. Most cities in Thailand are nicely connected with a network of buses. There exist a number of bus classes varying in terms of their standard, price, and convenience. For more scenic views behind your windows, it’s also great to try local trains which connect the four corners of Thailand.

Travellers who enjoy being independent and having greater freedom of planning during holidays tend to choose rental cars. Car rental companies are available in larger cities and at international airports. 

Traffic rules in Thailand

There are a number of traffic regulations which are comparable to other Asian and European countries. Passengers travelling in the front seat, along with the driver, are obliged to use seatbelts. What’s more, Thai police officers will surely perform a breathalyser test to see whether you’ve been drinking before hitting the road. The blood alcohol level that you mustn’t exceed is 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. 

Remember that Thailand is following left-hand traffic. What’s more, you are obliged to leave a distance of 50 metres before any emergency vehicle. The use of horn is forbidden unless you are trying to prevent a car accident.

The minimum driving age is 18, but the minimum driving age if you want to rent a vehicle is 23. You also shouldn’t be surprised if some of the car rental companies will require you to pay a fixed fee for being an inexperienced motorist – especially if you are under 25.

There are a number of toll roads in Thailand. However, these aren’t expensive and offer top-notch road surfaces that will improve your driving experience.

Thailand: required documents

The documents that you should carry while travelling around Thailand are: driver’s licence, vehicle registration documents, and insurance documents.

Speed limits in Thailand

It’s important to follow speed limits while travelling around Thailand. You can drive as fast as 90 km/h outside built-up areas. In towns, the speed limit is 50 km/h. When it comes to highways, you can drive at a speed of up to 120 km/h.

In Thailand, you’ll find a number of fixed speed cameras. However, the whole speed enforcement system mostly relies on mobile speed traps. If you are caught speeding while driving a rental car, a car hire company will forward the ticket from the police to the driver.

Interestingly, you are allowed to use speed camera detection devices and no fees or penalties will be applied if police officers spot such a device in your car.

When taking a Road Trip in Thailand

When taking a road trip in Thailand, there are a few things to be aware of to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable road trip in Thailand and make the most of all that this fascinating country has to offer.

Best Time for taking a Road Trip in Thailand

The best time to take a road trip in Thailand can depend on several factors, including weather, seasonal events, and personal preferences. Here's a breakdown of the seasons in Thailand and what you can expect during each one:

Overall, the best time to take a road trip in Thailand is during the dry season from November to February, when the weather is mild and comfortable. However, if you're willing to deal with higher temperatures and the possibility of rain, you can also visit during the hot or monsoon seasons. No matter when you choose to visit, Thailand is sure to offer a wealth of experiences and adventures for your road trip.

How expensive is a Road Trip in Thailand

The cost of a road trip in Thailand can vary depending on several factors, including the length of your trip, the type of accommodations you choose, and your dining and entertainment choices. Here are some rough estimates to give you an idea of what to expect:

Accommodations:

Food:

Activities:

Renting a car in Thailand can also vary in cost depending on the type of vehicle you choose and the rental company. On average, renting a mid-sized car can cost around 1,000-2,000 Thai baht ($33-66 USD) per day, while a larger SUV or luxury car can cost upwards of 3,000 Thai baht ($99 USD) per day.

Overall, budgeting around 1,500-2,500 Thai baht ($50-80 USD) per day per person for accommodations, food, and activities is a reasonable estimate for a road trip in Thailand. However, costs can vary depending on your specific travel plans and preferences. By doing some research and planning ahead, you can find affordable options and make the most of your Thailand road trip.

Guidebooks and Road Maps for Road Trip in Thailand

There are several excellent guidebooks and road maps available to help plan your road trip in Thailand. Here are some recommendations:

No matter which guidebook or map you choose, make sure to do your research ahead of time to ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip in Thailand. With so many unique destinations and attractions to explore, a road trip in Thailand is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

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