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soc.culture.thai Travel FAQ
Section - T.5) Car rental

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From: goletz@netcom.com (Eddie Goletz)
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 1994 03:15:06 GMT

I rented a car when I went to Thailand last September and I used it to
drive around the provinces.  Car rental is a little expensive, but it is
fun and it gives you a great deal of freedom.  I think having a car also
impressed some of the people I met there.
 
I don't think there were any rental places at the Bangkok airport.  I
rented through Hertz, and they delivered the car to the airport for me,
for a 400 Baht charge.  Avis was another company that rents cars there.
I made my reservations through their toll free number while in the US.
 
I checked the prices with both Hertz and Avis, and found their prices to be
comparable.  Rates from the Hertz brochure are:
 
                                       +----------------------------------+
                                       |  Self Drive       | Self Drive   |
                                       |  Economy Rates    | Unlimited Km |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Car Group      | Make & Model          |  Daily |  Plus    | Daily        |
               |                       |        |  per Km  |              |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Super Economy  | Mitsubishi Champ 1.3  |  800   |  4       | 1200         |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Economy        | Toyota Corolla 1.3    | 1000   |  4       | 1400         |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Luxury Economy | Mitsubishi Lancer 1.5 | 1100   |  4       | 1500         |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Medium         | Toyota Corona 1.6     | 1200   |  5       | 1600         |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Luxury Medium  | Toyota Corona 2.0     | 1500   |  6       | 2000         |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 
There are also Executive, Super Luxury, Touring and Truck Car Groups and
Chauffeur rates as well. [........]
Collision Damage Waiver insurance is 150 Baht/day and Personal Accident
Insurance is 100 Baht/day.
 
A friend read in a guide book about some rental places that were very cheap,
around 500 Baht/day, but that the cars are so old that you spend all your
time worrying about the car breaking down.
 
My Hertz brochure states that drivers must be between ages 23 and 60 and
have at least one years driving experience, hold a valid driving licence
and an international driving permit if the licence is not in English.
I read in some guide books that the international driving permit is always
required.
 
I don't know if any insurance is required, but I highly recommend it.  I
found out that the automatic insurance that goes with those gold credit
cards is not valid in Thailand.
 
I haven't visited the places you mentioned.  I know from experience that
in general Thai drivers are comfortable with, shall we say, a lower margin
of safety in driving that people in America are used to.  I was involved in
or close to what looked to me like some close calls.  However, I never saw
any collisions or even cars with dents in them.
 
I don't remember the rates, but I recall [gasoline rates] were very
reasonable, on par with US prices.
 
Manual transmission are the norm.  If you want an automatic, be sure to state
that this is a requirement when you make your reservation.
 
No maps came with my car, and the airport shop did not have any road maps.
I did purchase a road map at a museum on my second day.  It was a road map
atlas of all of Thailand, written in both English and Thai, published by
the Roads Association of Thailand.  It cost 150 Baht.  The ISBN is
974-7653-31-1.  This map was very helpful to me.  It also made asking
directions much easier because the maps were bilingual.  Perhaps you could
buy one of these maps by mail before you go.  The address and phone number is:
 
Roads Association of Thailand
Department of Highways HQ.
Si Ayutthaya Rd., Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400
Tel.(02) 246-1971, (02) 246-1122 Ext. 2276
 
Many of the road signs are in Thai only.  Also, the roads are not marked as
as well as I am used to here in the US.  Highway driving, however, is
generally pretty easy.  You just can't go very fast. 
 

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