Living in Thailand and following a great deal of expat blogs and Facebook pages, I am constantly bombarded with traffic accidents, and a large portion of them are ones involving tourists coming to Thailand on holidays.
People ending up in hospital, and pleading with family, friends and the generosity of strangers to help them with mounting hospital bills due to not being covered on their travel insurance, or worse yet not having any in the first place.
Firstly for my rant, why in gods name do people think it is ok to travel to a foreign country, rent a motorcycle and ride it on the roads when they have never ridden a motorcycle in their home country, have no license for this type of vehicle and then think furthermore that avoiding using safety equipment such as covered shoes and a helmet is a good idea?
But lets face facts you want too, weather your here for a short or long time, so let me give you some insight into how you can protect yourself in the potential event of an accident.
Now if you have never ridden a motorcycle in your home country, stop reading NOW! Thailand is NOT the place to decide you want to learn how to be a two wheeled rebel! It’s as simple as that, and this isn’t just my opinion, do so at your own peril!
Moving on, you have a motorcycle license in your home country, great. Now for a short term holiday in Thailand, you will be able to use this license, and rent either a big bike or a scooter, and be 100% covered by your travel insurance provided they mention in the fine print that they cover riding a motorcycle, always check and ask.
If you are planning a longer stay, your home country license will only be valid for a short period, so pre-planning is required, and obtaining a International Drivers Permit (IDP) from your home country before travel is a must. Even for a short term stay, this can be a valuable permit, they are cheap, and you can apply online easily.
For an even longer stay, lets say more than 3 months, this IDP will then not be valid, and you will need a local license. Provided you have a motorcycle license in your home country, an IDP also, watch this video as I explain the process involved in obtaining a legal Thai drivers license for motorcycles, scooters and cars.
I have been on the wrong side of stupidity in Thailand and ended up sliding down the road, with everything in place, my insurance paid for the repairs on my motorcycle, and my travel insurance paid out for a hospital stay. If I had not followed the letter of the law, I would have been up for thousands of dollars in bills to repair the bike, then over $5000 in medical bills.